This article is part of our contributor series and originally ran here.
The times of uncertainty are not easy for all of us. But they give us a boost to move forward and evolve the businesses we are managing. In this article, I'll share some 2020 digital marketing trends, which, hopefully, will help you market your brand more effectively in times of the downturn.
People Are Rethinking Their Values
The global economy has recently experienced a triple attack caused by rising gas prices, sudden inflation, and a current recession. This economic storm makes people rethink their values. Today, we view everyday things in a different light. We try to filter what we shouldn't think about now and focus only on the most important things.
People are fed up with a bare and obvious promotion, they just need solutions to their problems. If they could probably watch one or two irrelevant ads in their Facebook feed earlier, they will block them today (and you're lucky if they don't write angry comments under your ads or on your business page). It doesn't mean that people have become more aggressive but that they become more decisive, understand what they really need, and try to give up things distracting them from primary goals.
Brands should research the arising customer needs, deliver on them, and bring as much value as possible. These practices can be helpful.
Listen to Your Target Audience and Research Their New Needs
Brand marketing must react to the changes experienced by a target audience. The fastest and easiest way to define your actual customer needs is to investigate what your target audience is saying about your brand and industry-related topics on social media.
Like the heart is bringing the blood via dozens of veins and arteries, social media is spreading the information via multiple channels and user discussions across the whole web at the wind speed.
Social networks are huge sources of information, as well as the most vulnerable areas for a brand reputation. It is the first place where customers share their needs, experiences, product reviews, and negative comments. In the digital era, companies must stay connected with their customers on social media, on the one hand, and monitor how they react to new initiatives, on the other hand. There are a lot of social media listening tools that can help you track brand mentions and see what people are the most anxious about right now.
Continually monitor your brand's heartbeat on social media to be able to react to a crisis immediately.
Be loyal to your customers to gain their loyalty
Today, making sales and discounts will not harm your revenue, but, on the contrary, they can result in fast-growing customer loyalty, brand awareness, and higher conversion rates.
Make steps toward more human interaction with your customers. You can notify people that your brand answers the current Coronavirus recession by making special offers, discounts, and holding special measures aimed to improve consumer experience with your brand. You can spread your company's news by running email campaigns, using digital advertising, publishing articles on your blog, or simply posting updates on business profiles on social media.
If your company has its own mobile app, then it can be helpful if you inform users by sending them in-app notifications about the news. In general, a mobile app adds value to a business. Besides social media, it seems to be another effective channel for communication with your customers and increasing audience engagement.
Being loyal to your customers, you will grow their loyalty to you. It will help you improve a brand reputation, increase customer retention, and convert more sales.
Optimize your brand messaging to the new customer goals and needs
Businesses should adapt to new challenges in 2020. It is high time to rethink your company's values and make them align with the customers' goals. You can get a better understanding of your audience by listening to it on social media, conducting short surveys on your website, or sending them via email.
Armed with these invaluable target audience insights, you can optimize your brand messaging for the consumer's reality. Adjust your content on the company's blog and social media profiles to the topics that are now the most relevant to your people. You can publish guides, how-tos, myth debunkers that will help solve real user problems. And don't forget about adding a pinch of fun to your content. Cheer your audience up and motivate them to move forward in this tough period.
People Feel More Anxiety and Stress Than Earlier
The downturn influences the life of each and everyone, and most often — not positively. It leads to increased psychological tension, concerns, and anxiety about the future among your potential consumers. Brands must understand it and conduct some measures aimed to soothe the customer's psychological discomfort and eliminate negative experience with a brand.
Humanize your brand voice
A lot of people are stuck at home. Many of them lost their jobs. Someone's business is struggling. In these challenging times, companies should rethink their messaging and fill it with understanding and empathy. They should humanize a brand voice in the media.
