As businesses and consumers alike said goodbye—and good riddance—to the 2020 calendar year, 2021 has wasted no time in reminding us all that the challenges of the past year are still hanging over our heads.
While a COVID-19 vaccine has given us hope for a return to normal, the prevalence of COVID-19 remains a persistent threat to businesses, their employees, and their customers. A post-pandemic future may have appeared on the horizon, but businesses are still facing weeks and months ahead where they will have to balance their own survival needs with the safety challenges that come with operating in their respective industries.
At the same time, businesses are eager to lay the groundwork for economic recovery once operations can return to normal. As your business focuses on staying afloat, it can also invest in engagement strategies that maintain existing customer relationships, build brand awareness in your local market, and provide a launching pad for recovery once the worst days of the pandemic are in the past.
Looking for tips to guide this pandemic survival strategy? Here are five ways you can start investing in your post-pandemic future.
1. Lean on Local Advertising to Keep Your Business Visible
You’ve probably already heard how Amazon, McDonald’s and other major brands made steep investments into advertising during the 2009 recession—and achieved massive business growth as a result. In a pandemic, the same principle still applies: Advertising is your best way to stay visible when your regular business offerings aren’t an option.
If your business already operated advertising and marketing campaigns across a wide range of engagement channels, stay the course with those campaigns and keep your brand top-of-mind among your audience. If you haven’t made serious investments into advertising and marketing, the final months of the pandemic is your opportunity to build brand awareness and lay a foundation for new customer conversions as your business returns to normal.
When budgets get tight, it may feel like you have to cut back on ad spending. However, there are many ways to economize your advertising without going completely dark, which could have detrimental long-term affects on your business.
2. Focus Your Efforts On Marketing/Advertising Optimization
When business is operating at a regular pace, it can be hard to dedicate your time and resources toward optimizing marketing and advertising campaigns. But if the pandemic has forced a slowdown or shutdown of your operations, now is the time to lean in to optimization as a tool for creating greater value from this spending.
Keyword research, market research among customers, and A/B testing are just some of the forms of research and analytics that can help you identify missed opportunities and promising trends that improve your marketing and advertising success, resulting in higher customer conversion rates and increased ROI.
3. Plan Out a Post-Pandemic Engagement Campaign
Looking ahead to the day when you can resume regular (or semi-regular) business operations? Use this time to make a plan for how you will capitalize on that opportunity, and accelerate your company’s recovery.
A post-pandemic engagement campaign can be used to announce your re-opening of your business to current and prospective customers. This should leverage a wide range of channels to maximize the reach of your new campaign, including owned media channels like email newsletters, as well as strategies such as direct mailings to connect with new potential customers in your local area.
4. Embrace Optimism in Your Brand Voice
Your customers are no different than your business: They’re worn out by the prolonged complications of the pandemic, and they’re eager for a return to regular life. With so many obstacles and pain points complicating their everyday lives, many of those customers are eager to engage with sources of optimism and positivity during this difficult period of time.
While this optimism should be a hallmark of your brand messaging, you can also cultivate a sunnier outlook through inventive experiences or forms of engagement that make the best of current limitations. Socially distanced and virtual events, such as live-streamed DIY demos, and even creative contests that encourage customers to share user-generated content related to a specific theme, can help spark some enthusiasm and positivity among your customers—and build positive associations with your brand in the process.
5. Give Customers Options to Interact With Your Business Now.
In some industries, the pandemic has made it all but impossible to maintain most types of interaction with customers. But your business shouldn’t make the mistake of fading into the background and waiting until better days arrive.
Closed bars and entertainment venues can offer live-streamed events, trivia contests, and other experiences that offer interaction and community-building. If you’re a retail store, set up and promote an online store to keep customers browsing your inventory and even making purchases. While these forms of engagement might not be sustainable business offerings, they can preserve your connection with customers until you’re able to return to normal business operations.
If your business feels stuck in an in-between state between full pandemic lockdown and a return to normal operations, you’re not alone. As vaccine distribution continues, the future will likely arrive gradually for your business. Make the most of your current situation by using this time to plan for the future and turn 2021 into a year of business recovery.
Looking for a partner to guide you through this process? Contact us today.