Marketing is always ever-changing. This has never been more true than for 2020. As the pandemic hit worldwide, we all had to adapt, and quickly. This year, without notice, people had to start working from home, kids were being crisis-schooled, and businesses were closed to walk-in traffic. So we had to ask ourselves “How do we keep our businesses afloat?”
It’s time to reinvent the way we market.
Marketing is always changing with the times and we need to be attentive to the needs of our audience. Were you ready for the 2020 pandemic? Probably not. Nobody was! It was unpredictable. Consequently, it brought on many new challenges. For example, perhaps you had your event calendar, or your social media calendar lined up and ready to go, but everything changed so quickly. Therefore, yesterday your message was right on target, but now you need to ensure that the messages you send are still relevant.
Use social media to connect
Businesses closed, and the outside world shut down. As a result, as people everywhere became mostly homebound, they turned to social media. So, by all means, do make sure that all your social media streams are current because that’s where everyone is these days! 2020 has left – and continues to leave – people generally “unsure”. Is your business open? Can I still get the products or services I need? How do I contact someone? What hours and days will you be open? If your message is not clear, there is a good chance your customer will move on to another source that is easier to connect with.
And to add to this point: make sure your business is relevant to the times. You may need to consider making some changes. For example: Many businesses started advertising the sale of face masks and hand sanitizer, which they never carried before. Or they shifted from performing services in-person to delivering a virtual version of the same services (classes, therapy sessions, coaching, etc.). Or they started focusing on delivery and curbside pickup rather than in-store purchases. It was not what they did before COVID-19, but this event demanded a shift in strategy in order to remain relevant. These businesses use social media to showcase their change and drive customer engagement.
Just like your customers, you are a person – not an “account” – and it’s good to remember to not always be in “business mode”. I bet you’ve seen one of these situations this year: Businesses hosting home Zoom meetings; Facebook Live from the kitchen island; Live TV hosts with kids making guest appearances. We laughed, as we watched and saw ourselves in these very same situations. People want to know you are human and that you understand them. Take down your walls and show them you’re just like them. “Together Alone” was and still is a great mantra for the year.
TikTok has become wildly popular this year. And no, believe it or not, it’s not just for pre-teens. But no matter the social media channel you are using, videos get more attention and drive more engagement than any other type of content. We’ve noticed many small businesses adding more videos to their social media in the past few months. Whether it’s live Zoom calls, or pre-recorded messages, video gives you an opportunity to let your customers see you, hear you, and stay connected in some way even while apart.
In conclusion, as we roll with the new changes and challenges of 2020 many small business owners wonder how to survive and then, how to thrive.
“In times of crisis, marketing should not stop; it should amplify. While many believe that consumers do not want to hear from businesses, this idea is simply not true.” For some more insight, check out this article from Business.com: 7 Smart Strategies to Help Small Businesses Survive the Global Pandemic. Fine-tuning your marketing message is one of the strategies.
And remember, we may not all be in the same boat, but we are in the same storm. Marketing can be a useful tool to weather it together.