The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has dramatically altered the shape of the business landscape. Businesses of every size and configuration were forced to change the way they conducted operations almost overnight, and in severe cases, closed their doors altogether. As consumers moved to online shopping environments, the role of digital marketing was highlighted. It can be argued that digital marketing strategies have never been more important. The COVID-19 crisis impacted dozens of industries, yet digital marketing is flourishing and will continue to do so well into the future. Here’s how.
As stay-at-home and social distancing orders began to be imposed on communities across the United States due to the health risks of COVID-19, business owners faced unprecedented challenges. Many businesses, especially those considered non-essential, had to strictly curtail operations or close completely. Consumers were no longer able to conduct face-to-face transactions with the businesses around them and quickly shifted to online shopping environments.
It is here where digital marketing had its chance to shine, giving consumers the ability to locate information about products and services via web searches. Digital marketing also provided details on business operating hours, safety information for the businesses that were able to remain open, and policies directly affected by the pandemic. The companies that implemented online marketing strategies – those more flexible and robust – did not see the negative economic impacts of businesses that did not take advantage of the online environment.
The need for insurance never goes away, regardless of health or economic conditions in the world around us. Nevertheless, insurance agencies faced with reduced or eliminated face-to-face encounters with clients had to implement strategies that leveraged the power of digital marketing. In many cases, these strategies were expanded to meet the needs of an ever-increasing online audience. Three digital marketing components stand out in the expansion, helping agencies get their information into the hands of consumers. The crucial components are:
It is no secret that social media has transformed the digital marketing landscape in recent years. During – and well after – the pandemic, social media platforms served as a conduit to keep businesses and their customers engaged. Business owners could quickly share information and link consumers to product or service pages with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Using digital marketing to share ethical and health-oriented practices help convey a specific message to consumers: that these businesses care about their communities and are doing things to both support communities and to protect their customers. Many business owners took the pandemic as an opportunity to contribute to food banks, initiatives to provide protective equipment for healthcare workers and first responders, and to provide support to youth education and activity programs. All of these options can be highlighted in digital content marketing, positioning the company as one that cares about the world around it.
Brand-building is an extension of this latter practice, letting consumers know what a business stands for and how it can help individual and community needs. Building a brand through digital media has long been an important aspect of online reputation, and the companies that used the pandemic to shore up its branding and market position will continue to see dividends long into the future.
There will come a time when the coronavirus pandemic is behind us, allowing businesses and individuals to return to more familiar practices. However, many marketing industry analysts suggest that the power of digital marketing will continue to have long-term benefits for business owners.
First, consumer preferences may have shifted. Customers who are concerned about their health and safety may continue to use online information sources and ecommerce sites to conduct their business.
Business practices may have also shifted. Companies that used to rely on trade shows and exhibitions to build customer relationships may no longer find these in-person events to be cost-effective, let alone safe from a health perspective. In the absence of being able to meet new consumers directly, those companies that use digital marketing to take the place of trade shows will flourish. Here again, social marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and influencer campaigns may fully replace the value of the face-to-face encounters provided by trade shows.
Most importantly, business owners must remain flexible. The future is never certain, and by remaining flexible in the face of emerging challenges, these companies can continue to adopt new and innovative digital marketing practices that help them connect with new audiences. The COVID-19 crisis has had profound impacts on the business world, and new challenges lie ahead. Digital marketing can help business owners overcome many challenges now and in the coming years.
Agency Tsunami is the digital marketing division of Neilson Marketing Services, who has provided the insurance distribution sector with innovative marketing and communication solutions for over twenty-five years. With our Agency Tsunami program, we have implemented an integrated marketing strategy that includes optimized, professional websites supported by high-quality SEO and Social Media for hundreds of insurance retailers and wholesalers. Our goal is to help your insurance business perform and generate new opportunities. Give us a call at (800) 736-9741 to learn more about how we can do that for you.