6 Reasons Why Digital Marketing is Important During the Pandemic
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are scrambling to pivot their strategies to adjust to changing consumer behaviors, trends, and needs; and digital marketing is the rising star for business pandemic survival.
While many businesses are scouring their books for ways to cut costs to offset a loss in revenue this year, it’s easy to consider reducing marketing and advertising — but savvy companies are realizing that the digital marketing budget is one of the last areas businesses should cut during the pandemic.
Limiting or foregoing digital marketing efforts at a time like this may actually further handicap a business that is seeing a drop in new customers, repeat purchases, or customer loyalty. In fact, for many industries, the pandemic has created an opportune moment to invest more in digital marketing, especially if your business has leaned more on traditional marketing in the past.
Here are six reasons why focusing on digital marketing is important for your business’ health during the pandemic.
1. Consumers are Spending More Time Online Than Ever
The goal of marketing is to get your brand’s name and message in front of relevant consumers; and that means going where your consumers spend their time.
With the pandemic keeping most of us at home for work, school, and leisure, people are spending more time online than ever. You’ll find fewer people viewing your billboard, window placement, or hearing your ad spot on the radio; and instead, those eyes will be directed at a screen, whether working online, streaming content, or browsing social media platforms.
Digital marketing strategies place you right there with your audience — via ads on the websites they visit daily, branded social media content that appears in their feeds, and search engine optimization (SEO) practices that place your website front and center when they’re doing online research.
During the pandemic, your brand won’t remain top of mind without an online presence. And with more brands ramping up their digital presence, you’ll need a strong digital marketing strategy in order to stand out amid the crowd.
2. Consumer Shopping Behavior is Changing
With high levels of unemployment and many families operating with a reduced income, consumers are more financially conservative during the pandemic. We are also seeing a significant drop in visits to brick-and-mortar businesses, due to stay-at-home guidelines.
This doesn’t mean that consumers won’t spend dollars at your business. It simply means that you must pivot your messaging to speak to their current needs, concerns, and behaviors.
Consumers are looking to save costs where they can, and may turn away from brand loyalty in favor of competitive pricing. There are two sides to this coin: while you may lose a handful of long-term customers, you also have an opportunity to market your business to acquire new customers — who may, for the first time in a while, be looking for alternatives to their usual vendors.
Expect consumers to be doing online research before making a purchase, to compare brands for quality, service, and price. Digital marketing practices allow you to capitalize on the online research stage of the buyer’s journey, by implementing paid and organic strategies to help your website rank in online searches and get digital ads in front of the right eyes at the right time.
3. You Can Gain Access to More Consumer Data
Digital marketing, by its very nature, provides your business with a wealth of data about your target consumers. You can track and measure which of your online ads people click on the most; what times of day your ads perform best; on which days of the week consumers open your marketing emails; and much more. This allows you to gain deeper insights into your audience’s habits and preferences when it comes to interacting with your business.
Digital marketing will help you to understand your consumers’ current habits, how their behaviors have changed (or not) during the pandemic, and their current interests and challenges. You can leverage these insights to personalize your marketing, advertising, and customer service to best meet your audience’s needs right now.
4. You Need to Be Adaptable Amid Changing Circumstances
During a pandemic, consumer emotions, concerns, and life circumstances change week to week — and that means businesses must be able to pivot quickly to survive in the ever-fluctuating landscape.
While print and other traditional marketing campaigns are planned far in advance and difficult to shift once they’re set, digital marketing is relatively easy to adjust. Digital marketing can be monitored on a daily basis, as most data is gathered in real-time, enabling you to keep up with changes as they occur. With all campaign resources organized online, you can pivot your digital marketing strategy on a dime if needed.
This is particularly important during a pandemic, where an ad that may be relevant one week could quickly seem insensitive or out-of-touch the following week. Being able to adapt quickly gives you a major competitive advantage, allowing you to show your audience that you are in touch with their current concerns and needs during unpredictable times.
5. Digital Marketing Provides an Opportunity to Get an Edge on Your Competition
Some businesses are recognizing the growth potential of a strong online presence during the pandemic, but others are significantly cutting their marketing and advertising spend in an effort to make ends meet. The competitive advantages that digital marketing provides are multiplied if your competitors are lagging in their digital presence.
As Warren Buffet famously advised, it is wise to “be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.” At a time when your competitors may be pulling back on marketing and digital promotion due to fear, you have a golden opportunity to lean into your digital marketing strategy to be there when your consumers are looking. A strong digital presence shows your audience that your business is present, connected, and ready to help during this difficult time.
6. You Will Set Yourself Up for Future Success Post-Pandemic
Digital marketing is the way of the future. The current pandemic presents a host of good reasons to invest in digital marketing immediately — but even better, the digital strategies you put in place now will pay off in both the short and long term.
The post-pandemic landscape is likely to feature more business taking place online, higher demand for shopping experiences that are accessible from the convenience of home, and increased time spent on the internet and social media platforms for both work and fun.
The businesses who aren’t investing in digital marketing and fine-tuning their practices now will find themselves trailing behind the pack in the aftermath of the pandemic. If you haven’t already started, now is the time to invest in digital marketing to help your business not only survive through a difficult pandemic but thrive in the future landscape that follows.