How the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world of digital marketing

Apr 30, 2021

As lockdown orders came through and people began to shelter-at-home, many businesses felt the squeeze. Those that had no e-commerce component had to pivot or fail, and even well-established online businesses suffered as cash-strapped consumers began to cut back their spending.
There was a silver lining to these problems, though. As businesses had to rely on virtual communication, they found new opportunities to grow their following. Digital advertising and e-commerce tactics became ever more important. Now, as doors re-open, the world of digital marketing has changed forever. Here’s what’s new in digital marketing for your Kent business.

Businesses now focus on value more than sales

When customers aren’t coming into shops or buying as much, what can your business do? Simple: keep them engaged and entertained without making them spend money. There was already a shift toward value-driven models such as inbound marketing, in which customers are treated as loyal brand ambassadors rather than a parade of one-time buyers.

The pandemic made this approach not only effective but also essential: consumers don’t want to be sold to when they’re not in the mood for spending. And many people are already wary of sales pitches. By making its customers feel valued, brands can maintain their attention for when they are ready to buy.

What this means for your business:

Digital marketing strategies have shifted from sales offers to engagement campaigns. Channels such as social media and email are excellent opportunities for high-value content, including DIY videos, behind-the-scenes tips, customer highlights, and other content that gets customers engaged with the brand. These tactics lead to improved customer retention and a higher lifetime value.

E-commerce is crucial to any business

During lockdown, people had to make purchases online (or were strongly encouraged to do so). There had already been a trend toward shopping online, buy-online-pick-up-in-store, and other e-commerce models. Thanks to the pandemic, consumers realized how convenient and flexible it is! In fact, online sales tripled during 2020.

Now, many customers expect to be able to buy products and services online. This is even true for service-based businesses: people want to be able to book their classes and appointments on the website. This is actually ideal for your business because you can then capture customers’ emails and remarket to them on that channel.

What this means for your business:

If you haven’t yet implemented an online store or bookings for your business now is the time. This can be a daunting task, but a qualified web design agency can help you out. Be sure that you align any e-commerce or virtual sign-ups with your other digital marketing funnels (e.g. social media, email newsletters, etc.)

Talk is cheap; good marketing isn’t

There’s nothing like a global pandemic to make every business immediately chase the trends. From well-intended messages of “We’re all in this together” to detailed explanations of their sanitation routines, many brands inundated their audiences with COVID-speak. These messages often fell flat — highlighting the major problem of insincerity in digital marketing.

Consumers are fatigued by inspirational messages and calls to action. They’re also tired of being lumped in with everyone else. The pandemic proved once and for all that digital marketing must be personalized. Email blasts, constant upselling, and social media ads just weren’t striking the right note.

What this means for your business:

Personalize, personalize, personalize. This means segmenting your email lists, tracking your site visitors’ behaviour and sending them relevant content, and not spamming them with constant offers and sales pitches. People cherish a brand experience that honours their unique problems and desires. That means your strategy should include extensive audience research and be geared toward providing value more than making sales.

If you’d like professional guidance in implementing these changes, a digital marketing agency can help your Kent business grow. The landscape has changed drastically, but at The Creation Lab, our innovative team is here to send you to new horizons.


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