The COVID-19 pandemic has led to worldwide lockdowns resulting in economic losses across the globe. However, one thing that still looks strong and stable is the Internet, which has been a savior for many businesses, big and small. The Internet and better connectivity have enabled these businesses to use digital marketing in times of COVID-19.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is nothing but channelizing marketing efforts through electronic media or the Internet. Businesses use digital channels like social media, search engines, emails, or other websites to connect with prospective and existing customers.
The Current Market Scenario
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of things have changed. Firstly, buying and spending patterns have changed. Several brands have put a pause on most of their activities. There is apprehension among the people, small businesses, big companies, and start-ups too. Along with restrictions on events, trade-fairs, and any public gatherings, people also refrain from moving out now. They fear socializing, going out to public places; they tend to self-isolate themselves and rely more on the digital platform for almost everything.
According to statistics, 89% of Indian consumer prefers shopping online. A vast majority of consumers spend almost 90% of their workday with gadgets. Some of the key activities include video calling, using social media, and messaging, all with the use of mobile devices. Also, consumers find it better to use mobile apps from brands in comparison to everyday browsing.
The Way Forward
Companies should be looking at the bigger picture of improvising on their digital marketing strategies to continue to move ahead. If you are not leveraging on digital platforms yet, it is still not too late. Every business should start focusing on digital media to market its products or services, to reach out to its consumers, to stay connected with the buyers, and to not just survive but lead in the game. The key is to convert these challenges into opportunities and keep moving forward – be resilient in approach.
For example, Hamdard India has taken a step forward in digital marketing. Hamdard, home to products like RoohAfzah, Safi, Chyawanprash, Sualin to name a few, has been around for 113 years. It has 550 employees. With zero layoffs and no salary cuts, Hamdard India has revamped its marketing strategies and will continue to do so based on consumer behavior. Marketing spends now see a larger chunk put into digital or social media marketing. Influencer marketing and user-generated content seem to be driving more engagement and brand salience in consumers.
Adapting to changing times, big and small companies rely on creating new channels on digital platforms to foster customer relationships. Some of the focus areas include social media, website, SEO, video, and content marketing.
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How Exactly Will Digital Marketing Benefit Companies?
1) It helps build a lasting customer relationship
Engaging with customers on social media channels once they buy your product will keep your products or services on their minds and bring them back to you for a second purchase, and more. Also, using testimonials from happy customers helps spread word of mouth. These can be shared on the company’s website and social pages. Personalized messaging, a thank you note, email campaigns will help reach out to a broader audience at a lower cost. You can always remarket and retarget to have your customers try new products or services that complement their previous purchase.
2) It offers a multi-channel offer to reach out to consumers better
With consumers using so many social media channels, they can be found online on any platform. Facebook and Google ads, social media marketing, SEO, email marketing are some of the digital marketing channels to reach out to the audience. Every channel needs a different approach, a different strategy to bring in more audience.
3) Digital marketing is more affordable than traditional means
Compared to the regular advertising options, trade shows, and events, the modes of digital marketing like email marketing or social media marketing are way cheaper. They may also come free of cost. Say, for instance, a free Google My Business profile can
- Boost your SEO search visibility.
- Increase the traffic to your page.
- Positive Google My Business reviews help improve a business’s online reputation, free-of-charge.
In comparison to traffic driven by paid campaigns, free and organic search still dominates a large share of web traffic.
4) It offers a measurable ROI
Digital marketing offers credible ways to measure what’s working and what’s not, and how so. The ROI metrics like the number of people visiting your page, those engaging with your products/services, the ones making a purchase, can be tracked with Google Analytics.
5) The competition is already using digital marketing
Start by checking what your competition is doing on social media, its website, and other online channels. Do they have a blog, what are they publishing on Facebook and Instagram, any ad campaigns they are currently running or previously did, etc. Check for this necessary information, check for the source of traffic, see if they use paid search ads. Taking note of your findings will help you start with your digital marketing campaign.
A company can still benefit without its physical presence in the market space. It can continue to foster a relationship with the digital medium to reach out to its audience. Keeping track of consumer behavior in these changing times will help businesses develop a suitable plan of action to retain their brand presence. Looking after customer needs and responding to them in a more personalized manner, keeping in view the new personal restrictions, is crucial.
So, let’s see some strategies that companies can adopt to win the digital marketing space.
Essential Digital Marketing Strategies
1. Redefine business goals.
If your business or brand requires a change in its marketing budgets, does it request moving customers from physical to digital platforms, is the bandwidth to do so available and so on.
2. Ensure valuable and relevant communication only.
3. Make use of online platforms to reach out to consumers.
Share experiences of happy customers, offer product recommendations, opt for measures to involve the customers more with the brand.
4. Run a check on your inbound marketing activities.
For instance, check your websites, videos, chatbots, and brochures. Also, see if people can easily find your business through search engines.
5. Analyze and measure.
With the ongoing pandemic, new search trends will emerge every day. Data analysis becomes vital to see what consumers prefer, what pages they visit, searches they perform. Every marketing content and effort works on these parameters. With so many tools and insights available, it is easier to identify what customers need and respond to them with a small personal touch.
Customers, no doubt, will stay away physically, but this is when they can gel with brands much better, digitally.
Some of these digital marketing trends are worth focusing on in 2020 during COVID-19 and beyond. They are interactive content, augmented reality, and virtual reality (AR & VR) to increase customer engagement, SEO, social commerce, and Google ads.
So, the wait is over. 2020 is the year when digital marketing seems to have gained momentum; it will keep getting more robust with the coming years.
To sum up, we have to adapt ourselves to the “New Normal” and be ready to do better by leveraging on the strengths of digital marketing.
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