Using a Reddit Marketing Strategy to Reach Niche Audiences

These Reddit marketing tips will help you reach niche audiences, improve your brand, increase traffic, and avoid common Reddit pitfalls.

Almost every digital marketer knows about Neil Patel. He’s one of the internet’s top influencers and a bestselling author. When Neil Patel calls Reddit the most intimidating social platform, you have to take notice. Intimidating or not, Mr. Patel also says that the right Reddit marketing strategy can help deliver targeted traffic and many other benefits to your business.

Why invest in a Reddit marketing strategy to attract a niche audience?

Reddit does have a reputation for hosting a population of harsh critics and controversial topics. Disrespecting Reddit users with inauthentic marketing tactics will do your brand more harm than good and perhaps even get your account banned from the more prickly communities. Given its reputation, you might wonder if Reddit really has a place in your social media strategy.

Still, according to HubSpot’s collection of Reddit statistics:

  • Over 430 million users access the site and search the site over 46 million times each day.
  • The site gets about 21 billion screen views every month.
  • Reddit has over a million communities, called subreddits, and at least 130,000 of these are active.

You can find subreddits dedicated to almost every interest, from cute pictures of animals to guides to navigating the dark web. As with many other social sites, the most active discussions tend to center around popular culture, public figures, and current events.

HubSpot’s statistics also supported the idea that Reddit users, particularly younger ones, tend to view the site’s crowd-sourced opinions as a great place to research solutions to problems, products, and services. Done well, Reddit can provide a valuable addition to your company’s content marketing strategy.

Even better, a fairly high portion of Reddit users earn at least $75,000 a year and have a college degree. This means that you have the chance to connect with a relatively high-income and educated audience. Even if that doesn’t describe your best market, you will also benefit from the Reddit user’s ability to self-select their communities. Compare that to social sites like Facebook, where users often complain they see ads and content that don’t interest them.

Three important Reddit marketing tips to help attract your tribe

If you’re marketing your own business or offering services from a content marketing agency, you should see how you might benefit from adding Reddit marketing to your toolbox. Make sure you take the time to understand this unique social site before you plunge in.

1. Understand Reddit’s structure

If you just look at the front page, Reddit may look like a very plain bookmarking site from 2005. Indeed, back then, that’s what the original founders pictured. It was only after they added subreddit communities, that this site really took off. If you’ve never spent time on Reddit, the first thing you should do is explore the communities that align with your interests.

Finding communities

Communities have this URL structure: reddit.com/r/subreddit. You can also search for communities and topics in the search box at the top. As an example, a search for marketing found reddit.com/r/marketingreddit.com/r/content_marketing, and more. If you just want to start by looking at the front page, you will also see tags by the titles that tell you which community these popular posts originated in.

Post Types

You may also notice three common kinds of posts on Reddit. These include media posts, text posts, and link posts. For instance, clicking the title of a linked posts will redirect you to the linked page. Posts with such media as graphics, videos, and even polls may tend to attract lots of views. Still, you may find that your thoughtful text posts drive the most conversation and engagements. As with most social sites, a mix of content types tends to perform the best over time.

Voting

Reddit users can vote posts up or down. Obviously, more upvotes will tend to keep your post higher on the subreddit’s page. Posts will lots of votes can even make it to the front page. So yes, you can think of Reddit as a popularity content. Your own popularity will depend upon how well you read the room — or in this case, the subreddit, the quality of your content, and sometimes, your overall reputation, called karma on Reddit.

Profile page

As with other social sites, you can also develop your profile page. That’s where users can see a feed of all of your post history, your overall karma, and how to content you directly.

Digging Deeper into Reddit

Mashable published a beginner’s guide to Reddit a few years ago, but they’ve updated it somewhat since then, so it’s still a pretty good resource for beginners. It will introduce you to Reddit’s unique culture and provide more information about Reddit’s structure and organization.

2. Present yourself as authentic

While you have a good chance to post your message in front of an engaged audience, you’ve also been warned that these users may not, as they say, suffer fools lightly. The tone in subreddits varies considerably, even those with similar topics.

Read the rules

As you would when venturing into any new community, like an old-fashioned forum, make sure you adhere to the subreddit’s unique rules and browse enough posts to understand what kind of posts tend to gain positive notice and which either don’t gain traction or even draw criticism.

Understand the community’s tone

Again, the most popular types of posts can vary considerably between subreddits. If you look at r/entrepeneur, for instance, you’ll probably see a lot of serious case studies that have been developed just for that community at the top. In contrast, r/books tends to favor links to interesting articles about books and authors.

To help you understand the community, you can sort posts in a variety of ways. For instance, sorting by “Hot” will show you the most popular posts. You can also find a checkbox to select such time frames as the last 24 hours, week, or year.

Start slowly

Mostly, you should participate in a subreddit as a friendly and helpful member before trying to sell anything. Reddit users justifiably distrust new accounts with little history because that’s exactly what aggressive sellers and even scammers create. You’ll have a much better chance to post successfully if you also take some time to answer questions or comment upon other member’s posts first.

Before trusting an account they don’t recognize, many Reddit users will check out your profile and post history. If you’ve only ever made two posts that linked directly to sales pages on your business website, you may get ignored or even worse, called out as a spammer. On the other hand, you can win over even the harshest Reddit critics with authentic, helpful, or even witty content, and in that case, they can become your company’s best friends.

