Recent months have turned what used to be considered “normal” completely upside down for everyone. While there are many things about the current situation that are out of our control, there are still some things you– as a marketer can do, and one of those takes steps to improve the online business you have worked so hard to build.
The economy may be taking a downturn, however your business can get through this and emerge on the other side even stronger. We all know the pandemic will pass and all indications tell us consumers will continue to shop online, even more so now and going forward.
Let’s talk about some marketing tip and strategies you can start implementing today to strengthen your online business.
Number One Marketing Tip: Survey your Audience
After initial communication assuring your audience that you are here for them, ask your clients and prospects what else they need from you in these trying times. There may be things you haven’t thought of that can help their business or their lives. There are a lot of free options – such as survey tools, social media channels, online communities, live chat tools for your website, and so on, that you can use to reach out to and get feedback from your audiences.
Depending on your business, provide product bundles at special prices, or simply discounts to help out clients or prospects in need. Similarly, offer free upgrades where it makes sense. Expand grace periods for returns and allow subscription pauses if requested.
Engage with your customers and prospects on as many channels as your team can manage, with smart and creative campaigns. Consider live streaming on social platforms; move offline events online or make your own online event from scratch. Think of hosting live interviews, educational webinars etc.
Ask industry influencers to speak at your event and they will pull some traction as well. Once the speakers are lined up the preparation will be simpler than for an offline event.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Your existing customers or clients are the opportunity to make more sales without incurring the costs of finding a new customer. Switch to or maintain a customer-centric approach and adapt your operations to customer needs, this will help you easily convert new customers too through referrals and positive reviews. This mindset and approach will help your business will deliver more value and adapt faster to market conditions.
Maybe you invested heavily in tradeshows, in-person meetings, marketing promotions – it’s a good time to divert that budget to other channels such as online webinars, virtual events, paid advertising, content creation and more.
Look for partnerships
Partner with a company that complements your own – this way you share audiences, expand your reach and you keep your offers fresh and exciting (create bundle offers, cross-post on each other’s sites). In some cases, scaling on your own may not even be possible.
Focus on optimization
Think of it as “spring cleaning” for your business. Optimize everything you use for acquisition: from marketing campaigns to online shopping carts to onboarding to renewal processes. Yes, renewal! Use retention as leverage for new acquisition.
Better to over-communicate than under-communicate, communication is not one and done. Explain what changes you are making during these trying times and how you are helping your clients and prospects – with their lives or businesses, depending on your targets, B2C or B2B.
Turn window-shoppers into customers
As people will spend more and more time online, make sure you capture them at the right moment. Do more remarketing campaigns via email and retargeting via ads, update your CTAs etc.
Adapt to a changed decision making process
Invest more resources into nurturing leads, as the decision making process can be getting longer – or shorter – in other cases. Add more relevant content into the funnel then analyze which stage of the buying process needs more attention. Get help from inside sales to change the pace of interactions, or the moment in which they take over a lead. In other words, maybe you need to look at changing scoring for MQLs and SQLs.
Protect cash flow
Adapt your offerings and prices to your clients’ new behavior and meet their current needs, while keeping your focus on what you do best. You can increase your margins later on, when the economy gets back to normal.
There are many options to adjust and expand your marketing efforts, but don’t feel you need to implement all of them right away. Be selective and think about what makes sense for your individual business and customers, you know them best and how you can best support them during this time. Being flexible and creative will keep your customers engaged and your online business strong.