Across the U.S. the economy is reopening, but what the new normal will look like is mostly unknown. Business owners are taking bold steps and making decisive decisions to determine what comes next for their company.
Retaining and acquiring customers now is crucial in defining what your business looks like six months to five years from now. So, what marketing strategies should you employ to foster brand loyalty among existing customers and draw in new ones?
COVID-19 has changed the way we communicate with customers, from the channels we use to reach them to the information we share. As brands shift focus on what’s next, existing customers should still be the number one priority as they’re the best source of revenue now and going forward. What is trickier will be building relationships with new audiences.
With a critical eye on spending, many brands are leaning on simple, effective and timely marketing campaigns. The good news? This is exactly what you should be doing. Understanding which marketing channels give the biggest bang for the buck can go a long way.
Here are a 3 easy marketing strategies that will help your business now:
Email Marketing Communicates Beyond Promotions
Communicating with customers is more important than ever and email is a crucial tool for this. Providing a hyper-personalized email experience has allowed brands to tailor messages that empathize with consumers. Eighty-three percent of consumers responding to a recent survey said they want compassionate connection, including brand messaging that communicates empathy and support with the struggles they face.
In fact, average open rates for email were up across the board for March and April, despite the rise in send volume. As business begin to reopen physical locations, email will be an important tool to keep shoppers informed on health and safety practices, modifications for the in-store experience and convenient options like BOPIS and curbside pickup.
There’s no ideal cadence for email marketing during this time, but brands should use their best judgement and keep an eye on engagement metrics. It’s important to remember it’s no longer “business as usual,” so every email campaign should be tailored based on the current environment. It’s ultimately up to you to set the tone of the message and what and when to communicate.
Tap into VIP Customers Through SMS Marketing
As consumers get fatigued from email, SMS marketing services can be an alternative for reaching VIP customers that have already had a positive experience with your brand. It’s much more intimate than email and enables you to connect with customers on a personal level.
SMS marketing is being utilized increasingly by marketers, as 68% of businesses use some form of texting today and consumers increasingly opt to receive texts vs. emails. As you update brand messaging and build out a VIP list, focus on growing that segment once identified and reward them with timely, valuable and customized messages.
With a 160-character limit that includes website URLs and mandatory unsubscribe language, it’s best to lead with an offer and reinforce a call to action without wasting words. To be most effective, SMS messages have to drive direct value. Open rates for SMS text may be very high but it’s also easy for shoppers to opt out if messaging misses the mark. Don’t be afraid to strengthen your campaign with multimedia, email and social as a follow through.
Make the Most of What You Have
In the absence of store experiences, brands can expand on digital practices in their marketing strategies. Depending on your industry or business segment, it can be hard to keep budgets flat. If you’re in that position, now is the time to double down on current digital marketing initiatives. Consumers are at home, likely digesting more information than usual through their phones, TVs, laptops and tablets. This is a good thing for brands because new and creative strategies aren’t necessarily warranted. Make the most of the channels you have by ensuring your message stands out.
Reassess your digital marketing efforts and identify your most valuable channels, and put time and effort behind communicating quality messages through them. But remember that diversification is still key – you don’t need to bombard consumers through a single medium. The most effective marketing strategy will leverage a combination of traditional methods as well as email, SMS and social media. These platforms will help keep shoppers engaged and translate to more sales opportunities when used effectively.
The Bottom Line
Change is happening fast and marketing to shoppers has become more complex than ever. But simplicity is key with your marketing strategies. Revisiting the basics can help open up more immediate opportunities for engagement with old and new customers and drive future success.
Ranga Bodla is VP, Industry Marketing for Oracle NetSuite