What a year 2020 was, right? Full of such promise, only for it to come crashing down as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe. As we come out of this ordeal, now’s the time to look back and see what we’ve learned. And when it comes to digital marketing, we learned a lot.
As businesses get back on their feet, they can use these lessons to push themselves forward and into a new era. Which lessons are those? We’ve compiled them here for your convenience.
What We Learned from the Pandemic
Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic taught us all a lot about many topics, but as far as digital marketing goes, we learned these three core principles:
Businesses Can’t Afford to Exist Offline
When everyone’s stuck at home, the internet becomes the only window to the rest of the world. Before the pandemic, small businesses could thrive on word of mouth alone, whether they had a brick-and-mortar establishment or not. After the pandemic, it’s more vital than ever to have an online presence. At a minimum, companies need the following elements:
- Google My Business Page – A GMB page is free to claim and update, and it offers crucial contact information and reviews.
- Social Media Profiles – If a company can’t make a fully functional website, it needs at least a Facebook and Instagram profile to attract new customers.
- Website – Even something as simple as a home page is better than nothing. Websites are more relevant than ever, so businesses without them will quickly fall behind.
Successful Brands Can Adapt to a Changing Marketplace
Most businesses rely on in-store visits and purchases to fulfill their bottom line. With the pandemic, that was no longer the case. While some companies may not be able to transfer to a fully virtual model, everyone had to figure out how they could bring money in without having customers in their stores.
- Restaurants started leaning heavily on delivery and to-go orders.
- Retailers started selling their products online.
- Experience-based companies, such as party rentals or concerts, started hosting virtual events.
Adaptation is a critical business skill, and it’s what separates the best from the rest. Companies that could adapt quickly either survived or thrived online, while those who couldn’t struggled to keep up. In addition to bringing their products and services online, businesses had to figure out how to keep their workers safe and employed. Digital strategies helped immensely during the pandemic, and they will continue to be vital moving forward.
Connecting with Customers is More Vital Than Ever
Building relationships with customers has always been a cornerstone of good business practices, but it became even more important once COVID-19 hit. Because the pandemic affected everyone, successful companies were able to reach out and maintain contact with their clients, even if those clients weren’t able to buy anything.
Forging stronger relationships during this time will pay off later as the world opens back up, because people will remember the companies that remembered them during a crisis. Those that stayed quiet during the whole ordeal may struggle to rebuild their connections moving forward.
How Digital Marketing Evolved During COVID-19
Not only did the pandemic teach us the value of digital marketing, but it also forced businesses to get creative with their approaches. Here are several ways that brands had to adapt during the past year to stay on top.
Masks and social distancing weren’t a thing in January 2020, but they’re everywhere a year later. Marketing materials and promotions showing unmasked people in close proximity had to give way to more current messaging that highlighted safe practices.
Beyond the visuals, content had to be updated to reflect the current state of the world. When everything shuts down, it affects supply chains, which can impact tons of small businesses. Plus, if everyone has to stay at home, ads have to reflect that. For example, instead of promoting in-person dining, a restaurant might offer free delivery for new customers.
Overall, businesses had to kick into high gear to produce content quickly and efficiently to stay relevant in a quickly changing environment. That adaptability will make it easier to capitalize on new trends moving forward.
Digitizing In-Person Experiences
As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In-person shopping experiences were the easiest and most effective way to sell products and services, so why would anyone change that? Once the pandemic hit, stores had to figure out how they could deliver a similar experience without putting anyone at risk.
Thankfully, as video streaming services became more widespread, it became easier to bring these moments online. Now, instead of physically going to a store, customers could get a virtual product demonstration or walk-through. Instead of going to a live party, companies started hosting Zoom events and cocktail hours. Rather than going to a conference or seminar, people could attend a webinar.
While these digital experiences are not the same, they enabled businesses of all sizes to maintain their momentum and push forward. However, the ability to connect with customers remotely will still come in handy later on, mainly to allow companies to expand their market reach.
More Valuable PPC Ads
Search engine optimization has always been vital for digital marketing, but it became even more valuable once the pandemic hit. Oddly enough, a dramatic shift led to a significant increase in the ROI of pay-per-click ads. At the beginning of the pandemic, most companies slashed their marketing budgets, leading to a massive decline in new ads. This decline meant that prices went lower, so the brands that continued their PPC campaigns could get more customers at a lower price.
By now, the system has equalized and returned to normal, but it illustrates the power of continued marketing, especially during a downturn. Even as customers ebb and flow, successful companies will use the downtime to build a stronger foundation so that they can come out on top once everything returns to normal.
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Now that digital marketing is more valuable than ever, you can’t afford to fall behind. Let BizIQ develop a strong marketing strategy that can propel your business forward and ensure long-lasting success. Call us today to get started!