Friday, 14 May 2021 13:25

COVID-19 Changed Marketing for Small Businesses. Here’s How

The pandemic and resulting economic downturn changed just about every aspect of our lives. We hunkered down in March of 2020 thinking quarantine would last only two weeks. Fast forward to the present day, over a year later, and we are still following strict guidelines to slow the spread, despite nearly 50% of American adults having received at least one vaccine dose. As a small business owner, you have undoubtedly been impacted by the pandemic in profound ways. And even with the relief packages, your business may still be struggling, especially in terms of your marketing. Here’s how COVID-19 has changed marketing for small businesses.

Many companies had to undergo a rapid digital transformation 

COVID-19 facilitated a rapid digital transformation for many businesses and brands (large and small). Following stay-at-home orders, “building better digital interfaces” and “transforming go-to-market business models” were the top two opportunities marketers focused on, according to a CMO Survey.

Investing in automation platforms, such as ActiveCampaign, was one effective way businesses improved digital customer communication. 

Delivering helpful and human-focused content became more important than ever before

With all the uncertainty and fear surrounding COVID-19, consumers valued honesty and empathy more than ever before. The businesses that were most successful throughout the pandemic shared human-focused content that spoke to customer values, without feeling too salesy. 

Although many consumers are sick of hearing about COVID-19, they’re still interested in how brands’ products and services can be helpful in this “new normal.”

Brands had to earn the long-term trust of customers

With less discretionary spending for most Americans, consumers became more conscious and intentional about which brands they wanted to support. Businesses that earned the most trust often provided timely, accessible information that addressed customers’ most pressing needs. By creating educational-focused content, consumers began to think of these companies as thought leaders and reliable sources for answers to common questions. 

Some businesses also offered promotions or payment plans to account for the financial struggles many people faced.

Online sales skyrocketed

COVID-19 forced the closure of many retail stores, restaurants, and bars. As a result, consumer spending habits changed drastically and online sales skyrocketed in the pandemic. In fact, consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S.-based retailers in 2020, a 44% increase from the previous year (Digital Commerce 360).

Marketers prioritized low-risk strategies 

Pre-pandemic, many businesses and brands were focused on market penetration and customer acquisition. However, smaller budgets during the pandemic required a shift in strategy. Customer retention became the focus of many advertising campaigns. Not only are those types of campaigns lower risk, but it also costs approximately 5 times less to market to existing customers compared to attracting a new consumer (Outbound Engine). 

Learn more about marketing for small businesses 

If you’re interested in learning more about marketing for small businesses, reach out to us today at Real FiG Advertising + Marketing. We specialize in digital and traditional marketing strategies for small- and medium-sized companies.

We’ll take the time to accurately identify your target audience, understand how COVID-19 impacted your business, and create a customized strategy to help your company navigate marketing post-pandemic.

Contact us today to learn more.