Despite the drive to return to normal, our way of life — from the way we shop to the way we do business — seems to have changed permanently as a result of COVID-19. Thanks to new remote work trends, a boom in e-commerce, and increasingly higher customer experience standards, the impact of the pandemic goes well beyond how we get our daily latte to the solutions we choose for our business. For B2B business owners, this likely means your target audience is not only showing up online more, but they also have new needs and expectations.
And it also means you’re going to need a new post-pandemic marketing strategy if you intend to continue to win their business. Here are five ideas as you plan your B2B marketing efforts for the “new normal” workplace.
1. Understand Your Customers’ New Needs
Nearly all businesses have been affected in some way by COVID-19, and more often than not, in multiple ways. Perhaps they’ve had to adopt contactless solutions or adjust to a hybrid work environment. A fundamental task for B2B marketers is to find out exactly how their target audience has been impacted and what their new needs are.
Invest in market research, or if your budget is small, consider emailing Google surveys or having your customer associates conduct phone surveys with existing customers. Once you’ve uncovered your audience’s new needs, you can rework your marketing strategy and messaging accordingly.
2. Grow Your LinkedIn Social Selling
With Americans spending more time online, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn has reported more conversations happening than ever. Beyond paid advertising, B2B brands can use LinkedIn as a tool for lead generation by getting in front of and connecting with key decision makers. Here are some tips for effective social selling on LinkedIn from the communication experts at 4PSA:
- Make sure you reach the right decision-makers: Read through job descriptions and work histories to make sure you’re targeting the appropriate contacts.
- Look for unexpected connections: Using advanced search features, find things in common with leads, from your hometowns to the organizations you volunteer for, to build rapport.
- Include an actionable call to action: Make sure your call to action is clear, specific, and reasonable given the time constraints of your potential clients.
- Remember to follow up: Don’t hesitate to reach out multiple times if you have to; you’re not only jogging your lead’s memory but showing them you’re serious about connecting with them.
3. Create a Website Experience That Wows
As a result of pandemic shopping habits and the increasingly sophisticated expectations of users, businesses can no longer afford to offer a less than exceptional web experience. Set aside time and money this year to evaluate the usability of your website.
What improvements can you make as you enter the post-pandemic world? This could mean improving your checkout process or adding chat options for customer care. Adding or improving even just a couple of features could mean the difference between users choosing your business over your competitors’ in the increasingly competitive digital landscape.
4. Invest More in Video Marketing
With consumers demanding a superior end-to-end online retail experience, marketers have more incentive than ever to grow their video channels: According to the 2021 State of Marketing Report by Wyzowl, around 40 percent of marketers say their video marketing plans have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Of these respondents, 74 percent report the pandemic made them more likely to use video.
Consider adding to your video arsenal product demonstrations, testimonials from existing clients, user tutorials, and videos that answer frequently asked questions with visual demonstrations. Even just a handful of videos can increase engagement and conversion and help you differentiate your business from competitors.
5. Go the Extra Mile with Virtual Events and Webinars
With post-pandemic travel trends hard to predict, it’s wise to continue to invest in the virtual events you hosted during the pandemic. But with more and more businesses growing their virtual event offerings, be prepared to take the quality up a notch to stand out.
Markletic offers a few tips for creating more engaging virtual events, including:
- Live and pre-event polling: This allows you to tailor your content to your audience’s needs, thereby increasing engagement.
- Hiring entertainment: In the virtual world, sketch artists and magicians can be great options.
- Virtual event bags: Send out packages before your event with items relevant to your content.
- Providing interaction capabilities: Integrate breakout sessions or one-on-one meetings, which allow attendees to connect with each other.
Always Be Evolving
One of the blessings of COVID-19 has been that it forced businesses to adapt to change quickly — and it looks like this skill will continue to be important as the market continues to evolve after the pandemic. After all, we’re likely to see the effects of the coronavirus for years to come. As long as B2B businesses continue to invest in enhancing their marketing efforts and customer experiences, they are likely to see growth in their post-pandemic bottom line.
Jesse Relkin is the founder and CEO of C-POP Content Marketing. She has been a freelance writer and content marketing professional for more than a decade, with experience in content strategy, SEO, social media, PR, and more. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.