3. Figure out what works for you

Really, the right approach and selection of communities can vary considerably. As mentioned above, some subreddits tend to favor different types of content. Others may not specifically gravitate to various kinds of content but will respond better to different topics and tones.

For instance, you can find several popular communities dedicated to GRRM’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” books and the popular TV show, “Game of Thrones.” Some of these only tolerate serious discussions, but others gravitate towards light-hearted jokes and memes. In fact, users who didn’t like the strict rules on some of these subreddits started the more accessible ones.

Reddit case study: Transamerica

Search Engine Journal highlighted a case study of the way that Transamerica successfully used Reddit as part of their content marketing strategy. They began by running a sponsored post that surveyed Reddit users to post their questions about such personal finance topics as student loans, retirement plans, and insurance.

During this post’s run, Transamerica made sure they answered each comment and didn’t shy away from using a bit of humor, particularly to diffuse some critics. When some users accused Transamerica of simply trying to market, they didn’t react defensively because after all, that’s what they were trying to do. Still, they marketed by providing valuable content to their audience, which is what content marketing is all about.

Afterwards, Transamerica created content to answer the most common questions. They posted this content within subreddits but returned to the original paid post to find the original questions and link to their new content. In other words, they did exactly the opposite of the kind of hit-and-run selling that Reddit users tend to dislike. This approach benefited the company with better brand awareness, direct engagement, and plenty of content ideas to use on Reddit and other platforms.

Takeaways

Like they say about New York City, if you can make it on Reddit, you can probably make it anywhere. Just take some time to understand this social site’s unique structure and culture. Present yourself as a helpful and authentic community member. Find the right communities and see what elicits positive reactions from members. At first, Reddit can appear intimidating, but once you’ve been accepted into the tribe, you can enjoy a large and engaged audience.

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Email Marketing: 10 Email Subject Line Tips to Boost CTRs

Email marketing hacks for your email marketing strategy: Use these test subject lines to engage subscribers and boost CTRs.

Every year, you probably see articles that tell you email marketing has died and that you need to turn to some new technology or tactic to boost your content marketing strategy. At the same time, almost every internet user has at least one email account that they check regularly.

In fact, HubSpot’s research found that an average email marketing strategy generates an astounding 3,800 percent return. If you’re not getting back $38 for each $1 you spend on email marketing, start with the very first thing that your audience will see — your subject line.

Boost your email marketing strategy with these tips for effective subject lines

If your own efforts or even those of an email marketing agency haven’t benefited your business, you may simple need to get more people to open up your message by crafting better subject lines. To provide you with some inspiration, consider these tested tips for attention-grabbing email subject lines.

1. Mention video

Video marketing has gained plenty of attention as a way to engage people and convert customers. Data analysis from email providers have found that just mentioning video in your email subject line can boost open rates. You don’t need to include the video inside the email but can simply link to a video you have posted on your own site.

2. Add the recipient’s name

If you use a CRM or other email marketing system, you should have a way to insert the name of your subscriber or customer into the subject line. Typically, anything you can do to personalize your emails should help gain attention and help the recipient find your content more valuable. With more sophisticated email apps, you can do more, but even the most basic tools generally make it easy to insert a name.

3. Try using lists and numbers

List titles, like this one, “10 Email Subject Line Tips to Boost CTRs,” tend to attract attention. People appear to focus upon numbers, so that may explain the popularity of lists. Also, the list style offers content producers a way to organize a lot of information in digestible chunks, and that’s the kind of content that many internet users like to browse.

4. Appeal to FOMO

To some degree, concerns about feeling left behind tend to impact almost everybody at one time or another. Perhaps it’s even a survival instinct from the times when groups offered protection against dangerous predators.

Today, fear of missing out even has its own acronym — FOMO. Adding a time or quantity limit to emails about special deals can work very well. Let your audience know that your deal ends Saturday or after the first 100 responses. If you want to extend your offer later, you can always explain that you had such a good response that you wanted to please more customers.

5. Keep titles fairly brief but not too short 

Marketing Land reported upon a study by Retention Science, a marketing analytics company, of 540 email marketing campaigns that sent a total of about 260 million individual emails. They found:

  • Titles with six to 10 words generated an average open rate of 21 percent.
  • Titles with five or fewer words generated average open rates of 16 percent.
  • Longer titles with more than 10 words generated average open rates of 14 percent.

Apparently, it helps to include enough words in the title to communicate the point but not so many words that you risk losing readers.

6. Consider adding recognizable movie titles or song lyrics

That same Retention Science study found that titles that incorporated movie titles or lyrics averaged over a 26-percent open rate, compared to more traditional subject lines that only averaged about 16 percent.

Some mildly amusing and attention-getting example might include:

  • Gone With the Wind — These Deals Will End Thursday
  • I Gotta Feeling You’re Going to Love These Walking Shoes

7. Phrase titles as questions or exclamations

Used carefully, punctuation can help titles stand out in a crowded inbox. An exclamation point at the end can help communicate urgency. Alternatively, questions may make your audience curious about the answer or eager to answer themselves.

You might also experiment with other special characters, such as asterisks, hyphens, and quotation marks. You might also phrase the question to suggest that something will happen if the reader doesn’t take action. As an example, you’ve probably gotten emails that say you won’t get any more emails unless you respond.

