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I’ve been thinking about this question and how it aligns with what we are seeing in our agency. At Waypost, we experienced a slowdown in early March of 2020 and started looking at our strategy as soon we realized the pandemic had the potential to be here for a while. There was, and still is, much uncertainty, but we chose to be proactive and started revising our plans at the end of March. The result is that we’re in a much better position coming out of the other side of this pandemic.
With our clients and prospects, we have seen companies fall into one of three buckets.
- Maintain the Status Quo – The majority of our clients chose this route and decided to do nothing and ride things out as is.
- Cut Back or Pause Marketing – We saw about 10% of clients cut back budgets or pause them entirely. Most of these clients were in hard-hit industries and just trying to survive. I get it. They had no choice, and it was the right call at the time.
- Adjust Marketing Strategies – About 15% of our clients recognized the impact the pandemic was having on how they do business. These companies were proactive and looking for new ways to market to prospects and serve customers. They have embraced new ways of marketing that they had not previously utilized. Some examples are increased email marketing efforts, increased marketing on social media platforms, using Live Chat to engage with customers while they’re on the site, and using video to connect with customers and prospects.
If you are one of those companies that either did nothing or had to cut back, it’s time to start thinking about what you should be doing moving forward. I believe the pandemic and associated shutdowns have permanently changed the way consumers shop and interact with companies. As a result, every business needs to re-evaluate their marketing strategy. I’m not suggesting you need to scrap everything, but I am suggesting you need to take a hard look at what you’re doing and determine if there are new strategies you need to be employing.
If you are wondering where to start, I’ve listed six things below to consider as part of your marketing strategy for 2021 and beyond.
- Your business must be easily found on search engines. Google continues to push paid ads, making it harder for businesses to get listed in the organic results at the top of page 1. It might be time to consider engaging in some paid advertising if your organic results are not delivering.
- You must be easily found. As the leader of a business, it is no longer acceptable to avoid having a social media presence because you “do not use social media”. With so many people working remotely and limiting social contact, it is really important to your credibility that they can check you out online. For most business owners and executives, a solid presence on Linkedin is sufficient.
- Revisit your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy and include voice search. Voice search is now no longer just a fad. Search continues to change rapidly. COVID-19 safety concerns are driving the move to voice search even faster. A recent Gartner report shows that 32% of consumers have a high interest in hands-free technology because they don’t have to worry about germs or contagions as much. That same Gartner study also found that 39% of the US population uses voice assistance on their smartphones.
- You must be accessible online. People prefer to communicate in different ways, so you should provide multiple channels for them to connect with you – website forms, phone, live chat, business texting, Facebook messenger, etc.
- Email marketing still works when done correctly. If you are like me, you’ve probably noticed a huge increase in sales emails hitting your inbox since the pandemic started, which makes it more difficult than ever to cut through the clutter. However, well-thought-out email campaigns and messaging are still an effective, low-cost marketing strategy.
- Start using a CRM to manage contacts with marketing and salespeople working virtually. If you were not previously using a CRM, it is likely you struggled to maintain insight into leads and deals, especially if you have salespeople working remotely. Today’s CRMs are robust and also offer many sales tools that allow you to work more effectively and efficiently. Our preferred CRM is HubSpot, which is free. Click here if you would like to schedule a demo of HubSpot CRM.
Every business is unique, and I am sure there are many other opportunities where you can expand your marketing efforts. Those listed above are simply the most common tactics. The main takeaway is that no matter what you have been doing, you should really dedicate some time now to think about what you should be doing for the remainder of 2021.