The Post-Lockdown Landscape of Digital Marketing


The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly left its imprint on small and local business owners. For the businesses fortunate enough to stay afloat, the downtime has served as an opportunity for self-reflection and self-improvement in several areas of business, including marketing.

As a digital advertising company, we partner with advertising agencies and small businesses across a wide range of US markets. Throughout the pandemic, we have observed the marketing trends of small and local businesses that we expect to continue for the foreseeable future. Here’s how you can evaluate and revamp your marketing strategies so your business remains competitive and relevant now and in the future.

1. (Re)Educate Yourself on Digital Marketing

It’s an excellent time to reeducate yourself on digital marketing solutions. Set up calls with your vendors and list out all marketing strategies you employ. Cover the basics and make sure you understand why each strategy still makes sense for your business. You should also cover alternative solutions and ways you can improve return on your marketing investment (ROI).

Make sure your vendor can speak intelligently to each solution and explain its ROI. You should not only be evaluating your marketing plan, but also the vendors who execute this plan.

2. Shake Up Your Marketing Mix

Businesses need to reevaluate their current marketing mix. Advertising channels do not operate independently of one another—if your strategies are set up thoughtfully, they should complement one another.

Every business is unique: factors like industry, market size, and business objectives make your business one of a kind. Therefore, your marketing mix should be customized to your business.

Don’t be afraid to allocate more money on what is working while removing underperforming channels. In many cases, less is more for small and local businesses when it comes to digital marketing.

3. Manage Campaigns Proactively

Certain advertising channels have more demand than inventory. This occurs when a surplus of advertisers bid on the same audience, forcing costs to rise. Keep a close eye out for saturation and be ready to allocate your budget to more cost-effective strategies.

If you have set budgets for each marketing channel, consider making them fluid so your vendor can move the budget as they see fit. If you wait until a quarterly review with your marketing partner to make this decision, you’ll miss out on opportunities.

4. Let Performance Analytics Guide You

In a historic bull market, very few marketing strategies fail. In this environment, you can take more risks. While we hope the economy is fully restored in short order, small and local businesses are thinking more conservatively in order to reduce risk and the potential for ad waste.

When it comes to digital marketing, you must put more focus on substance rather than hype. In order to do this, monitor performance metrics. New and innovative advertising solutions will almost certainly emerge, and the only way to determine which solutions will work best for you is to rely on the numbers.

Be skeptical of shiny objects. Digital marketing solutions are only as good as the numbers say they are—let the data be your guiding light.

5. Redefine Key Performance Indicators KPIs

Performance analytics are paramount in measuring success. To that end, businesses will need to redefine the proper key performance indicators (KPIs) for their current situation.

For local retail stores, this can be tricky. For instance, site traffic does not always perfectly correlate to store traffic—especially with new public health and safety regulations that affect store traffic—so making site traffic your primary KPI may give you a false appearance of success.

Measure the most concrete metric possible. KPIs will be different for different channels—online bookings and foot traffic attribution are two of the better ones for a local business. Consult your marketing vendor to determine your business’s optimal KPIs.

6. Move to Online Shopping

Consumers have been moving in droves to online shopping for the last two decades, and the pandemic has only accelerated this trend. Fortunately for automotive retail, restaurants, breweries, and flooring stores, Amazon and Shopify cannot disrupt these local businesses in quite the same way.

Nonetheless, this shift will still have large-scale implications. People will have higher standards and expectations for your online presence. Your potential customers will grow accustomed to more modern, sleek, and user-friendly websites with updated product information and online booking capabilities.

You will need to prioritize making this online acquisition funnel as clean and easy as possible. If someone is trying to do business with you, do not put barriers in their way or they will do business with your competitors.

As you adjust to the changes the pandemic has brought to your business, keep these marketing strategies in mind so you can stay ahead of the curve and get the most value out of your marketing and advertising.

Got any questions? Write to us and we’ll get back to you.

Written by

Cody Fowler

Cody serves as Sr. Digital Account Manager at Demand Local since July 2018. He assists clients on campaign management, digital strategy, and planning across all digital channels. Cody has worked with small to medium size businesses across several different industries — from retail flooring to healthcare. He began working in digital advertising in 2016 and has found his calling. He enjoys learning all of the nuances of ad tech and educating and empowering his clients.

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