Digital Marketing During a Pandemic
We’re often reminded that change is a constant and that we should always be ready to adapt. And as dialed in to our business practices as we all were, none of us were prepared for the shift that the pandemic shoved us into. For nearly all businesses and brands, the initial changes and shutdowns caused mass panic wondering how we’re going to adjust to our ‘new normal,’ but one thing is certain – those changes we thought would be temporary are here to stay. But what does that mean for marketing? That your digital marketing strategies are vital to your brand. One more time:
Your digital marketing strategy is the most important part of your overall strategy.
The pandemic has drastically changed how businesses market because it has changed the way we interact with one another. We’ve gone from close quarters and live events to a socially distanced and heavily digital environment. With such heavy dependence on the internet, people are turning to websites and social media to try and maintain some connection and community with the outside world. As a brand, it is not only important to understand this shift, but really delve into what it means for your brand and how it changes the way you interact with your customers
Make your Marketing ‘Pandemic-Proof’
If you haven’t adopted a digital marketing strategy yet (or haven’t nailed down a firm to help you with one), now is the time to get that dialed in. Even in the last year, brands were able to rely on multiple marketing methods outside of digital. Unfortunately, we no longer have the luxury of relying on live events like typical shopping experiences, restaurant dining, job fairs or live seminars simply because we are not certain when it will be safe to host again. And as largely social beings, the shut-down and stay-at-home orders have left many wondering how to continue interacting with people and going about their daily lives.
It may not seem like it at first, but there is an upside of implementing a well thought out digital marketing strategy during the pandemic – it’s virtually ‘pandemic-proof,’ meaning that it will pretty much remain unaffected in this post pandemic world. The internet has been the only constant in this last year, and when people are looking to host meet-ups, find information, shop, and communicate with others, where do they turn? Websites and social media. Do yourself and your brand a favor and shift your marketing strategy to mostly digital. Your audience will (and will continue to) thank you!
The change in the times has also changed the way brands are relating to their audience. No, we’re not just talking about the types of content – we’re talking about the actual messages in it. Many companies have altered their messaging to better relate and empathize with their audience’s new pain points. In the beginning of the pandemic, nearly every company released COVID-19 statements reassuring their customers that they would be supported during this time. And this was all well and good in the beginning, but as time went on, many audiences experienced a bit of an overload when it came to these messages. As a result, we have to think about how we can help our audience during this time. Instead of just talking about support, how can we do something about it?
Value, Authenticity, and Social Awareness are key to resonating with your audience.
Digital marketing in this pandemic has pushed marketing efforts outside of just selling to audiences. Yes, you’re still looking for ROI, you’re looking for growth – but the way to attain that during this time is showing audiences that your brand is truly interested in helping them get ahead. Offer free resources when you can to help your audience – free webinars or events, for example – to build credibility with your prospective customers in a different way. It shows that you have a human side and that your relationship with them isn’t purely transactional. People are looking for support during these times, and you don’t want to alienate them with tone-deaf messaging. That’s a surefire way to lose an audience.
But don’t get too serious – stay lighthearted! One of the plus sides of marketing in an entirely digital landscape is that it allows you to get creative with how you engage with your audience. TikTok is a great example of this. Brands can record short videos that give users a ‘behind the scenes’ look into what makes them tick and how they are working for their audiences. Hashtag challenges give users a different way to interact with their customers. And with every different social media channel, the list grows. There are ways to advertise to your audience without being overly ‘salesy.’ Focus on building community and authenticity – people are yearning for connection and interaction with others. The brand loyalty and growth will follow.
Part of building your online community should involve experiential marketing, something that has also changed in this new marketing landscape. The start of the pandemic meant the end of live events, and for many, that translated to cancelled vacations, postponed concerts, and weddings and graduation ceremonies being put on hold. Marketers – this is an opportunity! Though the live versions of these events have been canceled, people are still looking for these experiences. Virtual vacations, concerts, and seminars have started to come out of the woodwork and these tactics can help you as well. Incorporate digital experiences in your marketing plan to connect with people on a different level. This might mean a Live Q&A session, or a virtual meetup with other members of your brand audience. Either way, this part of your marketing plan can help you build a community where people can connect over a shared experience – and ultimately, over your brand.
Don’t worry – you can still effectively market your brand during a pandemic. The challenge companies are now facing is thinking outside of the box to come up with juicy solutions to take their marketing to the next level. Don’t let digital marketing intimidate you! If you’re looking for new and creative ways to connect with your audience, contact us today. We understand how digital marketing has changed, and we’ll be happy to help you create a winning strategy that will help you grow – pandemic or not. 🍑