8. Try to add a little humor

Like you, your customers probably consider going through their packed inbox a chore some days. If you can get them to crack a smile, they’ll probably appreciate the effort.

Some examples of mildly amusing subject lines could include:

  • You’ll Like This Down Comforter Better Than Your Cat
  • Hey, it’s Friday! You’re Just Watching the Clock Anyway!
  • Since You Didn’t Win the Lottery Today…

9. Surprise or challenge your readers

You have to take care with this, but clickbait’s a thing for a reason. Of course, you need to make sure you understand your audience pretty well because you have to walk a fine line between getting attention and giving offense.

For instance, a title like “Why Your Email Subject Lines Stink” might get attention but also could turn off some readers. If you run a Florida marketing agency, you might need to tread lightly with the famous “Florida Man…” jokes.

10. Personalize your titles and content

No matter how well you craft your email titles, you probably won’t enjoy the highest open rates if you can’t segment your audience and appeal to their interests. For instance, a customer who just purchased a pair of men’s hiking boots probably won’t have much interest in women’s ballet flats. On the other hand, there’s a good chance that customer might need the perfect socks to complement those boots. Why not take a little extra care to ensure that your audience will probably have an interest in your offer?

Best practices for developing strong email subject lines

So, how do you really know which kinds of subject lines will appeal to your audience? You should start out by understanding your customers and prospects. Not only will this help you determine which topics they’d have an interest in, it can also help you craft the subject line to attract their attention and just as important, avoid turning them away.

As with other kinds of marketing, it’s also a good idea to test various titles. For instance, you might try to develop a handful of different kinds of subject lines, send each of them out to different portions of your audience, and then compare the results. If one performs much better or worse than the others, you can use that information in your next email campaign.

No, email marketing’s not dead

No doubt, most people get more emails in their inbox each day than they care to read. At the same time, some companies have subscribers and customers who actually look forward to getting emails in their inbox because they find them valuable. Overall, email still produces strong results. If your email hasn’t performed as well as you hoped, start by improving your open rates with better titles.

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Pet Product Marketing During the Coronavirus

Find out how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted pet product sales, and how your pet product marketing can take advantage of opportunities.

In the past, marketers thought of pet product marketing as reliably recession-resistant. According to Pet Food Industry, an industry journal, that proved true both after 911 and during the Great Recession of 2008. In contrast, industry forecasters do expect to see at least a temporary drop in some pet product sales during the coronavirus crisis.

Of course, pet owners still need to feed and care for Fluffy and Fido. Because of this, not all kinds of products will suffer, and the market should rebound by next year. In fact, some brands have continued to do quite well during the crisis. Take a minute to understand the state of the current market and how a pet product marketing agency or retailer can appeal to customers.

Challenges to pet product marketing during the coronavirus

These are some recent recent forecast for U.S. retail sales for pet product marketing and sales that Pet Food Industry published:

  • Post-pandemic forecasts assume a 17 percent drop in U.S. retail sales of pet products for 2020 to 2021. Before the pandemic, those same forecasts predicted a five percent increase.
  • If true, these declines will translate into about $18 billion less revenue in 2020 than in 2019.
  • The forecasts do predict that the market will begin to recover in 2021. This rebound underscores the strength of the market for pet food and other pet products in the United States.

Pet product marketing opportunities during the coronavirus crisis

While forecasters expect pet product marketing to struggle during the next year, some kinds of products may not suffer as much. For example:

  • Industry analysts believe non-medical pet services, vet services, and non-food pet supplies will have the largest drops.
  • On the other hand, these same forecasters expect non-discretionary product sales to maintain modest growth.

Non-discretionary products include such necessary items as pet food and cat litter. Even with these need-to-have items, expect to see consumers looking for value by turning more to sales and in some cases, store brands.

Pet ownership may actually increase during COVID-19

Packaged Facts provides industry research for several industries, including pet products. Their research director, David Sprinkle, believes that U.S. pet ownership might even increase during this crisis. He said that happened during the Great Recession of 2007 to 2008. It’s even more likely to happen now because pets can provide comfort and companionship during these times of social isolation measures. As more people have switched to remote work, they may also feel they have more time to care for a pet.

Surges expected for eCommerce pet product sales

Even before the current crisis, eCommerce sales of pet products had begun to grow at a steady pace. As with other packaged goods, the online part of the market has continued to climb during the outbreak. Consumers may feel reluctant to leave their homes to shop as much and might even have trouble finding their favorite brands reliably stocked in stores.

In addition, once pet owners find an eCommerce retailer who offers competitive prices, they often decide that ordering pet products online provides them with convenience and affordability. In any case, Packaged Facts expects the online share of the market to reach 24 percent in 2020 and over 26 percent by 2021.

Maintaining and growing sales during the coronavirus pandemic

A pet product agency can take some comfort in the potential growth in pet ownership and a strong demand for such essential pet supplies as food and cat litter. While other niches may slump somewhat, they won’t completely drop off and are expected to resume growing again by next year.

Based on these insights for the current state of the industry, businesses can take some steps to position their own pet business better. For instance, good tactics might include offering competitive prices for essential pet products to attract and keep customers. Those same customers are still likely to consider some discretionary pet purchases.

