2021 Digital Marketing Best Practices in a Post-COVID-19 World

Written by: equipmentfx

August 7, 2021

Digital Marketing Fundamentals for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Dealers to Accelerate and Leverage Post-Pandemic Work Trends

Digital Marketing After COVID-19 – Preparing for 2022 and Beyond

What a past 18 months we’ve all gone through! Over the past 14 years of digital engagement with customers, building strategies and brands, no one could have planned for COVID-19, the fallout, the challenges and, ultimately, amazing opportunities.
I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with big brands around the world, observe past best practices, and help those big brands build value propositions that defined their true differentiators. But the recent disruption has caused lots of general, social and communication challenges internally within each company and externally to their customers.
Things we learned were, for many, new, challenging and frustrating but ultimately productive in many ways. We’re still finding our way through, with new ideas and technologies driving new opportunities.

Main Lessons & Trends

Each company has learned and adopted new marketing strategies and approaches in its own, unique way. Companies have formed their own adaptive ways of surviving, some even thriving depending on their business models, or how far down the road they were with digital strategy or digital marketing services.

I’ve found the main themes, gleaned from many sources, industries and reports as well as the overall consensus, are as follows:
1) Focus on the customers you have. Upsell, resell and thank them repeatedly for their business!
2) Think big with your online presence and use of digital tools, including work-from-home models.
3) Leverage social media—Facebook and LinkedIn specifically—to target your audience.
4) Get creative with exclusive, unique and seasonal offers to get new customers to try your brand.
5) Reexamine and reimagine your digital communication strategy.
6) Master a FEW paid ad channels, and then test, measure, iterate and improve. Avoid complexity!

Focus on Your Existing Customers

As obvious as this sounds, when you examine how you do this, there are lots of opportunities to improve. There are many ways to do this: segmented email campaigns, rewards programs, creative demo and try-and-buy programs, ad retargeting, recommendation engines, and overall content to educate your audience about why you’re a better choice.
Do you have a checklist of all options and how effective you are with each channel? Challenge your team to think creatively, but limit complexity. There are literally over 3,000 marketing tool choices to improve these customer experience options. Focus on a few, make it simple, master the process, and add from there!

Think Big Online – From Customers to Employees

There are literally thousands of digital tools to help automate and execute campaigns all built around improving the customer experience. The ways to automate, segment and engage with your customers and prospects while still making your approach personable have never been easier, faster and cheaper to do.

Embracing work-from-home models and using online meeting tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and the new technologies that allow seamless communication has never been easier. Reimagine online shopping and e-commerce with your customers. The digital tools have accelerated in both number and quality, and it’s only going to get better!

Leverage Social Media to Target Your Ideal Audience

For the equipment industry, LinkedIn and Facebook have the best audience-building tools to reach the right decision-makers. The number of agencies and technologies that claim they can deliver the perfect audience using these social platforms is growing every day, but beware! The quality of these services varies greatly, there is high turnover, and many fade away after a few months.

No matter what you’re told, both sources lack the ability to profile decision maker by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) or North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, the industry codes we use to build our own audiences more precisely. So database and list building can become an art in itself. Targeting the right prospects dramatically improves any campaign return on investment, so spend some time upfront identifying all data and audience sources that best meet YOUR needs.

Get Creative with Your Promotional Efforts

Design creative, specific and seasonal offers and deals tied to your customer segments. Don’t offer specials to one segment of customers that other segments don’t need or want. Seasonal offers are always a winner; service specials drive parts, rentals and, often, new equipment sales. New equipment specials should lower risk and make bold promises your brand and products will deliver on.

Lowering risk comes in many forms. Extended warranties, better warranties, try-and-buy programs, return policies and many other options should be tested, rotated and learned from. How creative and attractive are your current promotional efforts to get a customer or prospect to give you a try? Now is the time to reexamine and reimagine your brand promise and value proposition and position your company as the best, most trusted option available!

Reimagine Your Digital Communication Strategy

Between your company newsletter, customer newsletter, email segmentation and messaging, there are new, effective ways to make you look like a Fortune 500 brand for a lot less today than even a couple of years ago. Does your company have a content strategy in addition to a digital communication strategy? What is the plan for 2022 and beyond to build your brand and brand promise?

Each of the terms above requires education, practice and a vision to pull together. Most companies hate content creation and management; does your company have a digital communication and content road map? Done right, mapping these strategies out offer some of the highest return on investment your company can make.

Master a FEW Paid Ad Channels & Eliminate Complexity

There are many paid ad channels to choose from, but having too many can turn into a big problem. Accurate ad testing and measurement requires frequent changes to and iterations of each campaign. The goal of each successive ad, within each ad channel, is to outperform the last ad and increase return on investment or click-through rates.

To test and measure effectively, you need to craft several ad versions. Each version includes a headline, a sub-headline, text and a call to action. These should be set up for quick testing and performance evaluation. Most of our engagements reveal too many channels and too much complexity and confusion to accurately measure what’s working and what’s not.

About EquipmentFX Services

Over the years, the services we offer have evolved to meet each client’s unique needs. We like to lead with our proprietary A3 assessment to really understand the gaps and opportunities. From there we can discuss follow-on services that we can customize together.

After each assessment, the two questions clients usually ask us are “Can you just do this stuff for us?” followed by “We have marketing people—how can we make them and our processes more efficient?” And sometimes we simply deliver the road map and provide support as needed.

At the end of any engagement, you will have a formal framework and internal audit process to improve your program or build a program from scratch to create more new customers and to sell more to existing ones.

To find out more about the EquipmentFX A3 assessment, digital marketing or technology consulting services, please contact us.

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