These are unusual times. In my lifetime, we have never felt so much communal uncertainty. Every day each of us is forced to evaluate potential risky situations and try to make the best decision for ourselves.
Should I attend an in-person event?
Should I wear a mask?
Should I make plans to travel?
Will prices continue to rise with inflation?
Are we headed for a recession?
Is the pandemic over or not?
Many routine things like going out to eat, attending business networking events, or grocery shopping are now ripe with the opportunity to overthink everything.
It often boils down to:
Will, I regret doing it?
Will I miss out on something if I don’t do it?
Is it worth it?
We’re all exhausted from the decision-making (yes, it’s tiring to make too many decisions).
What does this mean if you’re trying to market your products or services?
Here are four insights to consider when evaluating and planning your marketing during uncertain times.
1. Expect different results
This is the most critical and universal lens through which you should view your current marketing approach. We can all agree that the world has drastically changed since the beginning of 2020. What worked for your marketing three years ago may not work now.
There’s an oxymoronic quality to the feelings we’re experiencing these days. For example:
- We’re more comfortable with Zoom than ever before but so sick of it that we may not want to attend another Zoom meeting or webinar.
- We desperately miss face-to-face interaction but may still be frightened of the health risks associated with in-person events.
No business or non-profit has come through this unchanged. And your marketing needs to change, too.
2. Try something new
There’s a significant reshuffling of what’s working and what’s not. But there are no universal winners and losers. The very thing that you’re giving up on may be just the right strategy for someone else.
Just because something works for another business or used to work for you in the past, it may not be effective for you right now.
Maybe you used to do in-person networking and now need to try social posting. Perhaps you never considered pay-per-click, and now it’s time. Maybe your organic traffic is slowly building or slowly tapering off.
For months, many people were waiting to see what things would be like, ‘post pandemic’ or in the ‘new normal.’ Instead of just waiting and contemplating, it’s time to try something new if you do not see results.
Decide on one strategy to try and test it for the next six months–that’s long enough to get data and measure results. Then, six months from now, you can reevaluate and pivot if necessary based on the results, your business, and the economic outlook.
3. Prospects are cautious
Everyone is over-evaluating everything, so give them the details they want.
Sometimes, people regret moving too slowly and missing out on a deal or trend. More people are now willing to slow down and evaluate everything carefully.
Answer your prospects’ questions. This is best done with your website. Your website is safe and universally available.
Pre-pandemic, people tolerated restaurants with terrible websites. Now customers want to see the menu (not PDF), the hours, and any particular policies or details. And because we all know that there are supply-chain issues and labor shortages, we want to feel confident that the offerings and hours we see posted are accurate and up-to-date.
At Visible Logic, we don’t work with many restaurants; we primarily work with B2B firms and non-profits. But the advice is the same: build trust online with a website that is accurate, updated, and thoroughly discusses what you offer so that people can get detailed information from you.
You can describe what it’s like to work with you. You can create demo videos and explainer videos. You may want to be more transparent about your prices. Introduce your team and founder with photos or videos and bios. These are all things that help build trust with your prospects.
4. Sales cycles are slow
People are moving slowly or even outright waffling on their decisions.
Businesses make a plan, then reassess and then adjust their strategy. Remember how many times Apple has announced its back-to-work plans? Almost always delaying (rather than moving faster) on making hard decisions.
The good news is that this gives you many opportunities to educate your prospects on what you do and why you do it better than anyone else.
Think about how you will stay in touch with prospects. Automated email drip campaigns are likely the easiest and most effective. It also allows you to mix written communications, videos, or graphics.
Three trends to invest in now to improve your marketing results
What’s working for some businesses may be the opposite for others. There are many different paths, but you need to focus on these three significant steps.
1-Raise awareness of your product or organization online.
As people spend more time at home, online, and with limited interaction with others, you need to get in front of prospects using digital marketing. Pay-per-click ads, a content marketing strategy, and social media are the top three ways to do this. You can expect different costs and timelines to see results; the best one for you will depend on your business and client base.
2-Improve your website.
Your website is the foundation of your whole online identity. It should appeal to your ideal prospects in how it looks and with the writing. It should be technically sound—meaning if your site is anything more than just a brochure, it must work smoothly. Finally, it should be easy for your team to manage so that you can keep it up-to-date.
3-Create a lead nurturing campaign.
Stay in touch during long sales cycles!
Stay in touch with written content, product updates, videos, and special offers. This is most easily done with email. Or, consider texting if the audience is right. You can do this in other ways—with phone calls and organic social media outreach, for example—but email is the easiest, most robust, and most effective.