While we understand many businesses will currently be concerned simply with staying afloat, we at Forge recognise an opportunity to come out the other side of this crisis stronger than ever. This is because of the major changes in consumer behaviour and buying habits that the pandemic is causing. Businesses need to be ready to capitalise.
Adapt to changes in user behaviour
The COVID-19 crisis has already forced striking changes to online behaviour. A recent study suggested that internet traffic may have spiked by as much as 50-70% in developed economies. Meanwhile, Facebook’s messaging apps have seen more than a 50% increase in usage in countries hit hard by the coronavirus. While demand is falling in some particularly badly affected areas such as travel, this greatly expanded digital audience undoubtedly presents opportunities elsewhere.
You need to spot them, and tailor your approach accordingly. A primary goal should be to ensure you’re building relationships as a business that will bear fruit when this crisis eases. Much is still unknown about how consumer behaviour will continue to change, but from what we know so far, here are three potential digital strategies to employ:
Reevaluate who you’re targeting
This recession will affect everyone differently and to differing degrees. It may be the case that the type of customer you currently cater to will become less receptive to your message, or that new prospective customers will now be more receptive. Your job, rather than overhauling your target audience, is to identify new problems that you can solve in your existing market.
Either way, you’ll need a way to define what these new problems are to be able to open these new conversations. Persona research helps build a better picture of your customers’ biggest concerns and should be used to inform the direction and scope of your digital campaigns.
You can build your persona using a wide range of inputs, from internal interviews to market research to analysis of your website. A great place to start when putting a persona together is to ask your sales team about the most common questions or concerns they hear around one particular product or service you offer.
Create and distribute relevant content
With the spike in daytime web usage, it’s more important than ever to attract a section of that audience for your business. Creating content to put in front of your ideal customers is the best way to get eyes on your brand. Thoughtfully considered and well-executed content, be it blog articles, infographics, podcasts, webinars or technical whitepapers, displays your business’ expertise in your field and positions you as a solution to consumers’ problems.
For many businesses, content marketing is the cornerstone of their marketing strategy, and for good reason. Content relevant to the needs of your target customers ensures steady, long-term improvements in the number of people visiting and engaging with your site.
Branch out into digital advertising
The pandemic is forcing many businesses to scale back their ad spend, meaning cost per impression and cost per click prices will continue to fall. These are perfect conditions for businesses with the inclination and capability to start their first paid media campaigns.
Put it this way: internet traffic is up by around 50% or more while advertising on Facebook is down by 20%. These are unprecedented advertising conditions, meaning those with a smart strategy can make big strides quickly.
If these gains are maintained as the recession starts to abate, and even made a permanent fixture, businesses may even find themselves in a stronger position than before. It’s crucial to get a headstart on your competition, who are likely to be hiding throughout the pandemic, and digital advertising could be a profitable area to target.