When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020, many business leaders were concerned about surviving the sudden changes. In retrospect, it certainly required a measure of ingenuity to keep things up and running. However, many businesses were able to successfully weather the storm by engaging with customers via online channels. For instance, many companies pivoted from in-person conferences to live-streamed webinars to maintain their marketing momentum.
Interestingly, many of these process changes improved business effectiveness across the board. As the world continues to adjust to post-COVID reality, many of these marketing techniques are here to stay — and companies may be better off as a result. If you've been operating a small business during the pandemic, consider keeping these techniques as part of your "marketing arsenal."
Don't Give Up on Live Streams
According to one survey, 86% of businesses in 2021 are using video as part of their marketing mix. One especially effective form of video marketing is live-streaming. As companies have adapted to conditions under the pandemic, live-streamed events and "hybrid" events (part live, part online) have become the new gold standard for trade shows, conferences, and other interactive gatherings.
Incorporating a live stream option into your event planning strategy will expand your hosting options by letting people participate according to their comfort level. It is also a great way to connect attendees who live far away but still are interested in the event. Hybrid events will likely double in number by the end of 2021, meaning this trend will no doubt continue into the foreseeable future.
Keep Your Local Connections
As a byproduct of the pandemic, the sphere of influence for many businesses has shrunk dramatically. In turn, consumers are now relying more heavily than ever on local connections. You should do everything within your power to maintain and strengthen your local connections, even as you begin to expand your overall reach once again.
It makes solid business sense since this technique will allow you to maintain a diversified marketing presence post-pandemic. It will also strengthen the loyalty and engagement of your local consumer base and ultimately boost your company's reputation (and bottom line).
Maintain Your Online Presence
It should come as no surprise that thousands of companies flocked to the internet in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns to make up for the lack of face-to-face interactions with their customers. Even "old-school" customers quickly adapted to using the internet as a critical part of their research before visiting stores, participating in events, or making purchases.
You want to make sure your company maintains a solid online presence across all major marketing channels (including social media). Invest in a detailed, professional website, and explore your chat-bot options to keep visitors engaged and help move them through the sales pipeline. Optimize your content for SEO to help customers find you. Don't be afraid to get creative, either. One Philadelphia-based bookstore and cafe pivoted from providing an in-store experience to selling physical books online and hosting Zoom "happy hours" — all to stay relevant to their customer base.
Allow for Socially Distanced Options
Workplace guidelines in the age of COVID-19 have changed drastically. Even as lockdowns ended globally, many organizations benefited from giving their employees more autonomy and flexibility while maintaining social distancing. For example, Microsoft stated its intention to allow employees to work at least 50% of the time from home (some could work fully remote, pending manager approval).
Depending on the nature of your business, consider if you could implement a hybrid WFH model or even offer fully remote positions to current and prospective employees alike. In many cases, your reps can conduct the same amount of business through calls or video conferencing as they could do in person (and maybe even more).
Explore Which Techniques Work Best for Your Business
In summary, several marketing techniques will continue to thrive in the post-pandemic world. They're not just one of the legacies that COVID-19 left the business world; they are also powerful drivers for company growth in their own right.
Of course, no two businesses are exactly alike. What works for one may be counterproductive for another. When exploring the four marketing techniques discussed above (and others), keep your company's specific needs, circumstances, and goals in mind. Then, decide which solution or solution set is best for you. Seek expert assistance if necessary. If you consider the best-suited techniques for your business post-pandemic and then diligently follow through on their implementation, then you'll no doubt experience exceptional results from your efforts.