A marketer’s job is to predict and assess how consumers’ needs, expectations, wants, and purchasing behaviors may change in response to certain factors. In light of the pandemic and its ripple effects in business and the socio-economic landscape, marketing just became more challenging.
Businesses and customers alike don’t know how long the crisis will last and how massive the impacts may be. Government regulations are being revised and updated daily, and everyday life is affected. It will take time to adjust to the new normal fully. But then, marketers will need to be agile in creating solutions to relaunch a brand. Don’t wait for more problems to come up or for a clear direction to appear before acting and making decisions about your business.
Suppose your business is currently undergoing extreme changes or under pause because of the pandemic. In that case, you’ll need to curate a plan to relaunch once things start getting better and some of the limitations and regulations are lifted.
Let’s look at some of the strategies you can use to reopen your business in a post-Covid world and beyond.
1. Audit your current marketing strategies.
Most consumers are stuck at home and have turned to online shopping to buy products and services they need. Before the pandemic, people had started shopping online, and some even reported having a better shopping experience. A few months into the outbreak, the number of people who were shopping online increased, and even when the pandemic is over, it seems that the trend of buying things online will continue.
That’s why there’s no better chance than today to adjust your marketing goals to reopen your business to be relevant to your consumers and assure your customers of their safety. Before you change, you’ll need to know what you’re currently doing and what’s working. This is where the marketing audit comes in, where you’ll review all your existing tactics and strategies, and then check if they are essential and relevant.
Part of this strategy means that you should do the customers’ journey mapping, or analyze if your customers’ journey with your brand may have changed since the coronavirus outbreak. Using the right insights from new consumer data, you can better focus on concerns and understand how your customers experience your business.
When you’re planning to improve your customer experience with your brand, your strategy should answer the following questions:
- What problems and motivations are experienced by your customers?
- Can your business realign to take advantage of customers’ issues and address their problems?
- How can you make your customers’ journey easier and more accessible?
- How can you improve customer conversions?
2. Reconnect with your customers.
Most of your customers are at home, and during this journey of waiting in a socially isolated period, your business should try and understand what your consumers are going through. Place their experiences and needs at the center of your marketing strategies.
Most people are scared of the uncertainty, and so are your customers. Ensure that you create authentic and personal experiences for them through your brand. They are looking for stability during the pandemic, so as a brand, you need to be more like a friend than a brand looking to make money.
With your marketing strategy, you can create new ways to make meaningful connections with customers through virtual conferences. You can collaborate with other brands that provide health, self-care, or financial services and create timely, relevant, and compassionate content together.
3. Win back your customers’ trust.
Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, consumers became better-informed and distrusted big brands. When they start going out more, most people will be vigilant about their health and safety when interacting with businesses. A practical way to rebuild trust among your consumers is to let them know that your business follows all the laid-down safety regulations and applies rigorous sanitation standards. This shows that you value your customers’ experiences, and are willing to put their safety and needs first.
You can also communicate the measures your business is implementing to ensure quality and safe health standards for products or services. Other than social distancing practices, businesses should set up hand sanitizing stations and promote contactless payments. Ensure that you don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Be honest about what your brand can realistically offer in the short-term and long-term run.
4. Humanize your brand.
Empathy should be one of the driving forces when you’re setting up your marketing campaign. It’s essential to understand your consumers’ sentiments and how they see your brand. People want to see and connect with other people, so a cold corporate persona won’t do your business any good in this uncertain situation.
Humanizing your brand involves creating relevant and better content to improve customer engagement and eventually increase conversions. Show people the people behind your brand; it could be your hard-working staff or team who provide the best services.
You can create an iconic brand voice and online persona through your social media pages and website, which shows your brand interacting and engaging with consumers to discuss current situations or offering any needed help. It’s also useful to collaborate with influencers who may have a wider reach and more loyal and more engaging followers. Choose influencers who are best suited for your brand, and implement a people-focused campaign together.
5. Let your customers know you’re open for business.
If you have plans to reopen your business, it’s essential to let your customers know you’re open for business. Once you’ve made sure all the safety protocols are taken care of, and that your customers will be safe doing business with you, it’s time to do some advertising.
The message you send out to customers should be relevant, considerate, and empathetic to your customers’ needs and problems. You can start by updating your website, telling people about your reopening plans, and ensuring that all the safety protocols are in place. Create a series of posts throughout your social media channels.
The business pre-launch strategy tip is obvious, but the most important highlight is that you need everyone to know once your doors are open. You can put banners and signs outside your business that clearly say, “We are back in business” or “We are open.” You can go to have your banners or posters printed at https://www.craftsmenind.com/large-format-printing to get your message out clearly. You can also run a direct mail campaign with small and affordable promotional items like business magnets, which mention reopening your doors for business.
6. Adjust your business model.
Since people are advised to stay home to decrease contact with others, it’s no surprise that restaurants are among the most affected businesses. Local food businesses are looking for ways to add delivery to restaurants, as consumers are ready to support local businesses like restaurants by ordering takeout and delivery.
Besides click-and-collect and delivery services, restaurants can also offer customized meal kits, complete with ingredients and instructions for the DIY-obsessed people stuck at home. On social media, the restaurants can also share recipes, preparation tips, and classes using their meal kits.
Other industries are also not spared from the effects of the pandemic. For example, gyms may need to switch models from being places where people gather to work out. They can sell gym equipment and encourage people to work out from home, while offering support through virtual classes. You can take ideas from how other businesses are pivoting, and find ways to meet your customers’ needs even in a new climate.
7. Increase your customer support.
During these times of uncertainty, effective and efficient customer support is vital for your business. Customers prefer to call support when they have issues with your products or services, and how you handle them will determine if they will continue to do business with you in the future.
To improve customer support, you should ensure that your staff is fully equipped to work remotely. Provide them with the necessary infrastructure to deliver top support. You can take advantage of virtual agents to enhance your current workforce and address any concerns your customers may have about Covid-19.
8. You can invest in marketing automation tools.
Working from home is part of the adjustments most companies have had to implement after the outbreak. This means that you don’t get to interact with your consumers physically if they may have any questions or issues.
Interactions with consumers and clients will be mostly digital. Marketing automation tools can make the customer experience faster and easier, saving your business time and resources.
Consider investing in artificial intelligence and other tools like social media chatbots to manage your users’ interactions and analyze their behaviors. Which touchpoints lead them to your business? How many times do they usually engage with your brand before they convert? Powerful AI marketing tools can provide your brand these insights, which you can use to improve your customer experience.