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The effect of COVID-19 on marketing: more online marketing

Because of the corona crisis, we are more active online. This provides businesses with new opportunities. If we can learn anything from 2020, it’s that we need to seize every opportunity we get before it’s too late. You can use this time to follow the digital path.

In this article, we provide an overview of the marketing changes that Covid-19 made, how you can adapt your marketing strategy to it and how to maintain it. Be sure to keep reading because 2021 is the year to conquer the online realm with your business.

Transition to more online marketing

Everyone is staying home more often than ever due to the pandemic. We work from home, we have more social contact online, we shop more online… In short: almost everything happens digitally and online these days since our offline life has been put on hold. It’s time to jump on the digital marketing train.

Changes in consumer behavior

Corona has an impact on everything and everyone: customer behavior and emotions are no exception. No matter what sector you’re in, the customer is constantly changing. To stay relevant to your target audience, it’s crucial to align your marketing strategy with that changed behavior.

Consumers are more price-conscious

The crisis is putting many people in financial difficulties. Even after the pandemic, we’ll continue to feel this crisis for a long time. This means that consumers are filtering products on websites much more frequently according to price and sorting them from cheap to expensive. In addition, visitors are also going to compare more products with each other. Applying these features will increase the user experience of your website.

The crisis is putting many people in financial difficulties. Even after the pandemic, we’ll continue to feel this crisis for a long time.

We’re browsing and buying more on mobile

Since the beginning of the crisis, people are surfing more and more via mobile. This goes accompanied by more effective, mobile purchases. But there’s one condition: your website must be mobile-friendly. Not only is your website traffic going to increase, but your conversion rate will also rise.

A large inflow of online “rookies”

Lockdowns force people to make online purchases. People that have never shopped online too. Website usability is key, especially for those people. Make sure your website contains few obstacles. This group of people has many questions, respond with reassuring messages, and create trust in your brand.

Increased online purchases

Not only rookies are buying more online, but experienced shoppers are also shopping more online than before. They’re now buying products online that they used to go to an offline store for. Because those products often require more effort to purchase, the visitor needs more help in selecting and purchasing them.

Don’t just throw your entire assortment online with some text and info. Ensure that your website is the best seller ever and make sure that your visitors can easily find the information they’re looking for. It’s important to know your target group inside out.

Not only rookies are buying more online, but experienced shoppers are also shopping more online than before. They’re now buying products online that they used to go to an offline store for.

Changes in online behavior

Because we’re more online, our online behavior is changing. 24% of consumers are going to use digital channels more in the long run because of COVID-19. This has an impact on the expectations consumers have. According to a survey by Kameleoon, 73% of consumers expect brands to personalize their journey. That same study shows that people are watching and listening more to streaming entertainment. People also read more news online.

The pandemic boosts the value of social platforms. Social media is a powerful tool to really connect with customers. Advertising on Instagram has become a priority for many businesses. Be present on social media with relevant content. In fact, 60% of millennials and Gen Z are planning to spend more money on businesses that take care of their customers during the pandemic.

A study by Phrasee shows that the importance of language in marketing communications has increased. It makes you connect with your customers. Make sure your brand value is reflected in communications with your target audience.

Marketing strategy during the pandemic

Now is the time to fully engage in digital marketing. Adjust your online marketing plan and prepare for the future. Do you not have a digital marketing strategy yet? Build one and adjust it over time. Of course, a digital marketing strategy requires a lot of time, knowledge, and effort. If you find that you don’t have the time or knowledge, you can always call on external help.

Measuring your results is equally important. Research digital marketing tools that can help you. For example Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Keyword Planner, Google Data studio, Google Lighthouse.

Throughout the constant flow of digital marketing, you should remember that a strong foundation is key. Make sure your website is up to date and fully optimized for an optimal user experience, which became even more important because of Covid-19.

Choose long term marketing to create and maintain loyalty. Digital experiences must be perfectly tailored to the target group and present at every stage of the customer journey. For example, use content marketing throughout the journey to bring in, convince and retain customers.

Commit to techniques that take time to grow. For example, work on SEO and optimize the organic results of your website. Don’t postpone this because it doesn’t produce immediate results. That kind of long-term marketing always pays off if you do it the right way.

You can always call in help when you’re short on time or want to learn more about SEO.

