The coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every economy in the world, and there aren’t many businesses that haven’t yet felt the sting of a loss in customers and revenue. However, in order to recoup these losses, businesses need to be ready to bounce back.
At the beginning of the UK lockdown, many businesses had to adjust to the new normal, and focus on crisis management - which, for many led to a cease in spend across marketing and advertising.
This has created issues for many businesses; by reducing their marketing efforts, many have failed to build brand awareness and credibility with their target audience during the lockdown. This means that as the pandemic slows down and life returns to ‘normal’, some businesses haven’t engaged with prospects at the beginning of their buyers journey; therefore, they'll struggle post COVID-19, when consumers are likely to be much more skeptical of where they make their purchases.
So, this leaves many businesses in a tricky position. If you haven’t been investing in your marketing during this time, it will be difficult to re-engage prospects and even customers further down the line. Luckily, we have some tips for how to better engage with your prospects after COVID-19.
Revisit your buyer personas
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that your business has undergone change in the past few months. However, just as your business may have radically changed, so have your customers.
According to Google trends and research surrounding paid advertising, consumers have new concerns, and search intent has changed drastically. This means that while your buyer personas may have been accurate pre COVID-19, there’s no guarantee that they will be now. For example, your ideal customers’ job role may have changed, or they may now be looking for solutions that are cheaper than your product or service. In order to better engage your target prospects after COVID-19, you need to re-evaluate the new challenges, needs and goals they now have, and update your personas to match.
This way, your marketing will be relevant, better focused and more likely to resonate with your target audience. By not updating your buyer personas, you risk becoming out of touch with your customer base - which will be detrimental to business post COVID-19.
Re-work your sales funnel to match your personas
Just like your buyer personas, your sales funnel is likely to have changed, meaning you have to re-work it to match the new buyer's journey. This doesn’t mean complete overhaul - you may just have to take a more holistic, purpose-driven approach to attract and retain future customers. Your funnel should still remain roughly the same, just with a slightly different focus at each stage:
This is the stage where you should be building brand awareness and creating material that helps your prospective customers before they’re even aware of your product or service. This stage is absolutely essential, as it’s where prospects will begin to notice your business as a potential solution to their problem. Any marketing strategies used at this stage should be focused on getting your prospects to remember you - whether it’s done through helpful content on your website, or a well thought out social media campaign.
As always, content is top of our list on what you need to be doing to market your business; however, for businesses trying to re-engage prospects, it’s even more important. Particularly if your business has changed in the current circumstances, you’ll need to use content to communicate new messaging and ideas to your target audience. Additionally, you should remove content that is no longer relevant in the new “normal”, or consider reworking it to meet new customer needs.
Now more than ever, actually listening to your prospects is key. So, beyond using social media channels to spread your message and promote your product or service, pay attention to what potential customers are doing and saying on the platforms, and use it to further inform your marketing. Analysing and reporting on what your customers want from you will prove invaluable in the coming months.
This is when your prospects will begin to consider your business as a viable solution to their problem. Value and credibility in particular will be extremely important at this stage; as post COVID-19, it’s very likely that consumers will be interested in your company’s morals and values just as much as your product or service. In order to convert your leads into customers, you’ll have to demonstrate value very early on into the sales process, educate them throughout their buyers journey, and provide evidence why your offering is the best for them.
TIP: Qualify the leads you do get: in times of uncertainty, it can be tempting for salespeople to put all of their energy into every lead that comes through their pipeline - but this isn’t a good tactic to actually convert them. Focus your time and efforts on leads that meet your criteria, and that have a higher chance of actually closing. Don’t chase leads that aren’t going to lead anywhere.
Conversion / decision
This is the stage where leads convert and become customers, and where you can provide proof that attempts to re-engage prospects have worked. However, this stage will become absolutely crucial in the coming months, as it will no longer be enough to simply secure a sale. Your customers will expect more from you in terms of support - so be sure that your sales, marketing and customer service teams are prepared for this inevitable shift.
Once you’ve re-evaluated your sales funnel, you better equip yourself with the tools needed to better engage your prospects. But how?
Better engage prospects with inbound marketing
For marketers, evaluating your current messages to see what is still valid for your customers is essential. Once you have updated your buyer personas, your sales funnel and your messaging, your priority will be communicating with your prospects to redefine your position in the market.
This may mean adopting a whole new way of marketing - and inbound marketing may be the way to go. Inbound marketing guides your buyers through their journey up until making a purchase, using strategies such as content, social media, SEO, paid advertising and many more to get your business heard above the noise.
It’s a more holistic, human approach to marketing; where businesses can establish a real connection with consumers and earn their trust.
Inbound marketing allows your business to provide value for your prospects at each stage of their buyers journey - from when they first see your post on social media, right through to them making a purchase. For businesses wanting to better engage with their prospects after COVID-19, inbound marketing is the way forward.
That’s why we created our inbound marketing planner, which offers guidance to businesses looking to better engage with their prospects as we adjust to the new ‘normal’. It offers strategic advice on how to get started with inbound quickly and efficiently, so you can start seeing results right away.