Marketing In a Post-Covid World

 

Many things have changed since Covid-19, but what have remained constant are the fundamentals of marketing. While marketing strategies might have evolved, the goal has not. The purpose of marketing is to educate and convince your audience to purchase or utilize your products and services. You still need to find and examine how your target audience is interacting with the various online platforms available to them and then invest in the channels that are right for your company. And….you still need to show value and offer your customers a solution.

How to Market Taking A Stand

Sometimes the solution is taking a stand for causes that are important to your customers. The idea of brands supporting different causes certainly wasn’t a new concept pre Covid-19, but that strategy hasn’t drawn as much attention in the past as it is now. Last year we saw hundreds of companies and brands take a stand for racial equality, diversity, and inclusion, along with implementing new green practices and sustainability. Nowadays, consumers expect their favorite brands to become more socially responsible, and it will become even more common, as time goes on.

So, what does taking a stand look like in terms of marketing? Take LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for example. Early on in the pandemic, this company switched from making perfumes and cosmetics to focus on producing hand sanitizer for Parisian hospitals. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton also donated 40 million masks to frontline health workers. This switch not only incited love from their current customers, but they also gained an entirely new set of customers, who had reexamined their opinion about the luxury company.

“Helping Hands” for E-commerce Marketing

E-commerce’s popularity has significantly increased with consumers ever since quarantine, and it make sense. People are still being cautious due to Covid concerns, and even when they begin to feel safe shopping in stores again, the e-commerce trend isn’t going to slow down. According to the 13 countries that were surveyed by McKinsey, 65% of people stated they have tried and will continue to shop online.

Marketing for e-commerce requires specific digital marketing tactics and strategies in order for you to achieve the best possible results. Some of these tactics have been around for a while like SEO, product reviews, content and social media marketing, and other digital marketing strategies.

However, with consumers shopping e-commerce now more than ever, these original marketing tactics may need a “helping hand”. These could be anything from adding a “buy” button to your social media posts, more detail to your Google shopping information, a more streamlined landing page experience and more.

How to Stay Customer-Centric

During the world-wide pandemic, consumers have been looking for comfort and understanding from the brands that they are loyal to. In order for brands to earn and keep consumers’ loyalty, they will need to walk the talk, not just talk the talk.

What does this mean? For some brands it means stepping up their personalized marketing strategies, offering AI programs that solve consumer problems quickly and effectively, or offering personal shopping sessions online or in store. For others it means offering timely blogs and vlogs speaking to consumers’ pressing needs, or having an educational landing page that is about specific topics they want to know more about.

Another strategy that could help to keep your audience loyal is to provide them with case studies or whitepapers. These allow them to see your success and help make a compelling case for why they should choose your product or service.

Now is the time to reacquaint yourself with your audiences’ needs, goals, and interests as well as explore new marketing opportunities. 360 Direct can assist you with developing a strategy to fit your audiences’ needs, and your business goals. Contact a team member today!


Online Reviews Do What?

 

Online reviews have become an important way of communication between the clients and the business. These ratings help show store owners the areas of their business where they are providing great service, or where they may need some improvement. Online ratings are also a way for buyers to promote products and services to fellow shoppers — as long as brands take the time to manage customer concerns and feedback.  

The Pros and Cons of Online Reviews  

Customers are always online searching for the best deals before deciding to click “add to cart”, and with all of the latest technology at their fingertips, it’s easy for them to find that information. 90% of customers say that they read online reviews before deciding where they will take their business 

The top platforms used by consumers today for product/service research are Google, Yelp, Glassdoor, and Facebook. Online reviews can have a great impact on your business, both positive and negative. When your company receives positive reviews, they indicate that your organization is reputable and these can help influence the consumer to purchase your products or services. Conversely, 94% of online customers have stated that a negative review will influence them to take their business elsewhere. 

How to Handle Negative Online Reviews 

Unfortunately, negative reviews are a part of life. Regardless of whether it’s a major company or a local establishment, some people are not going to be satisfied with the products or services they receive. However, the way you handle negative feedback is of the utmost importance.  

First, do not let negative reviews go unanswered. Acknowledge the issue a customer has and apologize for any inconvenience. This response shows that you genuinely care about your customers’ experiences and want to make it right. You might even be able to change that negative review into a positive one!  

