American businesses are gearing up to restart operations after the relaxation of their state’s respective COVID-19 quarantine restrictions. However, it’s important to note that life will not be the same for Americans thereafter. Content marketers need to acknowledge this reality. They need to adjust their programs now or risk a backlash, irrelevancy or both. Take a look at these tips to best prepare yourself for content marketing post-quarantine.
Know your new audience
While many businesses will reopen their doors, a significant number will, unfortunately, have entered bankruptcy or failed outright. Even more will be hanging on by a thin string in the hopes that economic activity will quickly pick up. As a content marketer, you need to accept this fact. You need to rework your strategies according to your new audience and their new situation.
Clean your email lists now
Now is a good time to update your email and mailing lists. The easiest way to do this is to send a direct mail piece or email out to your database. From email, you’ll learn pretty quickly just how many target buyers have lost their jobs or how many businesses failed. Moreover, if you have not sent out mail since the outbreak began, you’ll be surprised to see how many of your prospects are no longer there.
Additionally, when you receive your data, don’t forget to update your database with the auto-responders that notify you when someone else has replaced your prospective buyer at the target business.
Move back up the purchase decision funnel ASAP
Many sophisticated content marketers have automated nurturing programs in place that are designed to gradually move a prospect through a purchase decision funnel. These programs are great at performing content nurturing at scale. However, they can collapse and erase all progress if your target audience reverses course and moves back up the purchase decision funnel, as they are expected to do post-quarantine.
If this happens, you will begin to see it quickly in your open and click rates. Don’t write the decreases off as something transitory that will eventually self-correct. That is not the case. In reality, those decreases are warning signals that your prospects are no longer at the purchase stage that they were pre-pandemic.
Why do prospects move back up the purchase decision funnel?
Just like negative oil prices recently, a buying process can go in reverse. Although it is unheard of in traditional content marketing, these are not normal times.
Companies that were prospering before the pandemic now find themselves desperately trying to cut costs to stay alive. What was originally a burning priority is now not even on the radar.
Likewise, some of your prospects within your target companies may have been let go, with either no replacements or with another person inheriting their responsibilities in addition to their existing ones.
In a normal recession, even the financial crisis of 2008, companies, in general, gradually cut back. That’s not happening today. Not now. With over 20 million people unemployed and millions more adding to the pile each week, companies are cutting fast and deep. To make up for these losses, they’re scaling back on the programs and initiatives they previously had the budget for. This means they are no longer interested in buying anything from you. They simply can’t right now.
As such, instead of pushing through with the purchase decision stage – and, in the process, pushing away reliable prospects – you also need to scale back. Take into consideration your prospects’ situation. Realign your marketing tactics to appeal to the appropriate stage, even if that means easing up a little.
Change your content nurturing messaging fast
In response to your prospects’ new situation, consider stopping the content marketing automation. Look back at all the planned emails (and content attachments/links) and evaluate them against this backdrop. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does it make sense to make a hard sell now?
- How would a buyer, who newly inherited these responsibilities, react?
- What information do they now need to educate themselves?
Give your target buyers a helping hand
Everyone is dealing with tremendous change. Your company could be a grocery store that is overloaded with new purchases. Your company could be an airline that is virtually shut down. Regardless of the company, every employee within it – from the CEO down — is struggling to react at lightning speed in their companies AND in their personal lives.
As hard as it is to turn off the lower funnel sales messaging, your company may be better served by stepping up and providing a helping hand to your prospects. Help can be anything from removing the gated access to certain e-guides to offering free help webinars or making a Q&A section available.
Regardless of the vehicle that you use, taking action to pitch in and help will enhance your brand, creating long-term buyer good will and, most importantly, make everyone’s lives just a little better.
At the end of the day, if we don’t come together and help each other out, the alternative is bad for everyone.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook: 100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs. Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies. 100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.
To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you keep your content marketing program going, contact us today. Let’s get through this together!