The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has changed life for everyone, including business owners. If you are involved in B2B marketing, how do you adapt and stay connected to your customers and prospects? There are certain strategies that can help you pull through this challenging period so your business is ready to grow once things start returning to normal.
CREATE TIMELY CONTENT
Tailor your content strategy to the current needs of your B2B audience. You can’t ignore the current situation and pretend it’s business as usual. Find out the specific concerns your customers have and address them. In some cases, this may mean reassuring them that you’ll be able to meet their needs. For example, if you provide supplies, be sure to tell them how you’re adjusting to keep up with orders.
You can also supply any information and guidance that will help your customers get through this period, whether this has to do with safety measures, financing tips, or creatively serving their own customers. Another way to connect with your audience is to create more videos. A recent study found that 80% of consumers are watching more video since the COVID-19 outbreak. With such a large spike in the audience for video, it’s safe to assume that this includes many of the business owners who are your customers.
KEEP YOUR MARKET RESEARCH UP TO DATE
Every B2B company understands the importance of data and research. At this time, however, it’s crucial that you access the very latest data about your market. You need to be informed about what your customers have been doing over the last few months. Certain types of businesses have been hit extremely hard by the pandemic. Some were forced to temporarily close down. Many have had to cut back on certain expenditures. On the other hand, they may be holding steady or increasing spending in other areas.
In April 2020, McKinsey & Company did a study of how B2B purchasing had changed. For example, even while businesses were cutting back in many areas, they actually increased spending on digital technology and video conferencing. While the pandemic has impacted every business in one way or another, the effects aren’t uniform. By studying your market, you can get a better idea of where they are currently investing. You may need to adapt in order to offer your customers what they need right now.
FOCUS ON VIRTUAL MEETINGS AND EVENTS
The trend towards more virtual meetings and events has been going on for some time and certainly predates the current pandemic. This is fortunate in that you don’t need to introduce a whole new paradigm to your contacts. Most businesses use platforms such as Skype, Zoom, or some type of video conferencing software. Now, however, is a good time to take your virtual communications to a new level.
- Identify the platforms and methods of communication that your clients prefer so you can easily connect with them.
- If you were scheduling a live event, rethink it as a virtual event.
- Keep your virtual meetings short and focused. This is good advice for any type of meeting but it’s especially relevant now. Keep in mind that people are inundated with online activity, phone calls, and video conferencing right now. Keep meetings organized and as brief as possible.
ENGAGE IN SOCIAL LISTENING
During a global crisis, it’s even more important than usual to monitor feedback about your business and industry. Social listening</> helps you stay alert to the current sentiments that affect your brand and customer relationships. This includes:
- Monitor your social media pages and pay particular attention to how followers have responded to your recent content.
- Study your competition. How are your competitors dealing with the pandemic? Note what kind of content they’re putting out and how their customers and followers are responding.
- Pay attention to reviews. Reputation management during a crisis is a tricky matter. People are more sensitive than usual during a crisis. Even if you do your best to be responsible and ethical, it’s easy to make a misstep. Monitoring reviews is essential for tracking how your customers are responding to your latest practices.
- Social listening is also a powerful tool for gauging the latest trends and attitudes relevant to your business and industry. It’s worthwhile to research keywords, hashtags, videos, and other content that might impact your business. You can use what you learn to inform your marketing and customer service.
MAKE YOUR B2B MARKETING RELEVANT FOR THE TIMES
During this difficult period, it’s essential to maintain and even strengthen your connections with your B2B customers. Take the time to research their needs and any particular challenges they may be experiencing at this time. The COVID-19 pandemic will not last forever and it’s important to maintain strong relations with your customers now so you can move forward together as conditions return to normal.
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The material was written with the help of the following resources:
- How To Hire Great Employees in a Changing Talent Landscape With Angela Hood of ThisWay Global
- How to Strategically Grow and Market a Business with Jacques Botbol of Verbit
- Mastering Marketing in Venture Capital With Vignesh Ravikumar of Sierra Ventures
- The Key to Creating Contagious Content With Andrea Breanna of RebelMouse
- Expert Advice for Start-ups With Rene de Jong