There is no secret, COVID-19 has impacted all businesses and have left some wondering, what’s next?
In times like these, marketing can tend to take a backseat to other factors, which may appear more vital to your business. However, with internet traffic skyrocketing due to “work from home” orders, right now is an excellent opportunity to form or realign your DIGITAL marketing strategy.
Our experts have weighed in on several digital marketing tips and ideas that can help your business during this tough time of COVID-19.
Why is Digital Marketing Important Right Now?
More than ever, it’s crucial to stay in front of your current and prospective customers even if your business is temporarily closed. At some point, things will return to “normal” and you must be ready to come out ahead.
Now is the time to be on the offensive and keep your products, services, or brand in front of potential and current customers. If you go entirely away for a few weeks or months, people quickly forget about you and will simply move on to the next company. Did you know 82% of consumers searching online favor brands they know?
It is crucial customers remain familiar with your company, so they consider your product or service when it is time again for them to make purchase decisions.
Regardless if you are a B2C or B2B company utilizing digital marketing now is a great time to beat the competition and come back stronger than ever before.
Our goal is to provide you with some practical and cost-effective strategies to help your business grow.
Be sure to check out the tools listed at the end of this article!
Create and Maintain a Social Media Presence
First things first, ask yourself, do you have a social media presence? If not, now is the perfect time to create social accounts for your business if you haven’t already. With so many people at home with more time than ever, there is an increase in social media activity, making it the perfect place to promote your business and let people know you are still here for your customers.
Social media is reliant on posting high-quality content. Whether you are just getting started or just need a little help, we are sharing our ideas for tackling both organic and paid social ads.
Here are a few content ideas fill your followers’ news feeds:
- Post content about philanthropy and giving back – How are your employees and community affected, and what are you doing to “pay it forward”? Impressions made right now will last. There is a fine line between showing the world you care and a transparent PR stunt. Be specific, show empathy, and don’t expect anything in return.
- Publicize how your business is being affected by COVID-19 – Whether your company is open and operating business as usual, have made adjustments directly affecting customers, or are closed, you need to announce that information with the public. A personal video message is a great way to make a human connection.
- Communicate with your customers – Get into the conversation with customers, ask questions, answer questions, keep them up to date on your business, let them know of new ideas or concepts you may be trying, or experimenting with. Keep communicating with your customers, and they will remember you when things get back to “normal.”
- Be active on your social media accounts – Clutter is everywhere right now. People and pages are posting more than ever, and you want to cut through it. Maintain a steady posting schedule to keep your name and services out there for people to engage with, and don’t forget to include compelling images or videos that will capture people’s attention.
Personalization is good. An example is making a video with the owner, CEO, or executive, explaining how your business will be operating during this time. Having the face of a significant person talking to you through video is more personable than a generic text post that appears templated.
Paid Ads On Social Media
Take your social media management one step further by utilizing paid ads or boosted posts. If you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve compiled several suggestions for you to implement:
- Put your budget behind valuable content – Is your post interesting to the audience? Are there actionable items for your audience to follow? Does your post provide new insight on a specific topic? If you answered yes to any or all of these, then it might be content that would be worth throwing some money behind. Go ahead and boost that post to reach more people!
- Develop a goal to accomplish – Pay attention to the options given when you begin creating your ad, as these will correspond with your ultimate business goal. Are you focusing on awareness, consideration, or conversions? Remember this goal when deciding what content to promote.
- The audience is the key – You can have an incredibly written blog or a killer landing page, but if the custom audience you’ve created doesn’t align well with the content you’re sharing, then your budget could have most likely been spent elsewhere. Take a look at the location, age, interests, and location of whom you want to reach. Social ads succeed when companies take the time to research and analyze audience demographics.
Keeping “how will this benefit a current/potential customer” top of mind every step of the way when working with paid social goes a long way on every social platform.
Transition to an Ecommerce Site
Many businesses recently are forced to close the doors to their brick and mortar stores, leaving many to wonder how they are going to generate revenue. Maybe it’s time to sell online?
Before you start to say: “that sounds extremely hard to accomplish” or “I don’t know how even to begin something like that,” let us just say it is possible and a lot easier than you might think. Here is how you can begin selling your products online:
- Create an online store using Shopify, WooCommerce for WordPress, Squarespace, or simply add a secure form that accepts payments to your website.
