Brevard Nelson, CEO of Caribbean Ideas Synapse
The last two years have been challenging for many and packed with MANY learning opportunities. COVID-19 has completely changed our everyday life, work, and interactions. Many things we took for granted: the beach run, the after-work lime, or debating whether you should call for the extra doubles. We have been forced to prioritise and place more value on certain aspects of life.
Likewise, ways of doing business had to very quickly evolve and leaders were forced to either adapt or die. Working from home has become more the norm than the exception and is likely to remain as 24+ months in, businesses are finding more efficient ways to operate, collaborate, have meetings, etc. They needed to change because their now even more hyper-connected customers, demanded it.
The pandemic brought with it a massive change in consumer habits, which forced huge shifts towards doing things digitally, which will remain even in a post-COVID world.
A survey by Yotpo shows that more consumers shifted towards shopping online with 25.35% of consumers making more online purchases than usual. Another 40.55% are ready to purchase from similar new brands if their usual brand runs out of stock.
That means with careful tweaking, planning and reviewing of your inbound marketing strategy, you can increase your brand’s market share and revenue in spite of the pandemic. Below we’ll review five strategies to help you make the most of these changes in consumer habits. Let’s get started.
1. Update Your Existing Marketing Strategy and Tools
Before the pandemic, every business most likely had both an outbound and inbound marketing strategy. Cold calls, magazine and radio ads, product activations, flyers and brochures were all part of the typical marketing arsenal.
Now, most of these options have become either irrelevant or no longer useful. Conversely, with more and more people spending time online, having a blog, an opt-in page and active social media pages can prove to be invaluable marketing tools. Remember most of these channels existed before the pandemic, however the impact of the pandemic, both in terms of restrictions and economic impact, have accelerated the adoption of these tools. I certainly expect that as business owners and marketers see the value and derive efficiencies using digital platforms, they will recalibrate their marketing mix to include more.
Up to 57% of consumers use social media to learn more about a brand’s products or services. The right marketing tools like an up-to-date website and active social media pages rich with valuable content can lead to increased brand discovery and attract more leads.
2. Redefine Your Buyer Personas
One key element of inbound marketing is a deep understanding of your target audience or buyer persona. Your business probably had a good idea of who the ideal buyer is or what the perfect audience looked like.
The pandemic has forced more people who otherwise wouldn’t shop or seek solutions online to go digital. Thus, it is worth reconsidering what shifts occurred in your current segments as well as if there are any new audiences that may be interested in your products and services and what kind of content is needed to appeal to them. Consider this report on shifts in media consumption patterns during the pandemic and assess the impact on your personas.
3. Review Your Lead Generation Campaigns
After including who else may be searching online for your brand, you then need to fine-tune your existing lead generation campaigns to include this audience.
This could mean adding a new demographic with paid social media ads, creating different kinds of blog content or using different lead magnets.
If you use CRM tools like HubSpot and Keap, you can segment your customers into different groups and better refine your entire sales funnel from acquisition to sales conversion. You’ll be able to plug potential loopholes in your funnel or improve segmentation.
4. Test, Test and Test Some More!
Remember I’ve shared before that you should approach your marketing like your marketing strategy is your hypothesis and your campaigns are experiments that you conduct to validate (or refute), refine and move forward. Perhaps you may notice your traffic has taken a serious hit because it seems like people may no longer be interested in a particular subject. But in the pandemic era, while some interests are dwindling, others are skyrocketing. These shifts may mean it’s time for you to pivot your content in a different direction, so test, test and test.
If you’re doing paid ads, you may hit your ad spend limit pretty fast without a plan.
It also helps to look for which other aspect of online presence you are not exploring enough. Local SEO is a big deal now because more and more people are trying to find local businesses that offer key services.
Boosting your business and online pages with location specific keywords can go a long way. It also helps to identify what your competitors are doing right and doing wrong at this time.
Competitor research and social listening may also give you some great ideas to help improve your campaigns. Tools like Mention and Brand24 are great examples of social listening tools to help you spy on the competition.
5. Improve Your Online Brand Experience
Focusing on the content you put on the web is one thing, but another often overlooked aspect of building a strong online brand is making sure your brand provides a cohesive experience. With many people now willing to try brands they’ve never bought from before, it’s important that your online brand feels trustworthy and has solid social proof.
This would start with your website’s overall look and feel. Does it look professionally done? Is it easy to navigate and read? Does your content at first glance tell what your business or blog is about?
Social proof and recommendations are what will influence buying decisions for new customers. Statistics from OptinMonster show that 70% of consumers look at a product review before making a purchase while a whopping 90% of buyers are influenced by positive online reviews.
You can apply this to your business by encouraging positive customer reviews on your social media pages and on your own website. A good option is to set up a Google account and also encourage people to share positive reviews about your business on Google, forums like Quora and even in Facebook groups, which will come in helpful if you’re looking to win new business.
The pandemic has brought with it a unique set of challenges for most businesses. For businesses using inbound marketing as a strategy, the pandemic along with the changes in consumer behaviour demand that you review and improve your existing plan.
Figure out what is still working, what can be improved and what needs to be eliminated altogether. Next, look at new potential buyer demographics and boost your lead generation strategy.
You may find you have to test completely new strategies and track different metrics altogether to measure success. A final and critical part of a winning marketing strategy is to post social proof anywhere possible online.
Brevard Nelson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Caribbean Ideas Synapse. He has over 20 years of experience in the world of Marketing and Communications. He is impassioned by our Caribbean region utilising technology to drive development. When he’s not working with Team Synapse on integrated marketing client strategies, he’s actively involved in various ways to give back to and create the next generation of leaders through multiple non-profit organisations.