As your target market’s needs are continually shifting, it’s important to stay up to date with trends and change your business strategies accordingly. One way to reach your customers during this unstable time is by adapting your marketing plan to meet their needs. Here are the 10 best ways to adjust your marketing strategy during the pandemic:
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is an overall strategy for how you will communicate with your target audience and influence them to buy your products or services. Marketing plans can vary from basic to comprehensive and must include pertinent information about your brand and how you want to be perceived by your customers.
A well-rounded and strategic plan will address where the company currently is in the market along with a road map for where it would like to be and in what time frame. While the specifics can vary by industry, most commonly you’ll want to address the seven P’s: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning, and people.
It’s important to stick to your marketing plan to stay in line with your brand identity. However, the plan is a living document that should be modified to fit the current needs of your customers. For example, during the COVID-19 crisis, there have been drastic changes in consumer behaviour and your business should adapt your marketing strategy to match current demands.
The economy and marketplace are in a constant state of change, which forces consumers into a wide variety of purchasing phases. Pivoting your marketing efforts to match those phases is crucial to the success of your business. As ‘continuing with business as usual’ can be seen as insensitive, there are several great marketing strategies you can employ.
Here are the top 10 ways to modify your marketing strategy and reach your audience during the current economic upheaval:
1. Emphasise the true relevance of your product or service
As consumer needs change, the relevance of your product or service may also change so it’s important to emphasise how your brand is still essential to your consumers and how it can benefit them. This means shifting focus from one product to another or looking for unique ways that your current offering can fulfil your audience’s needs.
As far as messaging goes, between the pandemic and the possible recession, leaders and brands have an opportunity to further connect with anxious consumers and focus on the true relevance of their products or services.
2. Meet current consumer needs
Focus more on meeting consumer needs and helping them deal with the realities of the pandemic rather than blatantly promoting what you have to offer. Offering helpful tools and thoughtful promotions can build brand awareness and loyalty. Think of ways you can help your customers make a purchase, whether that’s by promoting online services, offering curb side pickup, or providing live chat and support.
3. Increase your digital marketing efforts
Your consumers are online so you need to be too. Focus on digital marketing efforts like paid ads, search engine optimisation (SEO), and email marketing. Keep your website up to date and focus on establishing yourself as a thought leader through digital content.
4. Modify your email marketing campaign
Companies should focus on adapting their email marketing campaigns to address the unique challenges everyone is facing. Make sure to change the tone, content, and frequency to match your consumers’ expectations. You must stay on brand but also be aware of how your emails are adding value to your audience.
5. Focus on social media marketing
Chances are that most of your customer base is on social media so use that to your advantage and take part in the conversation. Focus your marketing efforts on the social media channels that drive your customer engagement such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Create relevant posts that add value, education, and education. Be engaging, comment on audience posts, and adjust upcoming posts based on the current sentiment and feedback.
6. Communicate critical information
Keep an open line of communication with your audience and the transparency and honesty will be appreciated. Keep your customers informed on how you’re being impacted and make sure to update your hours of operation on your website and Google business listings.
Even if you’ve temporarily shut down you must continue to communicate with your audience. They need to know you’re still out there and they want to know when and how you’ll reopen.
7. Incorporate your audience
This is an opportunity for you to show true leadership by reevaluating your goals, adjusting timelines, and welcoming your audience to be part of the conversation. Invite your target market to help guide the direction of your business as they will likely have valuable insights about what they need and how you can help.
8. Show compassion and empathy
It is crucial to show your customers compassion, especially during this time. As your customers deal with an array of stressors, offer empathetic content to show you truly care. Words are part of the healing process and it’s important, as a brand, to put out messages that touch not only the mind but also the heart and soul.
9. Give back to the community
Help out your community in any way you can, whether that involves donating, volunteering, or collaborating with other businesses. If possible, pivot your business strategy to better serve the community. Giving back will help increase your community support, goodwill, and brand awareness. By encouraging staff to take part in the conversation, you can facilitate corporate social responsibility movements that your whole team believes in, building a positive company culture.
10. Audit your sales funnel
As the market changes, it’s important to thoroughly audit your sales funnel and analyse the data. Conducting a competitive analysis can help you see what your competition is doing, which allows you to evaluate what is and isn’t working.
What to avoid in your marketing plan
You don’t want to be sending out the same old marketing campaigns as though nothing happened, but you also don’t want to inundate your audience with exhaustive and political material.
Instead of flooding your audience with generic information, provide them with educational or entertaining marketing messages that add value and enhance their customer experience. Avoid being pushy for sales or over promoting your products or services. Ensure that all communication has purpose and value, whether it’s on your website, email marketing, or social media.