- Add a catalog of your products to your Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts.
First, start small by creating a basic online store using an e-commerce tool, such as Shopify or WooCommerce.
There are many tools equipped with “template stores” you can use immediately to showcase a hand-picked selection of your best selling products. Remember, you are starting small; therefore, it’s smart to begin with a handful of products instead of attempting to upload your entire catalog.
The idea is to serve your loyal customer base with the products they have come to love. Over time you will gain some traction with them, then you can slowly build your catalog, which may start to attract new customers.
Once you set up your new e-commerce site, connect it to your social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Linking the store to social media is an essential step if your business wants to share and promote individual products in social posts easily. Not only does this give your shop higher visibility because of your social following, but it is an additional avenue to drive traffic to your site.
There are a plethora of benefits to taking advantage of e-commerce during the current climate. You can prove your business is adaptable to consumer buying habits, consequently maintaining a robust and loyal customer base and building your brand’s reach over time.
Ramp Up your Email Marketing
Go beyond the quarterly newsletters. Now is the time to plan out quality content to share with current customers and prospects. Dive into your products or services to see where your focus should be.
Keep in mind that email marketing isn’t just about promotions or discounts. It’s about giving your audience content that’s worth reading. Also, keep in mind sending out one email is not going to move the needle. Create an email cadence to consistently put your brand in front of current and potential customers.
For B2C companies sending out promotions can be part of the strategy as it does have benefits for the customers but also consider sending out interesting, informative, and relevant information. Tell your customers about the products you are selling, create a connection through a story. Highlight a product or an employee and inform your audience about something they didn’t know. Provide value!
If you are a B2B company, you may consider going into more detail on one of your services or employees, doing spotlights on projects, or sharing case studies.
Keep communicating – If you already have an email list or are currently trying to curate one, think about sending out an email to your database of current clients addressing concerns with COVID-19 and the effect it has on your business or theirs. Let your customer base know how you can help them during this time.
Create enticing subject lines and valuable content by promoting a blog, sharing a case study, or highlighting a company tradition or employee. Keep your content varied each week to boost those open and click-through rates. Finally, remember to encourage your audience to follow you on social media for additional content or updates.
Give your Website a Little Extra Attention
Are you embarrassed to show your website to prospective clients? Well, now’s the perfect time to update it. It’s important to continually reassess the content on your website, the site design, and the user experience.
Ask yourself these questions to determine if your website needs a refresh:
- Does it look outdated?
- Is it mobile-ready?
- Can users find the information they need quickly and in the fewest amount of clicks?
- Is your site hard to navigate and cluttered?
- Does your website provide your potential clients with the answers they are seeking?
- Does your website content explain your products and services and clearly outline the benefits?
Site content – When reviewing your current website content, keep Google in mind or, in other words, make sure your website is search engine optimized.
Are you using relevant keywords? Are your titles clear, direct, yet engaging?
Have you taken a look at meta descriptions in awhile?
All of these are things you should be asking. Keeping content updated and relevant will help your pages rank higher in Google.
Keep SEO top of mind by replacing some copy with more specific keywords, rewriting page titles, and thinking like you are a customer searching the internet for this information. What would you be typing into Google?
RELATED ARTICLE: 7 Tips for Designing Landing Pages that Convert
Time to Focus on Design and User Experience (UX)
Once you have evaluated the messaging and visual elements – the user UX design should be the next thing on your radar.
- Keep It Simple – Minimize the steps a visitor needs to take before making a purchase or finding the information they are searching for. Every extra step is a potential exit point, so make it easy!
- Make it mobile-friendly – Speaking of making it easy, ensure that your site is responsive to mobile devices. In 2019, 52.4% of web traffic came from mobile devices. Test your website to ensure your text and button are large enough to provide excellent usability for your eyes and fingers.
- Have a clear call to action – Don’t get in the way of the user. The steps a site visitor will take to get the information they want should be clear and distinct. Tell them precisely what you want them to do next. If the goal is for the user to make a purchase or schedule a consultation, that option should be clear – “Schedule Your Appointment.”
- You don’t have to reinvent the wheel – One of the reasons buttons and navigation look similar on almost every website is because they need to be functional without a second thought. A user needs to be able to scan a web page and find the information they want. It’s okay to let your navigation be simple.