Maintaining or creating pet products brand loyalty

At least when it comes to pet food, most owners tend to remain pretty loyal to certain brands. If their pet appears to like a certain kind of food and that food keeps them healthy, their owners will generally keep buying it. As most pet owners know, switching brands can take a period of adjustment, so that’s something most people would rather avoid.

A survey from Civic Science found that even during the pandemic, just about three-quarters of pet owners had more concerns about pet food quality than price. As an interesting note to help develop buyer personas, women, people who cook a lot for themselves, and older people appear most concerned about quality. Dog owners seemed somewhat more concerned than cat owners.

People who value quality the most will tend to turn to online retailers; however, people who also value patronizing locally owned businesses also tend to care a lot about quality. This also suggests that locally owned business could have a good chance to grow their business with online ordering options.

To dig a little deeper, the survey also asked these pet owners some specific questions about their buying behavior:

  • Brand vs. price: Where 40 percent said brand mattered more than price, only 14 percent said price mattered more. To be fair, almost half of the survey respondents said that they considered price and brand just about equally important. Unsurprisingly, typical consumers would rather save money but not at the expense of quality.
  • Sources: About 55 percent of the respondents said they bought their pet food at the store. Of these, 43 percent shopped at either a grocery or discount store and 28 percent purchased from a local or chain pet store. Online sales from Amazon and other online retailers captured about 29 percent of sales.

In conclusion, pet owners do tend do demonstrate brand loyalty. On the other hand, most of these consumers would prefer to find a good deal that won’t make them sacrifice quality. Also, while the number of online shoppers keeps increasing, a majority of pet owners still tend to pick up pet products locally, very often when they’re doing their own shopping.

Consumer pet product shopping concerns

Also, the Civic Science survey asked if pet owners shopped online more now because of the pandemic. About 17 percent said that they did, but seven percent said they shopped online less. Over a third of pet owners replied that they had concerns about obtaining enough pet food during the crisis and almost two-thirds said they had stocked up with enough products to last for at least three weeks.

Some of the steadily increasing demand for essential pet products may come from people stocking up because they have concerns about finding their favorite brands on the shelves. Pet product marketing might do well to focus upon ensuring consumers that they will provide a steady, reliable supply of high-quality pet food to ensure and increase brand loyalty.

Online pet product marketing companies weathering the coronavirus well

Because of social distancing, online shopping for all kinds of products has enjoyed rapid growth during the pandemic. In order to improve pet product marketing for any particular retailer or brand, it helps to look at companies that have demonstrated the most growth. For example, Chewy has recently announced they would hire over 6,000 people to handle the surge in demand at fulfillment centers.

This online retailer has had to contend with higher costs both for labor and for putting additional safety measures in place to protect employee health. On the other hand, Chewy doesn’t operate retail stores at all, so they haven’t had to worry about any fallout from decreased foot traffic or even closed stores.

So, what gives Chewy a competitive advantage for pet product marketing over many other online retailers? Even just before the pandemic, Motley Fool called Chewy a “millionaire making” stock. Even though many marketers consider Amazon unbeatable for online sales, Chewy has managed to take the largest online retail in the world on. A lot of people might regret failing to take the Motley Fool’s advice to buy Chewy stock back in January, but there’s still time to learn from this example.

What is Chewy’s competitive advantage over other online retailers?

Chewy concentrated only upon pet product marketing and nothing else. Mostly, Chewy has managed to stay even with Amazon for prices, selection, reliability, and convenience. Both of these large retailers also have the resources to budget for competitive keywords and other marketing tactics.

Chewy beat Amazon by going the distance to provide exceptional customer service. Examples include hand-written welcome and sympathy cards and even sometimes, hand-drawn portrait photos. Typically, Chewy also employs pet owners who also own pets, so they’re very engaged with the market.

While Chewy has increased private-label product sales, they mostly sell other brands. They have worked on developing their private-label pet packaging design with lots of images of cute, happy pets and big lettering that explains the product’s benefits. You can actually find images of these packages shared quite a bit on Pinterest and other sites. Still, it will probably take some time to get many brand-loyal pet owners to switch, even if they can save money.

Mostly, the company accepts low margins or even losses upon first-time sales because they offer lots of coupons to encourage new customers. They work to profit by retaining customers with discounts for enrolling in the autoship program and by steadily increasing the types and brands of products they sell.

The company has found that repeat customers tend to buy more after having positive experiences with their first purchases. Obviously, Chewy also promotes the popular idea that pets are family members and certainly not just creatures. Their customers tend to identify with the brand because they believe the brand identifies with them.

The future of pet product marketing after coronavirus

Americans have proven famously loyal to their pets, even during economic downturns. Very often, pet owners will compromise on themselves before sacrificing their pet’s needs. Previous economic downturns have demonstrated this quite well. While many pet owners still shop locally, they’re increasingly turning to eCommerce pet stores for convenience, selection, and pricing. Smaller or newer online retailers may have to struggle to compete with giants like Amazon to get a share of new sales.

Providing great service and high-quality products at competitive prices can help. Pet product marketing can attract and retain new customers with price promotions, loyalty programs, and discounted autoshipping offers. By taking a page from Chewy, going the extra mile to prove that a company cares about pets and their pet parents can provide a competitive advantage that won’t necessarily require a huge investment.

