The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way consumers behave. Six strategic tips to help you market in the nearly post-pandemic world.
If there is one lesson we can take from 2020, it’s that life is indeed unpredictable. This hasn’t been an easy year for businesses. The pandemic brought with it extreme changes in customer behavior, unprecedented government restrictions, and an overall hostile economic environment.
If you managed to survive this crisis, pat yourself on the back. You managed to brave what was an unprecedented crisis.
So what’s next?
Marketing after the pandemic
According to Mckinsey, the rate at which businesses have adopted emerging technologies has been sped up by years due to the pandemic. More people now shop through ecommerce stores and communicate with their friends through video conferencing than ever before.
And surprisingly, this won’t change once the virus is defeated. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed customer behavior forever for some customers according to a recent survey by UNCTAD. However, there will still be those who will go back to their previous ways without wasting a second.
Here’s how you can steer marketing in such a complex environment:
1. Utilize artificially intelligent writers
Among all the big stories this year, the news of an algorithm unlocking the ability to use and comprehend human language nearly got lost. But it’s a massive breakthrough nonetheless and one that can be important in dealing with the content marketing requirements of 2021.
Wall Street Journal reports that the GPT-3 machine learning model can write memos, articles, and even short stories just like human writers.
Going forward, AI writing tools would be a lot more effective than the ones available right now. Content marketers would be able to streamline content and generate quality blog posts within a short time.
This development might seem a bit scary for writers such as me. But there’s no need to be alarmed. Past AI trends show that algorithms don’t necessarily replace humans but change their jobs to a great degree. The AI-generated content will need some editing and this is where we will come in.
2. Organize VR-enabled seminars
Life has moved online due to the pandemic. Millions are working from home, doing grocery shopping online and entire conferences are being organized virtually.
Most virtual conferences are taking place on Zoom with participants speaking from tiny boxes with their bookcases conspicuous in the background. But some organizers have taken things a step further. HTC, the company behind VIVE headsets streamed its ecosystem conference in virtual reality this year.
The guest speakers dawned custom avatars to share their thoughts. A custom-built virtual location was created just for this conference and more than a million viewed the tuned-in to watch the extravaganza.
VIVE’s virtual conference was a staggering success and something that should inspire marketers to take VR much more seriously. There will be thousands of conventional conferences after the pandemic. Virtual Reality will be the perfect tool in helping you stand out.
3. Reinvest in social media
Social media usage jumped significantly during the pandemic. Not only consumers but businesses have become more active on social media. This means there are not just business-to-customers but business-to-business opportunities on these platforms as well.
Likewise, brands need to engage social media influencers who, despite all odds, have survived the lockdowns. These influencers have proven themselves to be extremely resilient. They are now even more vital to business due to the surge in online shopping.
Businesses belonging to different niches can partner with these individuals to get their word out. In a recent survey, 40% of consumers said they purchased an item after an influencer recommended it to them. If you’re someone who hasn’t invested in skillful social media strategists so far, you need to reconsider.
4. Gamification galore
As we head towards a new year, the cookie-cutter user experience might not cut it anymore. Customer expectations have increased tremendously and it’s time for you to deliver.
Gamification could be the perfect answer to those who demand more than just a seamless website experience. It capitalizes on the inherent human love for engaging in a fun activity and being rewarded for it.
Perhaps the biggest thing you can gain out of gamification is getting your visitors subscribed to the company’s newsletter. One way to do that is by placing a fun and engaging quiz on your most visited page and asking the responders to sign up before showing the results.
Some brands take their gamification to a whole new level by developing entire apps around their niches. Fitness brands, for instance, create smartphone applications to keep their customers motivated through a series of challenges.
5. Target long-tail and ultra-niche keywords
No matter how many technologies you integrate, you will always need SEO. There’s simply no digital marketing without it. High-quality content coupled with some old-school search engine optimization would still be critical in the coming year.
In recent months, large corporations have invested heavily in their digital channels as customers are increasingly shopping online. This means small businesses, in particular, would have to step up their SEO game and target ultra-niche and long-tail keywords. The content here would need to be more engaging and creative than your usual listicles and guides.
So if you’re a startup looking to go big, think beyond the “7 Effective Ways to Fix Your Refrigerator” and “Ultimate Guide to Online Shopping”. It’s time to really dig into your niche and find exactly what customers are searching while keeping in mind that you also need copywriting to sell.
6. Give back to the community
It’s been a tough year for almost everyone. A number of people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, this includes your customers too. Helping your customer in whatever little way you can go a long way in establishing a strong customer-company bond.
You can take part in programs that will assist people to get back on their feet after the pandemic or take an initiative yourself to fund small businesses that have suffered in previous months.
Gestures such as these will not only help those who need a hand but also demonstrate your commitment to the community.
With an effective post-pandemic strategy, you won’t just get back on track but have a clear advantage over competitors. Build on the lessons you have learned in the past months and be open for changes that may occur.
It’s hard to precisely predict how customers will behave in 2021. But if past trends are any indication, digitization will remain the key going forward. AI and VR will play a bigger role in marketing but conventional methods will have their worth too.
Keep your focus on how customer priorities shape once the pandemic is over. At the end of the day, it’s all about them and what they expect from your brand.
by Evelyn Johnson
source: Search Engine Watch