Check the speed of your mobile site. Remember faster is better especially when it comes to mobile – https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite/
Tips for B2B Companies
For B2B companies, in particular, in-person sales visits are declining due to social distancing and work from home orders, but here are a few tips to help you reach potential clients using digital tactics:
- Update your business summary and personal profile – Start by including industry-related keywords and work those into your job title and job responsibilities. This technique will help you and your company appear in more search results, increasing your chance that someone will view your profile or page.
- Become active – Post content, share articles, make comments and interact with others
- Create a showcase page on your business profile – This allows you to highlight a product or service and personalize it to your specific audience. LinkedIn users can follow singular Showcase Pages without following your business, allowing businesses to cater to the audience specific to the page. Showcase pages can be particularly helpful if you serve different market verticals. You would create a showcase page for each vertical you serve and then create and promote content specific to your audience in each vertical.
- Run sponsored posts (aka ads) – Linkedin has robust targeting, which makes it a leader in B2B paid advertising. You can curate an audience based on rich demographic data such as job function, seniority, company name, geography, industry, and more. There is also interest-based, persona, and custom audience targeting. Use these targeting options to your advantage when running ads!
Programmatic advertising – Programmatic advertising is becoming more popular every day, and the options are becoming endless. Programmatic platforms provide detailed and specific targeting leveraging 3rd party data to pinpoint your exact audience during the decision making phase or anywhere along the funnel you want to reach them. With programmatic ad spending exceeding $45 billion in 2019, if you are not using programmatic ads, you may be missing out.
Account-based marketing – The basic concept here is to leverage your CRM data to serve ads directly to your prospects or current clients through various channels such as display advertising, social media, email, retargeting, and even connected TV. This powerful strategy can move prospects through the funnel quickly and also nurture current customers to turn them into repeat buyers. If your sales team is limited or you want better leads for them to close, then you should strongly consider an account-based marketing strategy.
The Toolbox: Tools to Help Your Business Succeed
Our team has compiled a list of resources and tools to help you execute and succeed with digital marketing and your website strategy:
Social Media Tools:
- Hootsuite – A social media management and scheduling tool. With a free plan or small businesses, it’s simple to use and integrate with all your profiles.
- Buffer – similar to Hootsuite. Cool feature: Buffer suggests the perfect moments to post based on follower activity.
- Gain – Great tool for scheduling post and content approval. If multiple people need to see/approve the content before it goes live, this is the tool for you!
Email Marketing Tools:
- MailChimp – The free plan provides you with basic email marketing features such as email creation and scheduling. They have plenty out of the box templates, and the interface is straightforward to use. List management or segmentation could be better.
- Constant Contact – They have tons of templates to get you up and running quickly. The reporting is more comprehensive and robust than Mailchimp, but they do not offer a free plan.
- Shopify – Shopify includes everything you need to set up your online store and sell online. It’s easy to use with flexible templates and offers various payment options. Shopify is an all-in-one solution that includes hosting. Customizing your shop can prove to be a challenge, but if you simply want to sell a product, this option might be for you.
- WooCommerce – If you currently have a WordPress website, then you want to look into Woocommerce. It works with existing sites, comes with flexible templates, and is entirely customizable.
- Squarespace – Squarespace is a super simple website builder platform that allows you to quickly and easily build an e-commerce store. If selling a service suits your business, this might be a solution for you. In addition to selling products, Squarespace has the built-in ability for scheduling appointments for your clients and collecting payments online. The only drawback here is that Squarespace is challenging to customize if you have a unique business model.
- Paperform – Have just a few products or services you want to sell online? Paperform might be the solution you need. A quick and easy form builder that takes the pain out of accepting payments. Simply create a form or choose from a ton of existing templates, then add the form to your existing product or service web page and start collecting payments right away.
- Stamped – If you are creating a WordPress website, then you MUST collect reviews. Stamped is an affordable way to curate reviews for your products with automated emails that make it easy for customers to submit product reviews. Loaded with a ton of other features, including net promoter scores, user-generated content, and a product based Q&A module, Stamped is our go-to tool.
Our team at 42connect knows it’s a confusing, stressful time for many businesses, and we are here to help. Our goal is to help companies to grow even in times like these.