The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a global threat. Every industry is feeling the wrath of this pandemic as the global economy goes downhill. Yet, this pandemic is shaping a new reality for businesses, especially SaaS-based Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). The simplest reason is – consumer behaviour is changing.
The global lockdown has given SMBs and other businesses a reality check of how focusing on ‘purchasing customers’ needs a shift. Marketers are now facing new struggles of branding and deciding the marketing budget.
A recent study revealed –
69% of brands are set to decrease their ad budget spend in 2020 due to Covid-19. Simultaneously, almost 73% of SMB owners fear that there will decrease in domestic demands.
Marketers will have to work around in adopting new strategies that will focus on acquiring, educating, and nurturing customers – in other terms, get ready to flip the marketing funnel for business benefits, just like Launch Digital did to keep their business unaffected during this time. Here are 3 massive ways in which Covid-19 has flipped the marketing funnel.
How Covid-19 has flipped the marketing funnel for SMBs
Before the pandemic happened, the marketing funnel looked like an inverted funnel. The focus was more on converting MQL i.e. marketing qualified leads into SQL i.e. sales qualified leads, and then converting them into paying customers. Marketers worked a lot in generating enough awareness and converting visitors into ‘leads’ but the maximum focus would always be in converting interested leads into customers.
Post-pandemic, things have changed because consumer behaviour has changed. In the present date, your target buyers are not willing to buy immediately. The pandemic has brought in several constraints in purchase behaviour. According to McKinsey’s ongoing research on Consumer sentiment, consumers across the globe have seen a decrease in their income. Despite the research showing steady optimism across the globe, consumers still prefer to spend less.
This same research has also revealed how most consumers are spending time-consuming digital and video content, news, and social media. This gives the edge for SMBs to flip their focus when it comes to marketing their SaaS products.
(1) A surge in online events
Marketers of small and medium businesses are now focussing on carrying on awareness and engagement activities. Before Covid-19, physical events would be a great way to connect with prospective customers, give out elaborate demos and then take it digital. The initial awareness was easy to do in such events.
Now, everything has shifted to digital; even events. Now you’ll see more and more influencers, CEOs, and VPs of marketing taking to live streaming on social channels like Facebook and Instagram to offer valuable resources. Hosting consecutive webinars is another way SMBs are trying to keep the interaction going on. Infact, a report from MediaRadar shows that webinar ads have increased by 36% in recent times.
This sentiment is also relevant to the growth of webinar hosting platform GoToWebinar, which saw a 20% surge in their daily usage across the globe since February 2020.
(2) Focussing heavily on customer service
These are strange times requiring businesses to adapt to new ways of operations. Much like everything else, COVID 19 has also changed the face of traditional marketing funnel or perhaps it’s relevancy.
People now more than ever are craving quick information with the right guidance when it comes to making purchase decisions. They are forced to change their behaviour patterns, to shift their focus entirely on the utility of a product, and also to trust different available brands.
During times of uncertainty and desperation, the role of service agents is to provide correct guidance quickly and in-personal manner.
One of the customer service tools that can help with this could be a live chat software. It provides immediate guidance to the users. Agents can take it a bit further & connect through voice calling and video calling for real-time support. During the times of isolation, this can help build a connection, make patrons trust your brand, and eventually fastening their journey through the marketing funnel.
(3) Need for automated workflows
Looking at the current market demand, it is important to automate lead engagement and customer retention activities. You need to continuously monitor your website’s performance, content assets, user behaviour, and strategize your digital campaigns.
Technically there is an app for almost everything – be it hosting a webinar to capturing leads via Facebook Messenger, creating landing pages to creating smart forms to capture visitors, from monitoring user behaviour to launching marketing campaigns. What you need, thus, is a platform where you can sync all of these tools and integrate one with another.
For instance, you may want to capture your Facebook leads coming from Facebook lead ads directly onto a Google Sheet and then to CRM. This whole workflow can be automated by simply integrating Google Sheets with Facebook lead ads.
Here’s what you can (and must) automate:
- Capturing new subscribers
- Automating onboarding email campaigns
- Sync CRM and marketing automation tool
The impact of this novel, Coronavirus, will rapidly change consumers’ priorities as well as marketers of SMBs. Since the shift is so drastic and quick, marketers will have a difficult time in modifying their existing plans and fill in the gaps.
Hence, it is essential that you act like a catalyst for actions, and bring deeper insights over the table – insights of using technology more aggressively, to create a new business model and accelerate new strategies into the market.
Change may be daunting, but it will settle in too.