To adapt marketing to the realities of the post-pandemic period, it is important to understand that your crisis strategy is different from your post-crisis strategy. The post-crisis marketing campaigns you launch will need to be adapted to the new demands of the market. So, without further ado, here’s how you can prepare your post-virus innovative marketing campaigns in seven easy steps.
First and foremost, you must conduct customer analysis. Depending on the industry or niche your business operates in, you will see either a decrease or an increase in sales during the pandemic. For example, if you sell expensive luxury goods, you will probably see a significant decrease in sales because all your customers will be at home buying only the most important and essential products. On the other hand, an online makeup store could see an increase in sales.
If you see a decrease in sales, this either means that your current customers will return after the crisis is over or that they won’t return after the crisis is over. If you see an increase in sales, it either means your current customers are buying more or you actually have an increase in customers as well. In all of these situations, you will need to conduct customer analysis to understand your audience better.
Your customer analysis can either be done through a survey or by analyzing the data you have from sales, website visits, etc. You need to determine whether you have received more or fewer customers during the pandemic, how this figure will change post-virus, whether these customers are new or old ones, and what the general mood among your customers is as well.
2. Segment Your Audience
Once you have conducted proper customer analysis, you can start working with your audience to prepare a more nuanced marketing strategy. One of the best things you can do is segment your audience to create more personalized mini-campaigns targeting different segments of your customers. Here are some tips to help you with segmentation:
- First, get down to basics. Take into account the most essential information about your customers such as their age, gender, occupation, education, location, interests, fears, needs, and so on. This will help you create the most basic customer profiles.
- Next, you can work to further perfect these customer profiles. Add some more details to these profiles such as family status, regrets, hopes, and dreams. If you have too many profiles, consider combining some to have only a few segments to work with.
- Lastly, determine whether you will be making additional changes for different audience segments except for the ones that are directly related to the customer profiles. For example, you might want to add discounts to the campaign for a particular segment of your audience while not adding them to other segments – and this change will not be related to customer profiles.
3. Improve Your Website SEO
It’s been said so many times that it probably should be a no-brainer by now. Yet, there are still so many marketers and business owners who keep forgetting about SEO and the importance of having a strategy for your search engine optimization. Most notably, your website should have proper SEO though your social media accounts and emails need to have it too. Here are some lesser-known aspects of website SEO you should remember:
- Integration: Integrate your website with other channels you use for marketing such as social media platforms, email marketing, and offline marketing. You can use all these channels to direct traffic to each of them interchangeably.
- Voice Search: More people are using voice these days which means optimizing your website for such searches is definitely necessary. It’s similar to regular searches, but usual queries are often different (e.g. “bakeries in downtown New York” vs “where to buy croissants in downtown New York”) which means you need to take into account more keyword phrases.
- Link Profile: The most important thing to remember about your link profile is that different types of links serve different purposes. Internal links help your customer experience by improving navigation. External links back up your arguments. Backlinks improve your search rankings. You need all three for a strong link profile.
- Mobile Optimization: And, of course, mobile optimization is a must, especially if you are a local business looking for customers in your area. But all websites need mobile optimization regardless of their purpose simply because we live in a time when almost everyone uses mobile devices for surfing the Internet.
4. Plan the Customer Virtual Journey
Though a lot of the marketing is done online, you will likely still have some portion of it done offline. Yet, what you should really focus on in the post-virus period is your digital marketing strategy – in particular, your customer’s virtual journey. To put it simply, your customer virtual journey consists of the stages and steps your audience members should go through to become customers.
This journey usually starts with awareness: your customer goes online and sees an ad from your business. Either they click on the ad or they ignore it for the time being. The next time they see another ad, a memory of the first one resurfaces, and perhaps they are interested enough to click on it. Once the potential customer is on your website, they might make a purchase. If they don’t make a purchase, there is still a chance they will return after seeing another ad.
Once they make a purchase, they become your customer, but the journey doesn’t end there. You need to make them a returning customer and maybe even someone who advocates for your brand and finds more customers for you. All of these actions that your potential customers could take should be considered when planning your customer virtual journey.
5. Restore Your Pre-Pandemic Plans
One of the hardest things that businesses had to do when the virus spread increased was transitioning to remote working. After the pandemic is over, there will be a need to transition back to how things were before the crisis started. All of these changes can be quite harmful both for small and big businesses, but it is necessary to restore your pre-pandemic plans if you want to make sure that your business works properly.
Don’t try to change everything at once – make the transition as smooth as possible. Plan ahead, but don’t expect the pandemic to end at any particular moment. There may be somewhat accurate predictions, but nobody can say for sure when things will go back to normal. After all, there can be a second wave of infections and even more waves afterward prompting stricter measures to be implemented.
Get prepared as much as you can without setting any particular deadlines. When you see that everything is really going back to normal, you can activate your plan and start the process of transitioning back.
6. Start Offering Customer Benefits
Discounts, gift cards, special offers, and sales might not be the most appealing marketing strategies when your business is experiencing a crisis, but they offer one of the best solutions for a better start. Most of your customers experienced the crisis just like you did which means they will be trying to get back on track just like you are as a business. It is doubtful that they will be happy to see higher prices.
Instead, start offering them customer benefits which, by the way, can even attract more new customers. Having a sale for your reopening can help a lot just like discounts for selected products can. Continue offering your regular benefits too such as birthday gift cards and seasonal and holiday special offers. Remember that these are meant to attract attention and to boost your sales. Then, you can change the prices back to normal and start recovering from the crisis.
7. Collaborate with Other Similar Businesses
Last but not least, collaborating with other similar businesses can help you as well. Though these are your competitors, they suffered from the virus just like you did which means they will be looking for ways to recover too. If you team up, you could reach more customers together and increase your sales.
If you operate both online and locally, try to find local businesses that you can partner with. Cross-promote each other and launch a joint advertising campaign. You can even create special offers with products from both brands to boost your sales. Besides, such collaborations could lead to long-term partnerships which are also great for business.
That being said, always do your research before doing anything with other businesses. Conduct a survey to find out what your customers are expecting to purchase first and foremost once the pandemic is over and then make your joined ads and special offers fit these expectations (e.g. your brand’s shampoo and another brand’s spa services).
To sum up, marketing campaigns launched after the pandemic will need to be adapted to meet the expectations customers have and the new demands on the market. This is why you need to follow the tips provided in this article and use innovative marketing campaigns to improve your post-virus strategy.