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COVID-19 User Behavior and the Impact on Financial Marketing

After recent increases in mobile and online banking, financial marketing should now focus on an adjusted message and technology in these changing times.

The COVID-19 pandemic spread quickly and left a grave impact on worldwide economies and societies in its wake. As part of the fallout, paid search behaviors have also shifted abruptly and dramatically. Some industries have struggled because of this; however, the banking and financial industry can also take advantage of new opportunities. Look at some important changes to PPC for financial services and bank marketing.

COVID-19 behavior changes to PPC for financial services and banks

Of course, the financial and banking industry includes a variety of services and types of companies. As you might expect, paid advertising campaign strategies could vary with the kind of business impacted. To learn how to adjust to behavior changes for PPC for financial services, it’s important to consider a few different aspects of the way customers and businesses have changed.

Financial and bank marketing paid search in general

The WordStream platform provides keyword and other paid advertising services to companies. Thus, they have a long history of monitoring paid search behavior for all kinds of industries over the course of several years. According to WordStream, the financial and banking industry has historically competed for some of the priciest keywords and phrases. Unlike other industries, PPC for financial services may have gotten somewhat easier during the pandemic.

For instance, these are WordStream figures for coronavirus-related changes to the effectiveness and cost of financial keywords:

  • Average CTR: Average click-through ratios have increased 23 percent.
  • Average CVR: Average conversion ratios have increased one percent.
  • Average CPC: Average cost-per-clicks have decreased 27 percent.

As you can see, conversion ratios have not changed much. Even so, financial and bank marketing can benefit from significantly improved CTRs and lower bids. WordStream did not provide any specific keywords, but they did say that less-competitive PPC advertising has actually helped relieved some of the pressure on an extremely competitive industry.

At the same time, they did note that users have shifted towards looking for more experienced assistance with their finances. During a time when many banks and other kinds of finance companies have reacted to social distancing measures by promoting their online services, a bank marketing agency might consider shifting at least some of the budget to helping consumers find live, personalized financial assistance, even if they switch to accessing it by phone instead of by visiting an office or branch bank.

COVID-19 social responsibility ads

Of course, the pandemic has also generated plenty of coronavirus-related searches for all sorts of businesses, including financial ones. Since the virus spreads easily, any threat to local employees also poses a potential threat to everybody around them. During this crisis, people certainly want to know how companies have reacted to the crisis in order to protect the health of their employees and customers.

As one example, BBVA has launched a campaign to let customers know what measures they’re taking to keep people safe. According to the bank’s website, they use paid search, but mostly on social media and not major search engines. Besides using online ads, they also promoted this campaign on TV and radio.

As part of this #StayAtHome advertising campaign: 

  • BBVA has also encouraged customers to make use of their website and app before visiting a branch.
  • In addition, they let people know that most of their branches would limit access to their drive-through windows and ATM machines.
  • They told customers that they have left a few branches open but reduced hours. Typically, they chose to keep branches open that didn’t have drive-through banking or a nearby branch with this service.

In summary, the bank has recognized that some customers may feel inconvenienced by limited access to the bank’s physical branches. In turn, BBVA has explained that they’ve taken these steps to help protect people’s health. They have also let people know that they can find alternative ways to get most of the services that they need.

Just as important, BBVA has also introduced some services to help customers with coronavirus-related financial issues. These include special loan programs, refunds, fee waivers, and extensions or deferments on payments for some of their loans. Thus, they’ve let customers know that they understand the pandemic could have negatively impacted them and want to help. Naturally, they’re using this advertising campaign to promote these new services too.

The CMO of BBVA, Enrique Cornish, says that they want to tell people about the work they’ve done to respond to the coronavirus crisis. Mostly, underscoring the point of these ads, they want to send the message that they’re working to cope with the crisis in the best way they can and are here to help.

How the financial industry can benefit from COVID-19 changes to financial and bank marketing

Plenty of industry analysts have noticed the sudden spike in eCommerce use since the outbreak began. While online shopping had steadily grown more popular over time, the coronavirus crisis has sparked a rapid boom. Similarly, bank customers have grown more accepting of online services over time and even more so since the crisis started.

The Financial Brand, one finance and bank advertising agency, believes this change to customer behavior will remain permanent, just as other analysts predict that consumers will keep using eCommerce more after the crisis ends. They published these results from a recent J.D. Powers survey on banking trends:

  • About one in three banking customers plan to rely upon online services after the crisis. The analysts expect to see this number rise even more as the pandemic runs its course.
  • Banking customers appear most interested in P2P payments and online or mobile check depositing.
  • Acceptance of online and mobile banking services has increased more with younger adults than older ones.
  • People who have already used online banking appear more willing to try mobile apps than people who have only ever visited branches.
  • Customers of the largest banks appear more satisfied with their online and mobile banking experiences than customers of midsize banks.

Overall, banks that can promote their excellent alternatives to physical banks can benefit from these changes to consumer behavior. Customers may find banking websites and apps convenient because they’re available 24/7 and don’t require leaving home. Also, banks may have a chance to save money because these online alternatives cost less than keeping branches and phone banks fully staffed.

Using bank marketing to overcome COVID-19 obstacles

It’s obvious that the coronavirus pandemic has sped up digital transformation in the financial and banking industry. Still, as one industry analyst ironically commented about the shift to eCommerce, in some cases the digital transformation wasn’t completely ready for the digital transformation. Of course, this abrupt shift away from physical branches has generated problems for both customers and banks. Besides, financial companies did not just have the chance to offer digital services as an alternative; they also abruptly needed to limit access to traditional phone and in-person banking.

