6 Steps for Marketing Success in a Post-Pandemic World

It may be hard to imagine, but there was once a time where we did not have to worry about a pandemic affecting every element of doing business. Unfortunately, since March of 2020, it has not been “business as usual” for the millions of business owners in the U.S. Revenues have become unpredictable as customers become more discerning. Hospitality, food, and beverage, as well as storefront retail, have been deeply affected. This has resulted in marketing budgets becoming tighter than ever. As companies face the unknown, marketing pocketbooks have shrunken. But with the rebound of most industries and increasing numbers of Americans being vaccinated, marketers’ hopes rise in anticipation of corporate purse strings loosening to pre-pandemic levels.

If you want to slay 2021 and make sure that your marketing strategies will drive true ROI, here are 6 tips for marketing success in a post-pandemic world:

 1. Create a Post-Pandemic Roadmap

Despite the numerous challenges marketers have been through in 2020 and into 2021, there is a definite optimism about what is ahead. The key is to have a strategic roadmap of where you are going in advance of the journey.

  • It’s important to have a Plan A…and also Plan B and Plan C because, as everyone found out this past year, the world is grossly unpredictable.
  • Never has it been more important to be incredibly relevant among fleeting demands in a rapidly changing world.
  • Delivering a second-to-none customer experience has become a table-stake in building lasting relationships with customers.
  • As COVID has shown us, incorporating health and safety considerations into every aspect of marketing a product will be vital.
  • Don’t rely on existence alone – The days of “build it and they will come” are long gone – expect to meet your customers where they are…not where you what them to be.

Being able to meet all of these tenets will greatly increase success in the coming quarters as the world emerges from the pandemic and the marketing field enters the new operating normal to reach customers and meet internal revenue goals.

2. Embrace the Content

 Relevant Content is Still King

It’s important to think of content marketing and social media as the heart and brain in the body. If one isn’t working well and taken care of properly, they will both eventually fail.

Figure out who your audience is and what they want to know. Content that will drive ROI must promise to relieve major pain points for your target customer. Great content needs to be looked at as a digital conversation with your customers giving them value-added information that doesn’t just bombard them with messages you want to share.

Some rules of thumb to help create that content, include:

  • Thinking of the five most frequent questions you get asked about your business. Answer those questions via a blog, video, white paper, or other unique pieces of content. Promote the heck out of them.
  • Going to Buzzsumo.com and search popular topics within your industry. Write a similar article, but better.
  • Linking to other relevant blog posts within your website by highlighting keywords.
  • Sharing your content with industry influencers and get them to add their voice and opinion. Ask them to share with their network.
  • Making a comment on a major influencer's content via social feeds.

3. Don’t Shy Away from Video Marketing

 If the past year has shown us anything, it’s the massive consumer transition to digital sources for every aspect of what was in-person life. In a world where a video receives an average 17 times higher engagement rate than text content, brands are expected to spend five times more on video marketing in 2021 than last year.

Video is one of the most versatile communication tools to help invite the customer into your world. From demos, company overviews, event videos, and explainers to animations, case studies, testimonials, augmented reality, and much more, video is here to stay.

Despite being authentic, videos do require a plan! Start with a strategy session that defines the purpose of the video, the audience, and the desired outcome after watching. Repurpose and cross-post content by taping larger segments and editing them down for each channel. Also, remember that video SEO is different across each channel, which will require you to pay attention to algorithms to maximize effectiveness. Make sure to incorporate a strategic call to action; a CTA (call-to-action) has a 22-times better ROI than static ads. And perhaps most importantly, be authentic!

Coordinating all of your company's marketing tactics is the key to success.

4. Coordination is Key!

Now that you’ve figured out who you’re reaching, what they want to hear, and how you’re going to reach them, you need to figure out how they’ll retain the information and follow through on your call to action. Frequency and consistency in all marketing channels are vital! It has been shown that on average, prospects need to see your brand or hear your message at least seven times before they buy from you. This means that all of your marketing tactics and channels need to coordinate and deliver the same message repeatedly for maximum effectiveness!

