2021 Digital Marketing Best Practices in a Post COVID World

Written by: equipmentfx

July 27, 2021

Digital marketing fundamentals for equipment OEM’s & dealers to accelerate & leverage post pandemic work trends

Digital Marketing post COVID – Preparing for 2022 and Beyond

What a last 18 months we’ve all gone through! Over the last 14 years of digital engagement with customers, building strategy & brands, no one could have planned for COVID 19, the fallout, 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 them build value propositions that defined their true difference. But the recent disruption has caused lots of challenges, from a general, social and communication standpoint within each company, but also externally to their customers. Things we learned were, for many, new, challenging, 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 strategy in their own, unique way. They’ve formed their own adaptive way of surviving, some even thriving depending on their business model, or how far down the road they were with digital strategy, or digital marketing services. I’ve found the main themes, glean from many sources, industries, reports and overall consensus are the following areas:
1) Focus on the customers you have. Upsell, resell, thank them repeatedly for their business!
2) Think big with your online presence & use of digital tools, including work from home models
3) Leverage social media, Facebook & Linkedin specifically, to target your audience
4) Get creative with exclusive, unique and seasonal offers to get new customers to try your brand
5) Re-examine and re-imagine your digital communication strategy
6) Master a FEW paid ad channels, 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 & 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” options 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 customer experience. The ways to automate, segment and engage with your customers and prospects and still bring the personal touch your OEM & dealer network your customers want has never been easier, faster and cheaper to do. Embracing work-from-home models, using online meeting tools like Zoom, Google Meet, MSOFT Teams and the new technologies that allow seamless communication has never been easier. Re-imagine online
shopping and ecommerce 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 business”, Linkedin & Facebook have the best audience building tools based on 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 SIC or NAICS codes, the industry codes we use to build our own audiences more precisely. So, database & list building can become an art in itself. Targeting the right prospects dramatically improves any campaign ROI, 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 others 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 ways: extended warranty, better warranty, “try & buy”, 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 re-examine and re-imagine your brand promise and value proposition, and position your company as the best, most trusted option available!

Re-imagine Your Digital Communication Strategy
From your company newsletter, customer newsletter, email segmentation & 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 your 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, it’s 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 required frequent changes and iterations of each campaign. The goal of each successive ad, within each ad channel, is to outperform the last ad and lower return-on- investment, or click-through rates. To test and measure effectively, you need to craft several ad versions. Each version includes a headline, sub-headline, text and 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 clients 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 we customize together. The number one question we get after assessments 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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