Before COVID-19 took hold of the world in 2020, a significant portion of marketing took place online. However, plenty of businesses still clung to traditional marketing methods and were hesitant about diving into digital marketing (website design, social media marketing, paid ads, etc.).
As the pandemic spread across the globe, businesses with a solid online presence had an advantage, while those without a solid digital strategy scrambled to catch up.
Those that adapted survived and even thrived. Those that couldn’t keep up struggled to stay afloat or went under altogether.
As a female entrepreneur, I experienced this shift in marketing with my own business.
Although I had an online presence before the pandemic, my marketing plan still relied heavily on in-person events and local community-building activities to connect with potential customers.
When it became unsafe — and in some cases illegal — to host these events, I had to pivot. I had to focus on online marketing and discover strategies that helped me expand my reach globally.
In this article, I’m sharing a few low-cost, effective marketing strategies to help you grow your online presence and succeed long-term.
Not sure where to start? Download this complimentary workbook to implement 5 BONUS marketing ideas this week! You can also buy the FEMPRENEUR book available on Amazon to read more of my business-building secrets.
Marketing your business a few years ago looked and felt very different than today… that’s why I want to ask you a few questions about your current marketing strategy. Specifically, what’s on the line for you if your marketing is not successful? Please complete this brief questionnaire.
How Has Marketing Changed After COVID-19?
The marketing world is constantly evolving. Over the last couple of years, though, it’s felt like someone hit the fast-forward button and forced us all to adjust our marketing plans at hyper speed.
The following are some examples of how marketing has changed after COVID-19:
Long Live Online Shopping
E-commerce sales skyrocketed during the height of the pandemic. A survey from the US Census Bureau revealed that sales increased by $244.2 billion (43 percent) in 2020.
Even though many brick-and-mortar stores have reopened since then, online shopping is still prevalent.
If businesses want to succeed in 2022 and beyond, they must simplify the online shopping experience and start (or continue) advertising products and services online. Tactics like social media advertising, paid ads, blogging, and video marketing can help them expand their reach and see better results.
Online Experience Is Essential
Many businesses learned during the early days of the pandemic that it wasn’t enough to have an online presence.
To attract and retain customers, they needed a high-performing website that looked good, was easy to navigate, and allowed consumers to easily find and buy the products they wanted or needed.
In 2022, brands are still working hard to improve their website’s UI (user interface) and UX (user experience). After all, 88 percent of online shoppers say they won’t return to a website if they have a subpar user experience.
Consumers Care Less About Brand Loyalty
When COVID-19 first began spreading across the globe and forced people indoors, many consumers increased their online shopping behaviors. Nearly half (44 percent) of them also decided to try out new brands.
As the spread of COVID-19 has slowed and people have resumed regular activity, they’re still more eager to try new brands than they were before.
This decrease in brand loyalty means businesses must work harder to attract and retain customers. Effective online marketing is one of the best ways for them to accomplish this goal.
Local Marketing Matters
While people started shopping online more frequently during the pandemic, they simultaneously developed a stronger interest in supporting small local businesses.
A Brightpearl survey even revealed that 75 percent of consumers planned to shop locally more often after seeing how the pandemic affected small business owners.
Businesses looking to capitalize on people’s desire to support local brands have started utilizing local marketing methods, such as optimizing their Google My Business profile or improving local search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
Virtual and Hybrid Events
For a couple of years, in-person events were practically impossible to host. In response to strict rules regarding social distancing, masks, and vaccines, many business owners decided to ditch in-person gatherings altogether and focus on virtual events.
Even now, when most people are more comfortable being in close proximity, several brands are still focusing on virtual and hybrid events to accommodate more people and see better returns.
Emphasis on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
In the pre-pandemic world, many businesses made little-to-no effort to understand diverse employees’ and consumers’ needs and experiences. One study even showed that 50 percent of employees left a job because of its diversity and inclusion shortcomings.
After COVID-19, businesses are working harder to be inclusive toward people from all walks of life, both behind the scenes and when marketing products or services. Many have begun to realize the importance of advertising to diverse people and ensuring they’re represented in online ads, social media content, website content, etc.
There’s no denying that it’s harder to make a name for yourself online today than a few years ago (and it wasn’t exactly easy before the pandemic). However, building a solid online presence and successfully marketing your brand is still possible.
Do you need more help boosting your online presence? If so, check out the Fempreneur blog’s Business & Marketing section for additional insights. You can also buy my book to read my business-building secrets in one place. Don’t forget to download this complimentary workbook to implement 5 BONUS marketing ideas this week!