The virtual world has experienced a surge in traffic and demand, during the lockdown as many small local businesses and vendors had decided to take their trade online.
The past year has been a rough time for all the working personnel globally. During the lockdown period, marketing was affected along with the buying behavior of consumers. With COVID-19 still around, consumers have adapted to the new normal. The same can be said about the Digital marketing sector as many small-scale shops, restaurants, retailers and vendors who supply goods through e-commerce platforms have started their digital business. Keeping in mind the current situation across the globe, there are some new guidelines to be followed while doing business offline. All the safety norms and precautions are to be followed during the working hours to avoid unnecessary contact and maintain social-distancing. The medical emergency has only empowered the digital world rather than weakening it. Sectors such as e-commerce, e-pharma and online grocery services have already experienced perks in their revenue. Digital marketing still remains a leading mode for approaching customers. Some of the businesses have made a remarkable recovery after the withdrawal of lockdown restrictions; while some are still struggling to get back to business. Whereas, some businesses have shut down their stores. Starting an offline business in this situation does not sound like a good option. However, adding a digital presence to the business seem like a perfect idea to look forward to.
Digital marketing is quintessential for any business when it comes to improving brand identity and online presence with the help of SEO-friendly content to emerge at the top of search engine in this digitally competitive landscape. Optimizing the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can generate more traffic for the website. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising online usage has created scope for higher conversions. During this period, marketers are required to re-consider their promotional strategies to transform their business as per the trends. The most vital factor in this crucial situation is to understand the consumer behavior which has become inconsistent since the outbreak of the virus.
In every crisis, there’s an opportunity. It just depends on how sensitive the vendors are regarding the consumer behavior and how creative they can be to take advantage of the evolving and fluctuating consumer interests. It encourages us to work harder and focus on what really needs to be done and what crucial decisions need to be taken. Things are getting clearer as more sectors have re-opened but the trouble of economic depression will continue to hit the vendors. Here are some of the ideas and factors that are playing in favor of digital marketing.
- Consolidate existing customers
The social networking sites are the best platforms to stay connected with loyal customers of a products. Frequently responding to customers’ questions about a product will maintain their trust in the brand. Providing the customers with various offers and seasonal discounts on the company’s website can keep them engaged with the products.
- Internet Usage and Traffic
Marketers should be present where their consumers are, whether they’re on social media, YouTube or news portals. The average time spent on digital media by an individual has increased in the past year. People are looking for ways to stay updated, connected and entertained. Malls and Super-market shopping in the crowded streets and markets has become a thing of the past. Current trends signify an exceptional surge in online shopping and delivery options as people continue to self-isolate themselves and stay active online. Digital marketers now stand a chance to put up advertisements on high-traffic websites and display their products to a wide section of audience. Capitalizing on this section of audience can result in more conversions.
- Spike in Online Orders and Sales
Consumers’ preference has shifted to online shopping with the acceleration of the e-commerce industry. Consumers have gone past their early inertia and have started to embrace e-commerce. Online purchases and sales have reached as high as 80% owing to purchase of products related to food, fitness and learning among others. People are choosing to stay at home to avoid contact with others. This has opened up opportunities for online retailers and e-commerce dealers via online food and grocery delivery services. Besides these services, tech-giant, Amazon, also witnessed heavy traffic on its platform. Local supermarkets have improved their online distribution system to accommodate the increasing orders. It is an opportunity for the logistics players to pick on this situation and capitalize.
- Work-From-Home Perk
The work-from-home culture which is a result of nationwide lockdowns in several countries has allowed the workforce the convenience of wearing clothes of their choice, flexible working hours, and spending more time with family, etc. However, mental health issues are likely to increase to increase with social distancing measures. That means no need for physical shopping. Instead, customers have to use mobile apps for shopping which poses a novel opportunity for digital marketers to promote their products.
- Digital Payment methods
The pandemic has affected the people from all classes in terms of their expenses, health and lifestyle. One way that the marketers can reduce consumer’s anxiety, is by offering them various digital payment options. Again, the digital payment applications can advertise a product of any marketer. That’s a win-win situation for both the consumer and the marketer.
- Blogging for the Save
Local vendors need to start their own personalized blog for local consumers. Strategies such as writing blogs about the products that you’re selling along with the seasonal offers, deals and discounts on it, will attract the loyal customers to a store. Including SEO-friendly content and keywords along with extensive use of #Hashtags can widen the reach.
Creative words that the marketers use in Blogs should be topical, sensitive to the issues and emotions of the parent climate to lend a powerful social message such as ‘To every virus, there is a vaccine’. Focusing on your keywords can influence the consumers very deeply as they are looking for hope and encouragement.
- Online Educational Courses and Coaching Arise
Online tutorials and tuitions are cheaper and shorter; and yet they are far more informative. Even the graduates need a post-graduation course to secure an internship in any organization. With unemployment rate at all-time high, digital marketers can sell numerous online courses to these students.
- Using Digital platforms to spread the awareness about the pandemic
Isolation can give rise to insecurity about health after reading various health articles that can sometimes be speculative and predictive. Believing such articles can make them sick in real-time. Marketers must target those audience with an authentic information about the spread and vaccination updates from actual sources. Considering television audience in the marketing strategies can be a necessary step that will ensure some short-term recovery because the people are tuning in for the news coverage of evolving situation. The polls related to TV ratings showed that the average time spent watching TV on weekends increased from 3 hours to 5 hours per connection. The situation has even boosted Podcasts by a decent 10% while 63% of marketers are expected to increase the expenditure on Podcast over the next few months.
All the businesses are affected severely but if taking a step back and looking at it from a marketing perspective, will help businesses realize that the COVID situation has simply accelerated trends like online shopping, health & wellness, have been on the rise since the lockdown. FMCG companies are holding up better but the pharmacy industry is riding at the top. Normalization is taking place slowly in different countries but in American cities like New York City and the state of New Jersey are still very much considered to be containment zones. Many outlets have quickly recovered up to 70% of their pre-lockdown business.
Humans are communal. We are social beings. We need to have people around us. But if another COVID-19 wave hits, the normalization will take longer time to re-emerge.
Post-pandemic, the resulting economic pressure has been uneven. The competition to regain the market share is tough because of scarcity of resources in present times. Online engagement has increased significantly during the pandemic. Digital Marketers can use YouTube, social media or their blog to share the education information which their consumers are looking for. If marketers have different products targeted for different groups of people, they can always make use of the portfolio. This will give them some time to rationalize the portfolio. Different businesses will have different portfolios and margins, and marketers should adapt their portfolio according to changing consumer behaviors.
In conclusion, digital marketers can invest in those areas that really drive value, customer engagement and not the least, revenue. Optimize the costs wherever it is required and consider the efficiency of the expenditure accordingly. Lastly, the marketers need to remain within the RADAR of the target consumers.