This means that you must:

  • Work to have the unique and consistent marketing experience across multiple marketing channels – email, social media, public relations, advertising, etc.
  • Be consistent with your messaging.
  • Look to leverage current events, headlines, and industry trends.

5. Personalization and Customer Experience

In today’s ever-changing business environment, providing great customer service is no longer the responsibility of just one department. Today, it’s called ‘customer experience,’ and everyone in the company is responsible for exceeding expectations.

A great customer experience is a marketing tool in itself as brand advocates are the cheapest form of marketing, but likely the most effective. With this in mind, give your customers and clients something to brag about to their friends, colleagues, acquaintances…and everyone else they contact.

Work to stay engaged with your customers once they become your advocates. Embrace follow-up contact and actively inquire about how a service or product is serving them. Additionally, we w mentioned in point #1, make it a priority to stay in front of them with useful content – even if it doesn’t promote your business – will create a stronger bond between your company and their loyalty.

A great example of customer service as a marketing tactic

A hand-written letter is a great way to show personalized customer service and make customers feel special.

Consider in-person communication like a follow-up call or handwritten note. If you don’t have time to be super personal, create a customized email campaign to keep clients and customers engaged. Use the channel to help provide pain-point offers that you’ve uncovered through research, tips-tricks-and-hacks they would find helpful, useful checklists in advance of holidays and key times of the year, success stories, and meet-the-team emails.

6. Event Marketing: Virtual and In-Person

 Since the pandemic started, research reveals that 68% of businesses have shifted a large portion of their marketing activities to virtual and video events. Virtual B2B online sales have grown 88% since the onset of the pandemic. Also, a number of professionals prefer to engage via video and virtual meetings instead of through in-person meetings if for nothing else than to save time.

To help enhance your event marketing efforts in the virtual space, try to:

  • Maximize your time in the virtual space by inviting potential referral partners to a video meet-and-greet. To sweeten the invite, consider offering lunch or dinner delivered to them, and include a program ambassador on the call to bridge any gaps.
  • Host a virtual event for potential clients to give them a personalized overview of what you are offering.
  • Host an invitation-only launch showcasing valuable insights and research on why this service, product or program is unique.
  • Create 30- to 90-second success story videos and promote them via social media channels and email.

Don’t shy away from going face-to-face

As we emerge from the pandemic, businesses will eventually need to pivot and plan for in-person AND virtual events in 2021. In preparation, conduct outreach via email, phone, and social media to target customers to gauge interest in a virtual or in-person event and set up the next steps before committing to the cost of an in-person event. Make sure the event is of value, especially if you’re calling individuals to come to you.

If you determine that in-person events make sense for your organization, managing the event will be the next hurdle considering that most people are craving connection. Have a plan in place for how you will manage the need to socialize. Also, build in ample opportunity to network in a way that allows social distancing for those who are still anxious about gathering. Don’t be offended if networking and socializing become the key focus of attendees. Ensure you have relevant materials available to distribute pre-and post-event to share your messages. And finally…make the event fun and informative.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward in 2021

The pandemic has created a seismic shift in how we do business – especially in marketing. Although we’ve had to take on the role of knowing when to pivot, shift, hold back and drive forward, it has made us more nimble, more responsive, and more able to create connections in increasingly challenging times.

At the end of the day, it comes down to putting a few key practices into place to achieve success. Remember to:

  • Have a variety of different plans ready to execute and be prepared to pivot.
  • Plan for the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Think of what your business and customers will need in a post-COVID world.
  • Refine your processes and customer service now – both are the best ways to set your company apart from your competitors.
  • Marketing of any kind without a strategy is like burning your money – Plan first…then act.
  • Relevant content marketing, video marketing, personalized and integrated marketing, and customer service will be the major trends driving our industry in 2021 and beyond.

 If you need help with your 2021 marketing plans, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help your business drive ROI during these challenging times. For more information or to speak to one of our team members, email us at info@rmimpr.com or call 480-305-2017.

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