The global COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the business world. With millions of people staying home, ordinary commerce has been disrupted, and brands are noticing the changes. Businesses are working to adapt old strategies to fit the new normal, but it is easier said than done.
Before life starts to return to normal, take the time to prepare your brand to bounce back after COVID-19 has released its grip. While no one knows precisely when life will look like it used to, it is a prudent idea to be prepared for that day so that you can jump into post-COVID-19 operations as quickly as possible. Here are a few things your brand can do to build itself up in preparations for life after COVID-19 while maintaining momentum during the current quarantine.
During these uncertain times, customers want to know what is going on. Do not assume your customers already know your new practices, hours, or availability. Any changes in your business that will affect customers must be communicated and explained, so customers know what to expect. Lean on your existing systems to mitigate delays while informing customers of issues beyond your control and the steps you are taking to fix the problems. Use shipping APIs to bring as much stability to the shipping process as possible, regularly update inventory levels so customers can’t order products you do not have in stock, and above all else, be honest with your customers. Customers will understand delays or changes due to the current world state, but only if you tell them what is happening. Going radio silent because you are afraid to disappoint customers will inflict more damage than if you were honest.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were reasonably secure in and successful with their online marketing strategies, but these old marketing methods must be adjusted to suit the new global situation. Companies that are still using the idea of selling just to sell are not going to find success in the current climate. Businesses should shift perspectives and sell to provide a service or fill a need. Unless you have a real reason why someone would need or want your product, your marketing message will fall flat.
Businesses that specialize in jewelry are an example of how a business can pivot their marketing tactics to reflect customer needs. Most people are not planning large weddings for the near future, but jewelry companies are still able to market their wares because of how they changed their messaging. Instead of marketing rings for the typical large summer weddings, jewelry companies are encouraging customers to buy rings to celebrate the significant moment in their lives and relationships even if they can’t host a proper party. Change your marketing messaging to provide comfort and an uplifting perspective that shows how your product can fill a need while remaining sensitive to your customer’s struggles.
Marketing does not have to break the bank to be effective. Pay Per Click, PPC, ads are cheap, very cheap. Internet traffic is up, but there are fewer ads which drives down the cost of ads. Paid ads are bringing in a better return on investment post-COVID than pre-COVID, so now is the time to grab the unclaimed paid ads slots. SEO may not return a profit instantly, and it may be months before you reap the benefits of SEO, but you will never see those benefits if you stop SEO marketing out of panic.
The current pandemic has shown businesses that change is inevitable and unavoidable. The next massive industry change might not be a pandemic, but another shift will happen in the future. The next substantial commerce change is likely to be the bounce back after COVID-19 has passed. Business might be slow right now, but you should be preparing for a surge in customers in the future. No one knows when the rush will hit, but your brand should be prepared regardless. Bolster and secure your e-commerce site so it can handle a sudden increase in traffic, have backup marketing copy that you can switch to once social distancing guidelines relax, and continue your SEO strategies to see long-term benefits.
The world is experiencing an unprecedented crisis, and you should take every opportunity possible to reinforce your brand to prepare for a post-COVID world. While things remain uncertain, communication is paramount. Tell your customers what is going on and what they can expect from your brand. Adjust your typical marketing strategies to reflect the global situation. Provide new and appropriate reasons why customers need your product instead of selling just to sell. Instead of cutting marketing efforts, double down on effective and inexpensive methods to maintain your brand’s digital presence. Embrace change and prepare for a customer surge so you can hit the ground running once COVID-19 has passed.