For example, almost 30 percent of customers surveyed said they’d had more problems trying to get assistance over the phone. As might be expected, about 40 percent of respondents said they’d had trouble finding an open branch when they needed to. Older and less tech-savvy people will take longer to adjust to a new way of banking than younger ones or people who already made a habit out of banking online.

In any case, user behavior has abruptly changed to embrace more online and mobile services. Analysts expect the trend in the future. On the other hand, customers did express less satisfaction with internet banking from midsize banks than large ones. Other areas of banking impacted by the coronavirus might have included longer wait times on phones and more trouble finding open branches.

Overall, more people expected to rely on mobile and online banking more and less upon physical branches. Still, banks and finance companies that hope to benefit from advertising their internet or phone services to replace physical branches need to make certain that these offerings can perform well enough to please their customers. They may also need to invest some extra resources to help some of their customers adjust to the change and understand why its happening.

Making the most of PPC for financial services and banks during and after COVID-19

Like other industries, the financial industry had already begun to shift towards more online access and away from in-person contact. Many customers had already discovered the convenience of having ways to check balances, pay bills, transfer funds, and deposit checks without needing to travel. On the other hand, banks could work more efficiently by shifting services and customers online instead of always having them visit or call a person. Right now, during the outbreak, financial companies may also enjoy the advantage of lower bids and more clicks on their paid ads. Even after this current crisis, consumer behavior trends will probably have changed permanently.

Still, the previous digital transformation had gradually occurred over the span of years and not weeks, so every facet of the industry and all customers were not completely prepared. Taking a page from some of the largest banks and finance companies, it’s a good idea to use paid advertising to respond to customer’s changing behavior and to underscore your primary message.

As demonstrated by some changes to paid search behavior, if customers need experienced financial assistance, financial services companies still need to create and promote a mechanism to provide that. In general, banks can do well by promoting their websites and mobile apps to serve the routine needs of their customers. On the other hand, they should also invest in making sure they have the features and technology to provide great service after customers respond to their ads.

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ECommerce Website Management and Marketing After COVID-19

Read why eCommerce is booming during the coronavirus, and how businesses can retain those customers after the crisis passes.

During these days of the coronavirus outbreak, you might have a hard time picturing a return to normal business conditions. Still, you can already see signs that preventative measures have begun to flatten the curve and even turn it around. Doctors and scientists have remained optimistic that they can devise better treatments and effective vaccines rapidly. Hopefully soon, people can start to resume normal activities and companies can reopen their doors.

Still, most marketers expect at least some of the dramatic changes to consumer behavior to last. More specifically, one sector of the economy, eCommerce, has boomed. With that in mind, it’s important to address eCommerce management and marketing strategies that will ensure that you can retain the gains you may have made for a long time after the coronavirus crisis passes.

How has eCommerce marketing fared during the coronavirus outbreak?

To understand how rapidly eCommerce has grown, take a look at one particular segment, food and beverages. According to eMarketer, they had previously forecasted eCommerce sales for food and beverages would increase during 2020. The pre-coronavirus forecasts predicted growth of over 23 percent and over $32 billion in revenues for the year. While eCommerce had only accounted for 3.2 percent of all receipts in this market,  they had suggested food and beverage as an example of a segment of eCommerce niche without much current penetration and plenty of room for growth. 

Before the crisis, retailers marketing on Amazon may have also enjoyed brisk growth because of the way the largest online retailer had improved logistics to provide quick deliveries. Even though Amazon ranks first in overall eCommerce, it is not the only source of food and beverage. In fact, a large segment of that market also goes to grocers and independent direct-to-consumer companies.

In any case, you should inform yourself by looking at the surge during the first months of coronavirus stay-at-home orders:

  • Just within the three days between March 12 and March 15, a comparison of that same time period from last year showed that orders in that sector boomed by over 200 percent.
  • Another survey sampled the time period between March 1 and March 25, and found 183-percent growth.
  • A poll of consumer behavior between March 1 and March 25 found that American adults reported increasing their online grocery shopping from about 11 percent to 37 percent. Even more, eMarketer reported that shopping online grew steadily more common each week by the middle of March.

Will marketing my product online continue to grow after the coronavirus?

Obviously, people have increasingly turned to eCommerce because they want to avoid crowded grocery stores during the crisis. Also, some retailers have limited hours or even temporarily closed, so consumers need a convenient alternative. Still, you can look at past consumer behavior to predict that many of these consumers will continue to shop online after the outbreak.

Predictably, eCommerce spending has surged during the last quarter of each year. Still, it doesn’t die down after the holiday season ends to the the previous first-quarter levels. Multiple-year charts look more like an ascending staircase than like a series of peaks and valleys. During successive years, sales will surge again the next fourth quarter to even higher levels than the year before. This suggests that once consumers get used to shopping online, they tend to keep the habit.

Which eCommerce website management and marketing strategies will help you retain customers after the coronavirus?

Certainly, shoppers will still return to retail outlets after the crisis passes. At the same time, it’s fair to predict that they will also continue to spend more money online than they did before the pandemic. Even if consumers just switched out the equivalent of one out of ten of their normal shopping trips for an online order, it would have a tremendous impact on eCommerce growth.

