No one expected to be closing up shop and staying home in the middle of a global pandemic when we began the year. These unprecedented times have many scrambling and facing sleepless nights as sales come to a screeching halt. Small business owners throughout our area and the world fear they may not be able to recover. However, marketing and advertising online are vital to ensuring success during and after coronavirus is under control.
It is more important now than ever before to connect with leads and customers online. It may seem like digital marketing efforts are futile as the number of unemployed individuals rises, but that is simply not the case.
More people are online now that many individuals are permitted to work from home. In fact, recent records show that Internet activity is up 18 percent since January 1st. While that may seem like a huge increase, those working from home are human. Now that they don’t have their boss possibly walking by and monitoring what they are doing, they will “cheat” a little more than usual. They will not be working 100 percent of the time. They will be conducting online searches and scrolling on social media. The new environment will allow them to do more of what they like online during usual business hours.
Businesses that take advantage of this new spike in daily online users will see significant ROI when the coronavirus pandemic is over. COVID-19 may be throwing everyone for a loop right now, but it will not last forever. The workforce and economy will recover in time. Digital marketing and advertising must continue through this pandemic.
You need to continue planting seeds in the minds of leads so that they remember you once they have the funding available and freedom to pursue your store. If your business is fully online, you are missing out on qualified leads every moment you are not driving them to your website. Even if they do not make a purchase, you can still make a memorable impression and retarget them in the future.
Digital marketing and advertising is a process of nurturing leads throughout their customer journey until they finally close on a sale. It takes time to complete this process. The perfect time to nurture leads into sales is when they are stuck indoors with wifi and bountiful time to browse.
Regardless if your business has previously made sales online or not, ever business should complete the following digital marketing activities during coronavirus pandemic:
Continue reading to learn more about why these marketing and advertising tactics are vital for your business to complete. Stay till the end for bonus information about additional ways you can market your small business during this time.
While users may have more time to be online, they aren’t changing their search habits. Many still refuse to go beyond the first page of search engine results (SERPs). It’s important for your business to be as close to the top of the results as possible. With PPC ads, your website can be the first result individuals see when they conduct their online search.
Some PPC keywords will see decreased rates at this time, such as those related to the travel industry. Others will remain the same and some will see an increased rate due to the popularity of the keyword. Any penny spent will pay for itself once individuals are able to leave self-quarantine and visit your store.
It’s important to remember that your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy should still be in place. It is a long-term solution that will help your website have more results displayed when a search query is completed. However, in order to reap rewards quickly, you will need to “pay to play” by enacting a PPC campaign for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
Along with PPC advertising on search engines, you should consider running paid ads on your social media accounts. More endless scrolling will be conducted during this global pandemic. It’s important to have your business in front of your target audience on the platforms they choose to use. All major social media platforms offer some form of online advertising. Many offer to match what you spend if it is your first time running an ad. They give you free money to spend on display ads for your business - take it and use it to garner new leads! ROI on free money is always greater than ROI on your own funds.
Blogging is an incredible tool for putting a human touch on the face of a business. You can create evergreen content that can be recycled in time or you can speak about how your business and team are handling COVID-19. Encourage comments and engagement to further connect with your customers. Writing a successful blog post can lead to long term results that improve your SEO ranking for your domain. If you currently have downtime, you have plenty of time to create blogs that align with your brand and the products/services you offer.
You will want to consider conducting keyword research to know what individuals are searching for when it comes to what your business can provide. You can use the Google Keyword Planner to type in keywords you have in mind or you can provide the domain of a competitor to see what keywords they have on their website.
To further supplement your blogging efforts, see if you can become a guest blogger or guest podcast speaker on an influencer’s site. It will allow you to place your business in front of qualified leads who very well may visit your website. If you can’t immediately find an influencer who will bring you on as a guest, write about other businesses or influencers in your industry. Then, let them know you have given them a shoutout and ask for a simple request in return. It can be a social media post, like, share, or whatever you feel would be appropriate.
Many businesses across a variety of industries are seeing a decrease in their social media engagement. Some are seeing as much as a 15 percent decrease since the coronavirus pandemic began. However, you cannot let these numbers scare you into dropping your social media content strategy.
It is important to let your customers know that you are doing what you can to continue to serve their needs during these trying times. As many are already on social media, spending some time each day connecting with customers is crucial.
Create posts that encourage conversations between you and your customers. With the right questions, you may even create a space where your customers can communicate with one another. Keep in mind that you cannot be insensitive during this time. Everyone is affected in one way or another.
Despite what you may have heard, email marketing is still very much alive. With as many as 50 percent checking their email in bed and 40 percent reading email on the toilet, it is easy to get in front of your audience while they are scrolling away on their phone. Individuals will have quite a bit of additional downtime until the coronavirus quarantine is lifted. Eventually, they will grow bored of scrolling on other apps and turn to their inbox.
While updates about how your business is handling COVID-19 are important, you need to create innovative email ideas that make people want to open and read the email. Videos are always a hit, especially when they contain tips and tricks the reader may not have thought of before.
Focus on engaging with your audience at this time and wait to hard sell them later down the line. Right now, you are focused on becoming top of mind for the product/service you offer. The way you become top of mind is by consistently being in front of your target customer.
The world primarily turns to Google for information and updates regarding coronavirus and business hours. Your Google My Business profile allows you to keep your customers up-to-date on the latest information. From store hours to product/service specials, your customers can find it all without ever leaving the results page. The fewer clicks an individual needs to take in order to find information, the more satisfied they will be with your brand.
It’s important to update your profile if anything has changed with your store hours or available products/services. You can easily update the information and then create a post that can be read by viewers. The post provides you the opportunity to go more in-depth about how your business is handling COVID-19. If you are trying to offer discounts, you can easily market and advertise them right from your GMB profile. If you want, you can even set up a PPC ad in minutes based on the changes you made.
If you haven’t already set up your Google My Business profile, you are losing out on customers. Contact Emily immediately so she can help you begin the process.
Times are tough for both customers and business owners. With the level of uncertainty surrounding the economy and the length of quarantine, it can be difficult to find the right language to use online right now.
It is important to focus on building and strengthening connections with customers in order to remain top of mind when your product/service is mentioned. Not everyone will have disposable income right now, so it is better to focus on bringing smiles to people’s faces and reminding them you can serve their needs rather than hard-selling them.
Some of the best marketing and advertising tactics small businesses can implement in order to see some sales come in during this coronavirus pandemic:
This pandemic is certainly difficult, but we will survive.