Inspiring Interns explains why digital marketing is important, now more than ever.
Currently, many businesses (restaurants, theatres, holiday homes, shops, hairdressers, nail salons, etc) are unable to fully operate due to COVID-19 restrictions. There is a strong temptation to “shut up shop” to save on costs in those businesses where the service cannot be sold under lockdown measures, and to wait until these services can be sold again. However, this would be a mistake. Even though a direct promotion of the service may seem foolhardy at this point, now is a great opportunity to promote your business’ brand to keep customer loyalty, and to ensure any marketing or advertising campaign gets good traction when restrictions lift.
Lockdown, although potentially damaging to a business, can conversely help your digital marketing efforts as there is a more captive audience to whom you can promote your ideas.
Digital marketing is an ideal way to implement this overall marketing strategy, both during and after lockdown.
One of the few benefits of lockdown is the increased importance of online marketing – your potential customer and target audience’s only “retail” outlet is the internet and social media platforms.
It is important to harness this opportunity, make the most of this captive audience during lockdown, and differentiate yourself from your competitors. You can then build on this to ensure your post-lockdown digital campaign has maximum effect.
A fresh digital marketing plan post lockdown is also important, the aim being to ensure that even more customers are attracted to the business/brand than previously, and at the earliest opportunity possible. Your business will then be ready to hit the ground running.
Digital marketing as a whole can help you redefine your business goals. You can discover what makes your audience tick, and it gives you the opportunity to step back and analyse areas which can be improved. This could be as simple as bringing some order to your digital store by improving your website design and/or page navigation. Your communication strategy is also important, as this is how you are perceived by current and future customers.
With that said, the use of social media should be maximised and used to its full efficiency, as this has proven to be the most frequently used and most effective form of digital marketing during lockdown. The August 2020 Global Web Index states that, “43% still admit logging in for longer because of the outbreak, and 19% today say they’ll carry on spending longer on social media”. Clearly this is a powerful tool to utilise. It can be implemented through a platform like TikTok, where you can upload a video and pose a rhetorical question for your audience to interact with in the comments.
For example, washing powder brand Daz managed to come up with an effective TikTok campaign in lockdown where they would have a video of “influencers” transitioning from feeling down and groggy to feeling amazing and “put together again”. They had the caption “Dazz it up”. Not only did this create a great impression of the brand but it was a memorable form of digital marketing, and it was a subtle way of getting their name out there without directly selling anything.
Content marketing is where you are trying to build the image of the brand as opposed to selling products, and it can be a more effective type of marketing as it is precisely targeted. You can achieve this through publishing articles, for example. Set a time to release a blog each week with useful and reliable information that is catered to your consumer’s needs. This will help your company gain credibility and trust which, in turn, will influence a customer’s decision when it comes to a potential future purchase.
It is so important for businesses to make efficient use of their digital marketing from the timeline of actual lockdown, to being partially open, and then running back to normal again.
For this earlier stage (lockdown), selling “discount strategies” is completely irrelevant for businesses that are unable to trade physically. The lockdown period should instead be used as a time for being creative and raising awareness of your brand. However, as we ease back into normality, businesses can start to use a more direct method of selling in order to gain as much traction as possible.
That is why putting together a long-term strategy for your digital marketing, which is structured and works well despite the lockdown conditions, is key to opening up your business again.