Of course, you may have plenty of online competition in your niche and cannot guarantee that all of the customers you attracted during the outbreak will return to your business. These eCommerce marketing suggestions can help you retain more of your customers now and in the future:

Subscription orders

If you’ve done any consumable marketing on Amazon, Shopify, or even your own eCommerce site, you’ve probably run into subscription orders. You often see them for such consumer goods as coffee and dog food, and they let customers create a recurring order every month, typically at a discount. Such DTC companies as Dollar Shave Club and Blue Apron also rely upon the subscription model. They tend to work particularly well in such categories as food, pet food, and beauty.

According to McKinsey Research, the overall subscription market has increased by 100 percent a year, and about 15 percent of all consumers say they have used subscriptions for convenient, repeat ordering at least one time. The model particularly appears to appeal to younger adults who live in urban areas and earn at least $50,000 a year.

Consumers who take advantage of subscription purchases say they enjoy the convenience and value; however, they also say they’re quick to cancel if they don’t receive high-quality service and products. If you decide to offer subscription ordering, you need to make certain that you have the good products and services in place to sustain it.

Loyalty programs

Adding a loyalty program to your eCommerce marketing plan provides you with another way to entice customers to return. Typically, these programs offer such rewards as points to accumulate for free products, discounts, or notification of special promotions. Some companies even give their customers extra points for mentioning their products on their social networks or for providing reviews. If you add a referral program to your loyalty program, you can even encourage your current customers to mention your business to their friends.

Provide flexible customer service options

Recently, a lot of businesses have made their return or cancellation policies more flexible to help their customers out during the current crisis. This adjustment can also give your business a way to make certain that you keep consumers delighted, and even when they’re not, you will have a way to learn about issues and try to correct them. Even though you may adjust your return or cancellation policies now to accommodate uncertain customers, you may decide that your flexibility will also help you retain them in the future. 

You have probably noted that large eCommerce sites like Amazon usually offer a variety of shipping options. For instance, patient shoppers may even get free shipping if they choose a slower option. Customers with urgent needs can opt to spend more for expedited shipping. You might also consider adding promotions that offer more free shipping options for orders over a certain amount, or you can even make that a perk of your loyalty program.

Build a high-quality subscriber messaging list

In the old days, eCommerce marketing companies would have simply called this an email list. These days, you might also consider giving customers the option to choose text messages over emails. Even though most people already receive a lot of messages from businesses and probably don’t read most of them, that’s not true for some companies.

Plenty of businesses can boast that their customers look forward to receiving their communications because they work hard to offer value in exchange for attention. The more you can personalize these lists, the better chance you will have of having customers who perceive your communication as valuable too. For example, you might send special promotions for coffee grinders to customers who have already ordered or at least browsed your unground coffee bean selection. You could direct the offers for tea infusers to customers who have purchased your leaf tea.

Since a subscriber list can prove such a valuable way to retain customers, you may consider offering some perks to entice people to join. For example, you could offer a one-time coupon that entitles your new subscriber to a discounted purchase or upgraded shipping.

Why develop better plans for eCommerce marketing?

Steps you take today to improve your eCommerce website management and marketing can help you enjoy your share of the current eCommerce boom. Once this crisis has passed, your improvements should also help you retain and attract more online shoppers in the future.

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Small Business Marketing During and After the Coronavirus Crisis

Read our 7 small business marketing and customer acquisition strategies to obtain more business during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

Has the coronavirus crisis derailed your customer acquisition strategy? According to recent studies, this serious outbreak has negatively impacted a great number of small businesses. Meanwhile, even more expect crisis-related obstacles in the near future. On the other hand, some smaller companies have made savvy plays to help maintain and even increase business in the future. Learn how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected American companies and which small business marketing ideas can help you acquire new customers and retain your existing ones.

The coronavirus outbreak impact on American small businesses

The National Federation of Independent Businesses published a study of hundreds of small businesses on March 13, 2020. The report found that almost one-quarter of U.S. small businesses had already felt a negative impact. At the same time, about 43 percent of business owners said they predicted a negative impact in the future. Another 37 percent of respondents could not predict ramifications, and only 20 percent of the business owners believed that their business, at least, would have immunity to the virus.

The business owners who reported negative impacts from the coronavirus outbreak mostly had these kinds of problems:

  • Supply chain disruptions: 39%
  • Slow sales: 42%
  • Ill employees: 4%

Again, this survey occurred close to the middle of March, so reactions to the virus had not yet peaked. As the weeks have passed, stay-at-home orders have grown stricter and more common. Even so, just about half of employers who had not yet felt an impact said they had already planned ahead to minimize risks to their business.

Some examples of these measures included purchasing more supplies to improve store, worker, and customer in-store hygiene, working with employees on sick leave policies, allowing more remote work, and arranging for alternative distributors for supplies. The survey did not mention ways that small businesses might adapt their marketing customer acquisition strategy during and after the coronavirus.

How to get more business for my small business during and after coronavirus?

Are you asking how you can keep your business running during the coronavirus and emerge even stronger afterwards? At this time, stay-at-home orders affect almost every part of the country to some degree. Even without them, you will probably see fewer customers who want to visit your store or office. You may even find that the demand for any non-essential products or services you offer has declined.

