With the UK lockdown being lifted more and more each day, businesses are starting to plan a return to the office. Many B2B companies have had to make the shift online over the last few months, and are left contemplating the all-important question - now what?
It’s not enough to expect that things will return to normal, and this doesn’t just apply to your office seating plan. Consumers have changed in the last few months, and your marketing needs to adjust in order to appeal to these new buyers. For the first half of 2020, businesses have been focusing on moving their marketing online, reaching a brand new audience, and attempting to stay afloat during a time of great uncertainty, but it’s now time to plan for the future.
We’ve put together some top tips on how you can adapt and improve your marketing in the wake of coronavirus to bring in new leads, sustain company growth, and reach a new wave of buyers that have fundamentally changed the way they purchase.
Invest in your online presence
This is old news in 2020 - with shops and offices closed, and the majority of workers in the UK working from home, the internet has become the only way to retain awareness of your brand. However, as we return to our desks, it’s likely that businesses will revert to old ways, relying on in-person events and traditional outbound marketing methods to gain new leads. This isn’t the right move to make. It’s very likely that trade shows, conferences and even face to face meetings will be cancelled for the foreseeable future, and if you’re counting on these, you could quickly be left behind.
Consumers already do the majority of their buying research online, and methods like cold calling and door-to-door sales have largely become a thing of the past. Shifting back to these methods after relying on online sources is a huge step back for any business - and now is the time to move forward. Reassess your budget and be prepared to consider methods like influencer marketing, PPC, LinkedIn networking and display ads to target more effectively. If you’re concerned about cost, it could be time to spruce up your SEO for better visibility online - we have some tips in our guide.
Strengthen your assets
If you’re experiencing less leads than usual, it can be tempting to resort to desperate tactics in an attempt to bring them in. Cold emails and social media posts are cropping up more frequently, but they’re not always effective. It’s better to take this time to strengthen your assets, particularly your downloadable content and blogs. Really great content is the number one way to attract the kind of customers you want, and strengthening yours creates a relationship with every reader.
Even if this method doesn’t bring you leads in the short term, great content is the key to building trust and engagement with your brand. Consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that they believe in, and your content is often the first impression of your business.
Talk to your customers
Your customers are incredibly important to your business - now more than ever. This is the time to engage with them, and request feedback on your products and services. Good customer service can transform buyers into advocates of your business - and many companies don’t take advantage of this. A recommendation from a friend always holds more weight than a straightforward advertisement, so don’t neglect your customer base at this time.
In addition to this, your customers could be a valuable source of ideas for innovation and future growth - in the coming months, be sure to pay attention to their feedback, issues, and any requests to keep growing your service offering. Your business will be better for it, and you’ll gain more leads as a result, either through word of mouth, or by having a specific USP.
Tell a story
Today’s buyer doesn’t want to be sold to - they want to connect with brands, and to have a personal connection. In the midst of coronavirus, this has become even more clear. The businesses that have used storytelling and empathy in their advertising have been the ones to receive the most praise, and the most success. There’s no point ‘carrying on as normal’ when you reopen and find yourself in a position to be contacting leads. Instead, create content and reference marketing stories that address the crisis - don’t skirt around major issues. In your content, and outreach to leads, be unique, and upfront about the way your industry is responding to crisis, as well as how you’re working to resolve issues as a company.
Building this personal connection with potential clients helps to establish trust, and positions your company as a reputable source of information. Online buyers will remember the companies that made an impact, whether that is through supporting their customers, funding charities, or adapting their service offerings to allow a more agile way of working.
Be prepared for “the new normal”
Plenty of publications are focusing on ‘the new normal’ - the idea that the B2B world will never be the same post-coronavirus. This means more than just putting partitions in your office and washing your hands more - you need to be prepared for the evolving needs of your buyers. They are looking for a personal, human connection - but this connection needs to be virtual. They are looking for a trustworthy and knowledgeable business - but need to know this through content online, not via your best salesperson.
This is the most important time to be restructuring your marketing strategy. The tactics that you used in Q1 just aren’t going to cut it, and as lockdown lifts, you can either keep up with the competition or be left behind. It’s essential to keep building relationships, and to keep creating quality content. To help you adapt and finetune your marketing, we’ve created a marketing planner to help. Download it free below and start planning your efforts for the next few months.