We talked about how consumer behavior has changed during the global pandemic, but what is the “new normal” for marketing strategy? How do we conduct effective campaigns in an environment that’s suddenly so unpredictable?
Your online presence and the digital experiences you create for consumers will be integral to your brand’s success, long after a return to normalcy.
We'll go over some best practices to engage users during this time and how to build a customer-first strategy for long-term growth.
1. Focus on Customer Retention:
As larger retailers like Amazon and Walmart struggle to fulfill demand for essential items, many smaller brands have seen a spike in site traffic and customer acquisition. Consumers are exploring other alternatives to meet their needs and, for the first time in as long as this author can remember, the eCommerce landscape feels as if it’s almost on a level playing field.
Retention of this new influx of business will be an important challenge for smaller businesses to overcome. Take this opportunity to create experiences that your customers wouldn’t otherwise get from their regular shopping sites.
Here are a few post-sale campaign tips to help convert first-time buyers into repeat customers:
- Personalize your follow-up emails. It provides a unique level of service and 86% of consumers say personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions.
- Suggest complimentary or similar items to ones purchased with dynamic product recommendations.
- Ask for feedback on products and service.
- Send stock availability and promotional updates related to their purchasing behavior.
- Send invites to join a loyalty program.
Establishing your brand as customer-first, convenient, and reliable, will go a long way toward earning a greater share of customer loyalty and lifetime value.
Read more: [Blog] Improving Customer Loyalty
2. Double Down on Social Media:
Being customer-centric also means focusing on social media. Social networks provide platforms to easily address concerns, suggestions, and feedback. Facebook messenger is a great tool to use to live chat with customers on a network where they’re spending even more time than usual. Since social distancing began, Facebook has seen a 27%. uptick in its number of daily users.
By diversifying your customer interactions with conversational and interactive tools, you can give your audience the experience that they want. Even during periods of stability, it is a good idea for brands to open up conversational channels to encourage a two-way dialogue.
Now is also a great time to renew paid social campaigns. Even though consumer usage is up, many marketers have had to reassess their investments and campaigns due to COVID-19, and have significantly pulled back ad spend. Social CPM fell as much as 50% in March, and these unusually low rates are expected to continue throughout Q2.
With a less saturated market, the opportunity to get in front of new audiences, demonstrate value, and connect with customers on a human level is hard to ignore. We recommend making use of networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to access a diverse range of audiences, rich first-party data, and unique ad formats that will drive consumers to action.
Read More: [Datasheet] Facebook Advertising
3. Different Times Call for Different Messaging:
During times of crisis, communicating the right message is critical. Brands have to be careful not to appear insensitive or overly-commercial. While much of the advertising world has appropriately shifted messaging from product-focused to brand-focused, messaging has also shifted to meet customers “in the moment” by acknowledging the changes we’re all going through. Here are a few examples of ads that are relevant, timely, and align well with current consumer mindsets:
Like the rest of the auto insurance industry, Progressive had to cut back on marketing costs. They launched a commercial that appeared low-budget by re-using footage from prior advertisements. It showcases the humor Progressive ads are known for, while conveying empathy through the subtle message of “we’re all in this together.”
Source: Luma Research
Recognizing that stay-at-home orders require more home cooking, Taco Bell is now selling meal kits and posting recipes for tacos and drinks on their website. This is a perfect example of a brand acknowledging altered lifestyles, adapting to change, and finding ways to bring value to new and existing audiences.
Source: Taco Bell
A prevalent theme among display and paid social campaigns is to depict the new normal of minimal human contact in household settings, seen in the ad below.
The goal here isn’t to drive more bookings, but to develop a positive brand image, build a connection, and find common ground with an audience.
Learn more: [Webinar Replay] Advertising Against Adversity
4. Keep Calls to Action Up to Date:
Be proactive about customer communication. After landing on a website, users will want to know about any updates to health and safety policies or any information regarding refunds, cancellations, and delays in service. Onsite engagement tools and promo bars can effectively provide this information to move users further along the buyer’s journey, while natively integrating into your website.
If you can anticipate your website visitors’ questions and provide easily accessible answers to them, you’ll see a significant reduction in browsing and cart abandonment.
The window of opportunity is open for many brands, but only for so long. If you have the chance to grab more market share, act quickly and don’t be afraid to invest more in your marketing channels.
For those brands experiencing a drop in sales and traffic: take the time to refine your image and build up a loyal following. When economic and social patterns return to normal, you’ll be ready and well-positioned to come out ahead.