Why Businesses Need A Digital Marketing Strategy To Survive COVID-19
In the coming months, businesses of all sizes are going to become extra reliant than ever on their digital marketing strategy. Without wanting to sound too much like a killjoy, in many cases, it will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times that are ahead.
The unparalleled, and almost-total disappearance of all channels related to live events and conferences, and the increasing barriers on face-to-face business, pose an enormous challenge to any business model.
B2B companies, in particular, rely on the annual circuit of trade shows and exhibitions to network and build customer relations. In industries that are not digital-native, they may also be less sophisticated in their digital growth and customer relations strategies. Especially in the case of smaller businesses that are used to getting new customers strictly word-of-mouth referrals or on the strength of a hard-won reputation, their loss is going to come as a shock if it hasn’t already.
Larger companies are now finding themselves in the position of having potentially lost millions of dollars from canceled events alone. They won’t claw back the hours of time and expense spent on preparations for this year, but insurance and flexible cancellation policies are going to leave them with some marketing budget to reassign. Digital Marketing in any aspect is likely going to be the clear and obvious choice here, and companies that may not so much as had a Facebook page before will need to move into social media marketing, content marketing, SEO, and even influencer-led campaigns.
This, of course, means there are opportunities out there for the taking and a key factor in resilience is adaptability. If it’s standard in your industry to go out and meet new customers face-to-face before you do business, adapting may mean opening new channels over web or social media platforms where introductions can be made and relationship fostered. In the coming months, you prospective clients are going to be less open to the idea of letting you walk through the door and shake their hand, and no-one really has any idea how long this will last and whether this will lead to longer-term change.
We are going to be in some uncertain times, but with the increase of remote working and a collaborative approach, companies are going to turn to digital channels and embrace the transformation. There has already been a real spike in the last few weeks from companies wishing to create or update their websites, launch new social media channels and campaigns focused on home-workers and a real focus on using influencers and SEO to reach new audiences.
Being confined to the office — or even the home — rather than on the road on sales visits or at events, means marketers are going to have more time to develop digital marketing strategies. This means researching where your customers can be found online, and how different approaches and tactics might impact your success. If your organization previously put minimal efforts into digital channels, now is going to be a prime time to revisit them. That could be as simple as giving your website or social media pages a refresh, or a more innovative approach.
A key point to note is that a lot of corporate entities use up about 50-60% of their marketing budgets on events. When things go back to normal, budgets will most likely be going back to those live face-to-face events, but if organizations can see the benefits and opportunities that digital marketing can offer, they might understand the benefit of adding it to their long-term marketing strategy.
Channels such as Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn Live are going to be crucial moving forward as the ability to connect with a targeted audience real-time is very beneficial, if not essential.
It’s certainly true that the coming weeks, or months – or however long this situation lasts – will be a challenging time for any company that isn’t ready to think about how they will replace the opportunities that have been lost.
As long as businesses can approach the shift to digital marketing strategically, there’s no reason why it should just serve as an emergency fill-in but could carry on providing long-term value when the world eventually gets back to normal. And of course, this would make companies more resilient to deal with any future pandemics. Do you need help with your Digital Marketing Strategy? Looking to take your social media or SEO to the next step? Contact the team at The AD Leaf ® Marketing Firm and learn how you can grow with us today and weather the storm that is COVID-19!