You can start by optimizing your social media content. The truth lives in balance: your posts shouldn't be tone-deaf, but it also doesn't mean they should be filled with doom and gloom. Brands must be seeking how they can help their people rather than pitch anything now.
Are you inspirational? You can share quotes and videos that raise the spirit and help us get motivated to overcome all challenges together. You can also post funny GIFs and memes because we need a laugh these days too. Try to be more "human."
Apply crisis management basics
We shouldn't be the crisis management pros, but we must be aware of some essentials to solve some of the brand's most crucial issues. These days, it's critical to invest more resources and effort into quality customer support. Now, consumers need your help and assistance as never before. The hardships caused by the Coronavirus recession make us feel more stressed. Providing timely and professional support, your brand can prevent not only negative customer emotions and eliminate stress but also drive the audience's loyalty to a brand.
It's also recommended to continually monitor your brand reputation in the media, including social networks, news sites, forums, blogs, magazines, etc. Social media listening tools mentioned above will help you detect negative mentions and estimate the user sentiment. It will help you stay informed about the spots of negative comments that require your special attention and troubleshooting skills to save a brand reputation.
Try to communicate with your customers openly and update them about all the changes. The fastest way to deliver information to people is by making an announcement and updating status on your social media profile. You should also provide official information about the changes on your company's website.
Use positive visuals and reduce cognitive load
We are visual creatures. We often prefer products that look nicer. We feel calm when watching the sunset or the night sky. And we're often allured by our eyes because we trust in what we see. A visual part of brand image and messaging can be more influential than you might imagine.
Smart brands apply principles of color psychology and cyberpsychology to create visual user experiences that help eliminate the audience's negative emotions and set a more positive mood. It seems to be a little investment in your online brand image but it can be a game-changer when it comes to massive advertising campaigns or the company's official announcements in critical situations.
Another tip is preventing cognitive overload. No matter whether it is your website content, social media post, or tutorial on how to use your product — you should deliver your message concisely and laconically, without unnecessary details. Try to transfer a brand message to users as clearly as possible. Create intuitive customer experiences that don't make people overthink. It will help you optimize customer cognitive load.
People trust brands that deliver Helpful Content
Not sell but help
You just need to step into your customer shoes to understand what they need. When you do it you will likely feel that they need to solve their issues in the easiest and most effective way possible. Try to give it to customers. The “unsalesy” promotion works best today. It means that you should think of how you can help people with the content you share. They appreciate the value you deliver and will become more about to listen to your next brand message that can slightly mention your product as the key to their problem solution.
Leverage Explainer Videos
Don't underestimate the importance of effective user-onboarding since it's what can help you improve customer experience and reduce requests to a support team. You can use an explainer video to educate customers about how to use your product or service and tell them about how they can benefit from using it. Animation and explainer videos are one of the most effective methods of transferring complicated information in an engaging and easy-to-understand form.
The company's blog is a perfect place for sharing news and valuable insights provided by your experts. By publishing quality and relevant articles, studies, and guides on your blog, you can bring additional value to your audience, attract more attention to your brand, drive website traffic, and gain customer loyalty. It will help you build positive relationships with customers and convert more sales.
Speak Softly. Make Transformative Decisions
Step by step, we are moving to a global upgrade that will touch everything and everyone, from small businesses and medium-sized ventures to huge enterprises to single human lives. Companies must become flexible in many aspects and try to adopt changes carried by both the global Coronavirus recession and the new digital age. Combining creative thinking, empathy, and data-driven marketing, you can lead your business out of the crisis becoming the favorite brand for your customers.
Dana Kachan is a marketing consultant and content manager at Fireart Studio. Consulting and implementing digital marketing for startups and established businesses across various industries, she likes to share insights about marketing, growth hacking, entrepreneurship, product design, and emerging tech in her articles. Dana has written for Yahoo Finance Singapore, ReadWrite, Hacker Noon, Campaign Monitor, Business2Community, and more. You can connect with Dana on LinkedIn and Twitter.