As state and local governments continue to reduce COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, it may seem as though things are heading back to “normal.” However, the reality is that this pandemic has vastly altered the needs and expectations of consumers, making it imperative for business owners and leaders to reimagine their marketing efforts in order to come back stronger and find their way into the next normal.
Although we may have yet to see the full scope of changes that this pandemic has engendered—and may continue to engender for months to come—now is a vital opportunity to reevaluate and reset your overall business model as you work to adapt and leverage this turning point. From customer needs to your digital footprint, there are numerous areas to consider as you work to re-open your business, reset your marketing, and move forward.
Assess Customer Needs
As with every stage of this pandemic, we’ve had to consistently reevaluate customer needs and priorities—sometimes even on a daily basis. But now is the time to take a deeper dive into these changes and position yourself for the long-term.
What initial pivots did your business make that may still be relevant even post-COVID-19? What other customer needs or concerns have been brought to the surface that your business has yet to fulfill? Which processes and procedures need better defined or refined in order to establish a competitive edge? Answering these questions will not only be beneficial to your business but will also help to close any COVID-induced gaps placed between you and your customers.
If you’re unsure about one or a few of these areas as it relates to both the current and ongoing needs of your customers, consider conducting a survey to help you gain insights into where they are at. Simple surveys can be carried out within Facebook or Instagram Stories, or more complex surveys can be done with tools such as SurveyMonkey and Google Forms.
Keep your questions clear and your survey short. If you want to avoid losing respondents, consider asking no more than 10 total questions.
Build a New Sales Funnel
Regardless of when you last created a sales funnel, whether two months ago or two years ago, it’s probably out of date; meaning it’s time to create a reset campaign with new customer considerations in mind.
“Everyone’s world has been reset. Everyone’s reevaluating their choices. Don’t assume your customers will come back automatically,” says George Bradt, Senior Contributor at Forbes. “Instead, rebuild awareness and then interest, so you’re in their consideration set when they desire a product or service like yours, and turn that into action.”
Start by creating a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to help you determine a new sales and marketing strategy for your reset campaign. This practice will help you identify and nail down what you’re doing well and where you can improve while finding new opportunities and advantages. Is your target market still the same? Have your competitors changed? Is there a new market you should expand into? A SWOT analysis will help you to answer these questions.
Now is also the time to reevaluate your branding, advertising strategies, content strategies, website, digital marketing, and even your budget. Where are you spending your advertising dollars? Is that channel still effective? Be sure you’re tracking your advertising dollars and ROI closely when it comes to your digital marketing efforts. By closely monitoring your results, you can make informed decisions and streamline your efforts.
Develop a Digital Strategy
As this global pandemic evolves, digital marketing will likewise continue to do the same, making marketing efforts such as social media, email marketing, and digital ads more crucial than ever for bringing awareness back to your business and ensuring consumers know you are up and running.
According to Forbes, “As long as businesses approach the shift to digital marketing strategically, there’s no reason why it should just serve as an emergency fill-in, but could carry on providing long-term value when the world eventually gets back to normal.”
Whatever shifts you decide to make in terms of your services, product offerings, or store procedures, communicate it clearly to your customers. For example, will your website need a refresh to include messaging about wearing masks and practicing social distancing? Perhaps you own a restaurant and are only opting to serve take-out for the time being? Have you expanded or made any new hires? Maybe you’re offering something new altogether?
Your long-term customers and prospective customers will have peace of mind and find these changes resilient, innovative, and exciting. You simply need to tell them about it.
There are many people who are quite eager to return to normal activities of daily living and are looking for opportunities to do so. Let them know your business is here for them as soon as you can, but with their safety as your top priority.
According to AdWeek, “As the great reset unfolds, businesses only get one shot to capture the opportunity to move market share across days and weeks instead of quarters and years. The retailers and restaurants that are first to market with advertising are the ones that are going to be making the largest market share gains when compared to pre-pandemic times.”
A reset also means a fresh start. If there were problems with your marketing strategies in the past, now is a great time to revisit them as you reset. Was your content engaging? Is your website effective? Were your products and services showcased the way you want? If you answered no to any of these questions, this is the opportunity to take your business in the direction you want to go.
Whether you call it the “new norm” or “recovery phase,” your 2020 business objectives will need to look different. And although several businesses are allowed to open their doors once more, as a business owner, it’s up to you to consider all the implications and ultimately decide what reopening will look like. It may be difficult to establish everything this early on, so remain vigilant and flexible.