From March until now, the world has changed dramatically, within that the landscape of business has had to adapt which has seen a lot of businesses reimagining the way they approach their marketing strategies and relying more on digital marketing tactics to reach customers. This is especially true for non-essential businesses who have had to shift from an offline business and take it into the online sphere in order to keep their businesses afloat.
But it isn’t just offline businesses who are changing the way they use digital marketing, businesses all over the world are evolving their strategies by prioritising certain aspects, rebudgeting and most importantly, planning ahead. While things are still set to change, the digital marketing landscape has changed quite a bit and here’s how.
Evaluating Digital Marketing Tools
Rethinking how we use our digital tools has encouraged marketers to evaluate whether they are using their current tools to the max. For example, if you use a marketing app that can be integrated with other apps to streamline your data but aren’t currently doing so, now would be a great time to look at how linking your apps can create better efficiency in your workflow. A direct example of this would be syncing your Autopilot contacts with your Mailchimp contacts so you can automatically share and update the details of your contacts without having to do it manually.
This has also prompted companies to look at whether they need their current tools or they are able to downgrade, in order to save money in some areas to increase their budgets in other areas. For example, their Digital marketing during COVID-19 survey, Search Engine Watch found that “63% of companies (across the US and EU) opted for diverting SEO budgets to PPC”. This change has most likely been implemented as they believe that, at the moment, PPC will yield better results over SEO.
Evaluating Marketing Goals
Even before the crisis, it wasn’t always possible to know what was around the bend, after all nobody could have foreseen the COVID-19 pandemic. So we’re not oracles, but we can try to predict what might happen by using data to look for upcoming trends. This is what marketers would do in normal circumstances and has been integral during the crisis. By being able to look ahead, marketers are able to shift their marketing goals and find strategies that will enable them to reach their new objectives.
For example, at the beginning of the lockdown when all non-essential shops began to close, they shifted their focus to their online stores. This change means switching up their marketing intentions with the aim of encouraging more of their customers to shop with them online.
Another change in marketing outcomes has been the online sales of essential items. Even with essential shops remaining open, consumers were less likely to go to those shops unless it was crucial so the ability to order online was tantamount. Because of this retailers who stock essential items shifted their marketing focus on selling essential items. There are many ways to look are current and forecasting trends, but two of the most used methods currently are analytics and social listening.
Everything your customers and benefactors do, every click, view, like, comment and conversion is recorded by analytics. This data is really important for marketers, ergo, important for business. Analytics takes real-time data and allows us to transform those numbers into trends and predictions so marketers can make decisions based on evidence and not guesswork. The use of analytics during the pandemic can be useful to track the changes in customer behavior, particularly looking at how, when and why they are interacting with your business. This information can help businesses look ahead by tracking the trends within those changes in numbers.
Customer insights in one of the most important aspects of tracking trends and social listening is just one of the many ways to do it. However, the great thing about social listening right now is that it’s digital. Social listening allows marketers to gain valuable insights on what consumers are thinking and talking about by using social media to track keywords, mentions and topics. This data allows marketers to look at what is important to consumers currently in order to help them predict what will be important tomorrow.
For a lot of companies, email marketing is the most direct form of marketing in their arsenal. As currently engaged customers are more likely to purchase from a brand they have already purchased from, email marketing is a strong and easy tool for reaching those people.
During the pandemic there has been an increase in retargeting and offering customers rewards. However, some marketers have recommended that businesses not clog up their customers’ inboxes with messages and to save outbound emails for important messaging about their business operation during the pandemic which they might otherwise ignore if they’re receiving a ton of emails from the same sender.
In this case for a lot of businesses, the key is to find a balance that allows them to relay important information but offer customers rewards, a good example of this is a retailer emailing contacts about delivery delays but thanking customers for their patience by offering them free delivery or a percentage off their next order.
Unfortunately it’s noted that around 24% of participants of the Search Engine Watch survey were laid off due to COVID-19. With this loss of staff to digital marketing teams, this leaves gaps where either other members of the team need to pick up the work or in the case of smaller businesses, business owners are picking up the work and increasing workloads. In these instances, automation became very useful in helping to streamline certain tasks and processes in order to create a better workflow. Similarly, automation has been imperative for businesses that have had to have their workers go remote to help manage tasks that cannot be done from home.
Because the pandemic isn’t over yet, these changes to strategies aren’t likely to stay the same, alongside this, as time goes on we might witness other strategies evolve and adapt as the crisis continues. The best way to ensure that your marketing efforts remain effective is to ensure you’re ready to change your strategy at any moment by planning ahead.