Compass in hand

Although many of us have adapted to our new working environments during COVID-19 some businesses haven’t, instead choosing to let the recent events pass-by and hold out. 

In this blog, our MD Grant reviews the last 3 months, highlighting some of our findings and analysing the secret behind businesses that have been excelling despite the pandemic.

What is happening in your market:

It is undeniable that COVID-19 will have impacted your plans for 2020. It wasn’t the start to the year any of us anticipated, however, what we do now know is COVID-19 isn’t going to disappear in the near future and even when we do all go back to the office/shop/warehouse your market won’t be the same. BUT it doesn’t have to be all doom & gloom!

With any shift in the market, there is always an opportunity out there, in this instance, we are seeing a few different digital opportunities and options that can be taken:

 

Consumers now have more time to engage

Since the outbreak we are seeing an increase in engagement on websites with more users spending time reading blog posts, reviewing available ideas and consuming free downloads with a range of expertise. It is important to remember there is still a desire in your market – however it may just take more time to take a potential customer into a lover of your products/offer. So why not take this opportunity and begin sharing your knowledge or expertise? Think about what you want to be known for and go ahead and do it!

Page views by category graphImage Source: Bazaarvoice network data

Customers are looking for reassurance

If you own an online business that delivers produce or products there is still a demand. However customers are being more careful with their brand choice now asking questions such as; will delivery be handled safely?, has the returns time been increased and how easy will it be to return items?, will this company still be around if I have problems with the product?

It is your responsibility as a business or organisation to allay those fears by updating your website with relevant information on your new terms and support methods. Perhaps even including your USPs in a new header bar (think of AO.com USP bar). This could be coupled with more rigorous email notifications – providing the customer with more details of delivery and how you have increased your returns duration (we’re sure you’ve noticed this happening elsewhere).

“Your website is an important source of business right now.

Customers are initiating more interactions with businesses today than they were a year ago, and doing more research online.

Average monthly website traffic increased by 13% in March, compared to February.” – Hubspot

Whatever you do, be authentic

We know right now it is very difficult to understand where to position your business/organisation with so much uncertainty.

The thing to remember is to be authentic to yourself and your brand.

Innocent smoothie bottlesImage Source: Innocent Smoothies

If you are going to pivot into a new service area or product range or begin offering tutorials in a new area, it should be something that is true to your brand. For instance, if your business is creating bespoke handbags for a high-end clientele, it would be less than authentic for you to then begin providing Zoom training sessions or selling watches under the same brand.

However, if you began creating videos on how to maintain the life of your ‘Insert brand name’ handbags and accessories to bring a new style to your old handbags then this would be a great business transition which could be maintained well after COVID-19.

As before, it is very important to make sure you are present and your expertise is heard. During these times now is not the time to sit this one out and the longer your stay silent or dormant the harder it will be to return. It is time to create a new plan and engage with that audience who are just waiting to hear from you.

“I have had lots of questions from my audience asking whether they should be marketing in this current climate. You see they are worried that if they send out content it could be seen in bad taste and feels inappropriate.”

My response to this is a resounding YES YOU SHOULD marketing to your audience provided you are continuing to serve them and one of the ways you will achieve this is by applying the points I’ve made earlier in this article.  LISTEN and produce content that is truly adding value… – Rob Da Costa, business coach

Review your marketing plans:

If you have always had a regular marketing mix (a variety of marketing outputs) such as blogs, social media and email marketing – now is the time to consider upping your frequency rates.

Since the outbreak, Hubspot and Campaign Monitor have both noted an increase in email open rates (showing engagement) with Campaign Monitor noting a 20% increase YOY (year on year). This shows to us there is a real desire from consumers to hear from their chosen brands. So if you haven’t already perhaps now is the time to look at your email marketing strategy.

In addition to this Social Sprout have analysed how user behaviour has differed across social media channels, which shows a really interesting increase in user engagement on social media channels (image below). With figures of engagement continuing to increase it may be time to consider your social media approach? If you’d like to discuss your desires why not contact us for a chat? [email protected].

Social Sprout - Engagement figures increase across social channels during COVID-19

So where to start…?

We’d highly recommend getting to know your customers/users. Take every opportunity to listen to them, review your Google analytics data, set up a live chat functionality on your website via Live Chat or Hubspot or perhaps set up heat mapping or online surveys via Hotjar to get insights into users’ behaviour.

The bottom line is whatever you do, try to be authentic, be useful and be customer/user-focussed!

If you’d like help deciding what to do next and how to prepare for the “new normal” (as coined by our lovely clients Disruptive HR) – contact us on 01273 030029 or at [email protected] – we’re only a click away!