With all this in mind, the obvious conclusion is to ramp up your digital business. If you don’t conduct much business digitally, you could hardly find a better time to start. Consider these digital small business marketing ideas:

Sell online

Digital Trends pointed out that a number of small businesses have scrambled to take more of their business online during the crisis. As an example, Bonnie Morales owns a small Russian restaurant in Portland, Oregon. Previously, she had no online options to order online or get curbside takeout. She had to close her dining room and layoff staff on a Sunday, decided she needed online ordering on the next Monday, and managed to get basic features live by Tuesday.

While Morales worked very quickly, she said she knew she had lost customers who may have looked for online ordering options previously. She promoted her new curbside delivery and online ordering on such social sites as Instagram, which luckily, she had already established. Other local stores and restaurants have followed this trends. Without an established eCommerce site, the businesses make simple platforms that post menus or list items for sale, and they may simple take orders and collect payment by phone. Small businesses may offer curbside pickup or various delivery options.

Obviously, small businesses can benefit by having more feature-rich eCommerce platforms and of course, digital marketing platforms. During this crisis, these companies might start with the minimum they need to get online and then work on improving both their digital services and marketing as they go.

Connect digitally

Explore platforms that allow you to communicate with your customers, even when they don’t care to visit you in person. You can find plenty of visual chat and meeting apps that will let you give presentations, answer questions, and provide customer service in almost the same way you could do in person. Even doctors and therapists are turning to online appointments when possible these days, and so are insurance agents and attorneys.

Go social

If you haven’t paid much attention to your small business social profiles on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, it’s certainly a good time to get started. If you run a B2B company, you might focus on LinkedIn. No matter what, this is a good time to connect with your market and encourage your employees to do the same.

As to the kind of content you should post, you might take a cure from similar companies that hope to maintain their business and brand during these challenging times:

  • First of all, let people know they can still buy from you online or over the phone. As one ice cream shop owner said, “We have to shout it from the rooftops.” Work on building your connections, so as many people as possible will see your message. On social sites you can search for the kinds of groups that you are likely to appeal to.
  • Let your community know how you maintain a safe, healthy business to protect yourself, your employees, and of course, your customers. Not only will you help reassure anxious customers, you will enhance your brand.
  • Work hard to build personal connections by explaining how your business and employees need their support in order to survive and thrive. Get creative with your offers to adjust them for delivery or pickup options.
  • Consider ways you can give back to the community by supporting hospitals, first responders, and residents. Not only can you support worthy causes, you can promote your good deeds on your own website and social platforms, and very often, the organizations and people you support with give you a bit of social attention too.

Keep advertising online

Typically, businesses that keep promoting themselves during tough times tend to emerge stronger. According to Search Engine Journal, you should try to maintain your marketing budget as close to normal as possible. It’s just that you may adjust your customer acquisition strategy somewhat.

For example, you might not need to encourage customers to visit your non-essential, closed, physical business at the moment. At the same time, you could double down on any online ordering options you offer. Here’s the thing. You may need to reduce spending because of lost revenues; however, you can bet that many of your competitors have to do the same. During this time, you can probably find opportunities to improve brand awareness and gain new customers just because you may face reduced competition for advertising platforms, publishers, and other digital media.

Renegotiate and seek help you need

Many businesses do expect to lose revenue during this outbreak. They may suffer from distribution, productivity, and of course, revenue problems. According to the Harvard Business School blog, this is the time to figure out how to attempt to renegotiate rents, accounts payable, and even debt. During this time, landlords, banks, and creditors know about the coronavirus crisis and may already have programs in place to help. Certainly, they would rather work with small businesses as much as possible than see them close.

Also, the Small Business Administration, the government, and even private lenders have setup emergency loan and grant programs, and these could help with immediate cash flow problems. Act sooner, rather than later. Some of these programs have limited funds and provide loans or other assistance on a first-come-first-serve basis.

In addition, consider partnerships with other companies for your mutual benefits. As an example, a group of companies created a program that committed to donating a percentage of revenues to coronavirus charities. The charitable organization website includes mentions of all the sponsoring companies, and in turn, the sponsoring companies promoted the charity.

Remain flexible

One small Texas manufacturer ran low on orders for its typical industrial products. They found they did have the materials and equipment already on their premises to begin producing face masks for healthcare workers and the public. The company quickly setup product, online ordering, and a social media campaign. In the marketing campaign, they emphasized that this effort would help the country and also help keep employees working.

If your business suffers from a low demand for it’s main products right now, consider ways that you could pivot quickly to produce something that the market will find very valuable. And then, of course, make certain you let people know about it.

Enhance your digital culture

Some kinds of small businesses have managed to stay in business because they could offer opportunities for employees to work from home. With today’s technology, customer service representatives, accountants, and other kinds of professionals can work as and even sometimes more productivity from their home office as they could at the business site. While there’s plenty of technology available and plenty of reasons to encourage remote work, make certain that you choose software and offer guidelines to keep at-home work as secure as in-office work.

Your small business response to coronavirus should be good business, too!

No doubt, many different kinds of businesses will have to struggle during the next several months. Yet, one virtue of owning a smaller business is an enhance ability to pivot quickly to meet new challenges. Even better, your stronger digital presence and the tactics you use to improve cash flow and productivity will serve your company today and for years in the future.

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