Social media strategy during and after corona

A report from Hootsuite shows that the events of 2020 have changed companies’ priorities on social media. Brands are now boosting every social media channel more and more with both organic and paid content.

Focus on social listening to find out what engages your target audience. This can get you strong insights on which you can respond with relevant content. This way you create content that your followers really like, that will generate more engagement and stimulate loyalty. Our tip is to provide content that is fun, lighthearted, and relevant. You can also use user-generated content on your socials. This generates more trust than brand-generated content.

When you have more engagement, you will obtain a better score in the algorithm because you have quality interactions with your followers. You can also count on more conversions because of the connection consumers have with the brand.

Social listening doesn’t just optimize your social media strategy, you will also discover the pain points and motivations of your target group. You can integrate them into your marketing strategy. You can develop a lasting relationship, offer a better customer experience and even a better product or service.

What about your marketing budget during the COVID-19 crisis?

The pandemic and its economic impact are creating pressure on businesses to obtain new customers. A survey by Hootsuite shows that the top priority of 73% of marketers is to bring in new customers. With a strong digital strategy, you’ll bring in valuable customers.

Even if you have to cut your budget, the marketing budget shouldn’t be reduced too much. In the short term, it can be a relief, but in the long run, your business will experience a big loss. You can count on losing brand awareness and consideration and your market share will grow more slowly or even decline.

Don’t look at corona as something negative for your marketing, but rather take advantage of the situation to go digital. With the time and space freed up, corona creates digital marketing opportunities. Even during this crisis, you can build a strong strategy with a limited budget.

Even if you have to cut your budget, the marketing budget shouldn’t be reduced too much. In the short term, it can be a relief, but in the long run, your business will experience a big loss.

Online marketing post COVID-19

It can’t become more clear, every company needs a strong digital marketing strategy. Online marketing was already important, but the pandemic has accelerated it. Even after Covid-19, online marketing remains important. Here are some marketing trends for 2021, shaped by the pandemic.

Marketing trends of 2021

  1. Transparency and reliability

Fake news and misinformation are swarming online. When consumers experience clear, reliable, and consistent communication, they get a positive and relieving feeling. A clear, consistent brand image contributes to this. Build a sustainable relationship with your target audience by helping them with good content that provides the right information.

Social media platforms are paying more and more attention to consumer privacy and consent. Because these platforms are giving more attention to this, there will be changes in advertising formats.

At Experience Lab, we strongly believe in transparent and honest communication. In all our services, the customer remains fully involved at all times through open and transparent communication.

When consumers experience clear, reliable, and consistent communication, they get a positive and relieving feeling.

2. More video content

Video, video and more video. Face-to-face contact has been replaced by online contact. This made video even more important. Video is watched more frequently and more attentively than text. Win-win. Video gives your company the opportunity to show more personality by incorporating real faces into your content.

Global Web Index researched the popularity of Tik Tok. The platform contains (short) videos only, which appears to be a huge success. In Europe, Tik Tok was visited 93% more in 2020 compared to 2019. Globally even 72%. The platform offers huge opportunities for companies.

In Europe, Tik Tok was visited 93% more in 2020 compared to 2019. Globally even 72%.

3. Content Marketing

Because of corona, content marketing is more important than ever. Your target audience expects relevant, personalized content that helps them along. Consumers are also creating more and more resistance towards advertising. With content marketing, you continue to reach and convince those consumers.

Offer your target group the best experience and guide them through the funnel with content. This way, you develop loyalty, interaction and word-of-mouth. Focus on quality and not quantity.

4. Data-driven content

Consumers expect customized content, otherwise, they will look elsewhere. Find out who your target group is, what they are looking for and what content is perfect for them. Put these insights into the different stages of the customer journey so you can determine KPIs. This way you can measure everything and optimize your strategy constantly.

Consumers expect customized content, otherwise, they will look elsewhere.

Conclusion

The time has come to get your digital marketing strategy right. Because physical contact is limited, you and your company must be ready online for your target group. Build a strong digital strategy that you can continue to build on, post-covid too. Get to know your target group and make sure you reach them with the right content.

Not sure how to walk the digital marketing path? Contact us and we will help you on your business’ digital road.

Founder & Digital Architect at Experience Lab Belgium where we deliver remarkable and sustainable digital experiences for growth-focused businesses.

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