COVID cases are declining, and vaccinations are on the rise, so it’s only a matter of time before businesses begin to operate as they did before the pandemic. Customers in every sector are eager to get out there and enjoy the services they used to, buy goods in person, visit museums and galleries, etc. Your role is to encourage this behaviour and boost your revenue as a result.
HOW HAS CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR CHANGED?
Canadian consumers are regaining confidence in buying goods and services. Retail sales are up from Q1 2020 and consumer spending has bounced back to 95% of the January 2020 high.
They’re also gravitating towards brands with a purpose. A global health crisis combined with a historic year of social unrest has changed the way consumers engage with businesses. Globally, 85% of consumers think it is important to buy from companies that support causes in which they believe and 69% feel that CEOs should be accountable to the public rather than shareholders.
Consumers have also become accustomed to brands meeting them where they are: online. While consumers and businesses alike are excited for the great reopening, 45% of consumers say they will continue shopping with online stores they found during the pandemic. Convenience is part of that, and safety is the other
IT’S WHAT YOU SAY, AND HOW YOU SAY IT
What does all this mean for your business? Promotion is more important than ever; customers need to be reminded of, or introduced to, your business and its benefits. Branded content may be the key. That said, it’s important to be extra thoughtful and reframe messaging where necessary. Continue to be objective-driven, and tailor your message where it makes sense, particularly around the following three themes.
Simply put, show customers who you are and what you believe in. Be authentic. Readers want to support brands whose values align with theirs. Show them which charities/social betterment organizations your company supports. Demonstrate how your company pivoted to keep both employees and customers safe during the pandemic. Be honest about what you learned from the pandemic and how you’ve improved your business practices as a result.
What are your customers’ pain points? What are some of the hurdles they need to overcome? And how can your business help them negotiate or eliminate these? Solutions could include product innovations, easy pickup or delivery options, improved online user experience, updated how-to videos, testimonials from happy customers, etc.
Consumers are looking for a break, a rest from the stresses of all things pandemic. Satisfy this need by giving them something to enrich their lives now, and something they can look forward to. Examples include good-news stories; upbeat music playlists; books, movies and podcasts; mental-wellbeing activities like crafting, beauty and meditation; safe ways to socialize with family and friends, etc.
Star Metroland Media can help you create custom content plans tailored to your business and target audience.
Spas, salons, and clinics can share stories about the past year and the challenges businesses faced, talk about how the experience made your business stronger and, perhaps most importantly, how visiting your business in person is safer than ever.
Online and bricks-and-mortar retailers can create content that explores what’s changed and what favourite products and in-store services are still available. Speak to the joy of welcoming back customers, and consider an article highlighting upcoming new products along with a coupon code. Remember to keep your online store vibrant and robust too.
If your business is event- or experience-based, there may be admissions/ticketing changes that you’ll want to make sure your customers learn about and can follow easily. Get them excited about upcoming in-person events and reassure them that they will be organized with safety as a priority.
Realtors will want to instill confidence in customers about in-person home tours, but may also want to consider the convenience and continued safety of digital showcases, featuring 360° images and videos. Share some of your stats about buying and selling during the pandemic, and what that may mean for the next six months to a year.
Finally, foodservice businesses may wish to highlight how offerings have changed during the pandemic, and which in-person dining item favourites are back. Ensuring diner safety is paramount, of course.
PAIR IT UP
Star Metroland Media offers a large menu of complementary marketing tools that you can add to a content plan to help boost impact, including:
- Digital ads on and off network
- Social ads
- Shoppable ads
During the pandemic, Torstar Digital News Network’s daily page views in Q1 of 2021 were 405K higher than they were during the same time period in 2020*. In addition to COVID-related news, readers gravitated towards escapism. It’s no surprise that stressed, worried people dream of travel, social events like concerts, shiny new cars, etc. And Torstar reader data proves it; a year over year comparison of total page views shows big leaps in Travel, Auto & Lifestyle content.
Contact us and let us help your business succeed in the grand reopening.
*Adobe Analytics, January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021. Pre-pandemic lift based on average Jan 1-Mar 10, 2020 compared to Jan 1-Mar 10, 2021
We’re ready to help you put these learnings into practice. Complete the form below and a Marketing Consultant will be in touch.