The pandemic has few winners. While some, like Zoom and Amazon, saw their businesses boom, many other businesses recorded slower growth and fewer customers. However, companies remained resilient and innovated solutions to stay afloat and survive until the pandemic recedes.
Because of tighter cash flows, many businesses cut ad and marketing spending. The World Economic Forum reported that, across Europe, ad spends decreased by 9%, while the ad market’s year-on-year revenue in China dropped by 15%.
With a smaller budget, businesses have to be smart in spending on marketing and ads. Here are a few guidelines to help you make the most of your budget.
Invest in Online Channels
One of the greatest shifts in consumer behavior during the pandemic is an expedited adoption of contactless payment. Forbes reports that, throughout 2020, the retail industry saw a massive rise in eCommerce and card-not-present (CNP) transactions. People were also more accepting of curbside pick-up services, powered by companies’ digital channels.
If there’s one takeaway in running a business during a health crisis, it’s that digital is king. When authorities enacted stay-at-home orders, brick-and-mortar shops had to stop operations. Meanwhile, people spent more time online.
Here are a few tips to make your website as effective as possible.
- Prioritize mobile responsiveness. About 69.4% of internet users use shopping apps on their mobile devices. Additionally, 6 out of 10 shoppers believe that the possibility to shop through their phones is an important deciding factor when choosing a brand.
Whether you offer essential kitchen products, commercial insurance for small businesses, or even domestic travel services, your website must first be mobile-responsive—it must adjust to the screen, regardless of the size. This ensures that the customer won’t have any frustrating shopping experience.
- Make the site navigable. A navigable site is one where the user doesn’t have to think—they simply follow their intuition and find information where they expect to find it. If it’s hard for them to find what they’re looking for, they will abandon your site.
The best sites are those with clear and conspicuous navigation menus on top of the page. Ideally, it has a maximum of five labeled tabs, with neat categories filed under each. Users should always have an easy way to return to the homepage, no matter where they are on the site.
- Keep pages uncluttered. A good site doesn’t bombard the users with information. Instead, it uses a balance of text, graphics, and negative space.
The text must have a readable typeface and is arranged in short paragraphs. The graphics, meanwhile, must be clear, crisp, and consistent throughout the pages. Negative space prevents eye strain and improves the overall user experience.
- Make it speedy. If your website takes more than three seconds to load, about 40% of users will abandon your site. The fast your website, the better the impression you leave to users.
- Place calls to action. Each page on the website should encourage the user to do something. This means you have to place a call to action on all pages. For instance, landing pages could ask the user to send inquiries, book an appointment, or buy a product.
- Invest in SEO. A beautiful and navigable site will be useless if it can’t be found online. Incorporate SEO best practices, so your site will have excellent rankings, be visible to customers, and generate robust traffic.
Focus on Existing Customers
If acquiring new customers is difficult, spend your precious marketing dollars on preserving your customer base. This is especially important if your target audience tends to hop from one brand to another. In the aftermath of the pandemic, the most successful businesses are those that connect with their consumers.
When cities enacted quarantine protocols, people abandoned their normal shopping patterns. While early shoppers were able to stockpile their preferred brands, others had to purchase alternative brands. And when customers encountered a confusing website, they abandoned it for a better-looking site.
The Global News Wire reports that about 39% of consumers around the world and 51% of American shoppers bought products from new brands during quarantine—and they’ve forged a newfound loyalty as well. A whopping 88% of these shoppers will continue to buy from those brands in the future.
Whether you’re the new brand or the one that shoppers have left behind, be proactive in preserving your customer base.
A flexible loyalty program is essential in keeping existing customers happy and satisfied. Retailers, for instance, can explore loyalty-tech solutions that offer customers more flexible ways to spend the points they’ve earned.
The pandemic has brought the biggest economic hurdles to companies. But through innovative solutions, businesses can rise to the challenge, thrive, and survive to see the post-pandemic recovery.