As we start to move out of lock-down there has never been a more competitive and challenging time for businesses or a more important time to reach out to your customers.
The changes to ecommerce habits we have seen during lock-down are not likely to go away for some time, if ever, and should now be considered when making plans to promote your business going forward.
Even the most reluctant tech users, including seniors, have embraced technology and this has created a whole new online consumer base. There is now an acceptance of this new digital experience and this is an opportunity not to be missed.
Of course, the most effective communication is via marketing and PR and despite these uncertain times it is a vital tool for keeping you at the forefront of your customers minds, be that through digital channels or print media. You must be ready to engage new and existing customers.
So, what next?
Planning – you will need a post lock-down marketing plan, bearing in mind your existing customers habits and needs may well now have changed. The world has moved on and along with it so have the way people shop, digest information, and react to it.
PR – PR isn’t advertising, it is a strategic communication process! You need something that is newsworthy – an offer, a new product, a story that entices your customers (old and new) from the first line and makes them want to know more.
Content – things are not going to go back to normal immediately, so your strategy has to be agile to accommodate the changing circumstances – there is a need to be reactive – for now anyway.
Social media / Website / Blog / Print / Emailshots
Getting information to your customers is vital. The first place people go to find information is the internet so it is vital that your website and social media channels are easy to find and up to date.
People are spending more and more time on social media to stay connected with friends and loved ones because of social distancing and this has become the “new normal”. Social media posts, videos, blogs or online advertising are a prime way of staying in front of your customers.
With such a large increase in traffic, online advertising is a good return on investment whether you choose banner advertising or pay per click options.
The advantage of digital activity is that it provides the ability to track acquisition as well as interest, down to an extremely detailed level thanks to the intricacies of SEO and google analytics.
If you are going to write a blog it is important to stand out from the thousands of other people online who are doing the same thing. Remember to be engaging, brand aware, show you care about your customers and provide links to your product pages and social media.
A well-crafted emailshot can have a great impact on your customers and with carefully placed messages, strong branding and the use of videos and images you are on to a winner. However, you will need your own CRM to comply with GDPR regulations and not end up in your customers spam box.
Print – there will always be a place for traditional print formats, and we shouldn’t turn our backs on traditional print publications. The good ones have seen increased subscriptions despite the pandemic, so a well written, carefully targeted press release is worth the effort.
A magazine always has a place in the tack room, lorry, or kitchen table, and in an age where we are bombarded by digital messages a good, old fashioned advert or editorial stands out more on paper!
This is not the time to retreat, we must plan how to re-engage consumers, be energetic, reinforce brands, and take advantage of the new era of tech savvy customers whilst continuing to utilise all of the communication tools available.