Another tip? Don’t get defensive. Instead, promote your business in a tactful way without sounding condescending to the customer. By responding positively, you are allowing the customer to feel that their grievances have been heard. When you reply to a negative review, be authentic and personal. This will show how sincere you are. Also, provide your name and a way to contact you directly, so the customer doesn’t feel their complaint isn’t being generally dismissed 

Finally, don’t let them draw you into an online battle. The best thing you can do with a negative review is to learn from it. Use it to look into your products or services to see if there are any improvements that can be made or if the review was detailing an isolated experience.  

How Online Reviews Impact SEO 

Many times reputation management is overlooked or it’s the last thing to be reviewed when trying to increase SEO. However, Google uses online reviews to validate your business to consumers. Ratings send Google a signal showing positive interactions customers have had with your company. Even negative ratings help by showing how problems were resolved.  

Online reviews can even help boost your conversions. Positive ratings let potential customers see that your business promotes customer loyalty and trust, which often sways them into purchasing products and services. While helping to increase conversions, ratings can also help search engines understand your brand better, which can allow you to achieve greater website visibility. When a potential customer searches for products or services you offer, Google may show them your ads, increasing brand awareness.  

While it can be scary to ask for reviews, they can help funnel consumers to your website without having to spend extra time and money.  

Need a hand setting up a place for reviews? 360 Direct can help! Contact one of our team members today. 


Are your customers falling off the ladder?

Are Your Customers Falling off the Ladder?

Are your customers falling off the ladder?

Are Your Customers Falling Off the Ladder? Every business owner must ask this critical question regularly.  Your customer loyalty ladder profile can say a lot about the health of your business.  One of the primary reasons small businesses and startups fail is a lack of marketing activities directed at customer loyalty.  This failure rate is exaggerated during a struggling economy as customers hunker down with the businesses that they already have established a solid relationship with.  This customer ladder is the path your customers take from the first moment they hear about your business to the final level of interaction in which they choose to engage your business.

Beyond just looking at how customers fit into your ladder we need to look at how your budget is allocated across it.  Where in the ladder will we obtain the greatest return on investment (ROI)? Various experts have identified several different versions of this ladder, some with 5 rungs and some with a few more depending on the level of granularity desired to describe the customer.  Take a close look at your customers and identify what percentage of your sales comes from each of the following classifications.  Then look at where you spend your marketing dollars.

The Suspect – a person or business that has heard or been exposed to your business or advertising.

The Prospect – a person or business that has responded by showing interest in your message.  We can add granularity by identifying a rung for those who merely showing interest from those who are beginning to negotiate how they want to buy.  These would be your buyers or shoppers.

The Customer – a person or business that has purchased your goods or services once.

The Client or Member – a person or business that has made multiple purchases.  These are your loyal customers.

The Advocate – a person or business that refers prospects to your business.  Let us note that a referral will skip the expense of moving from the suspect rung to prospect.  The cost of moving a referral from prospect to customer is significantly lower than new prospects coming through your suspect phase.

The Raving Fan – a person or business that can’t help themselves from selling your goods or  services for you.  An advocate will make referrals but a raving fan is part of your team. A healthy business will spend 30 percent of their marketing dollars on activities that move customers up to the top portion of the ladder.  They will spend 70 percent of their marketing dollars on advertising seeking new customers.  Many struggling businesses I have come into contact with are allocating their marketing dollars in a 5/95 split, consuming most of their budget frantically seeking new customers.  They need this because they are losing customers after a single purchase.  Their customers are falling off the ladder.  They have made a critical mistake of not building a relationship with the customer to increase their loyalty. To bring a suspect up your ladder to the customer level through traditional advertising can cost four times the expense of attracting a repeat customer.  In addition it can take 30 to 50 times the advertising dollars to bring a suspect up to the customer level versus having an advocate refer the prospect. This illustration depicts just how important it is to never lose sight of marketing to your existing customer base.  Loyal customers can be your anchor through the ebbs and flows of a business cycle, and the passion of advocates and raving fans can be more effective than an in-house sales team at bringing highly qualified prospects to your business, all due to the power of a referral.