The #COVID19Climate led to changes in almost every aspect of our lives. Many companies have struggled just to stay afloat. Any effort to keep your business at the forefront of your customers’ minds, as we’ve learned, is essential. The key to a business’s survival during these times has been digital marketing.
If customers are unable to find you online, it’s like you don’t exist. You may once have had enough business just from clients visiting your brick-and-mortar store, but the likelihood is you’ve had to close shop at some point for an inconvenient period of time. Even if you were lucky enough to stay open, consumers have shifted to the online world in greater numbers than before. To keep surviving (and, better still, thriving), offering products and services over the internet has been critical — and customers need to be aware of this option.
Even companies who have had a digital presence for a while have needed to beef up their efforts, as many supplementary marketing activities haven’t been possible due to #SocialDistancing — think expos and other in-person events. However, you can be just as successful at reaching your audience as you were before, as long as you use the right technology.
Where You Should Be Focusing Your Efforts Right Now
Uncertainty about what the future holds, as consumer behaviors have evolved, means it is critical to direct your digital marketing efforts to the right places. Scaling back, as George Fischer explains, will ensure you both avoid overspending and invest only in activities that will lead to returns. With this in mind, five key activities are essential.
1. Social Media Automation and Advertising
The first place your customers will look for you online is on social media. At a minimum, you need to be on the most important platforms, which, according to Statistica, are Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Most of your audience will be using Facebook or Instagram (if not both) on a regular basis. When you throw YouTube into the mix, you’re able to provide users with more in-depth content — to answer their questions, present your offerings, and show off your brand’s personality.
Whereas most of your social media posts should be organic, you do want to include ads in your strategy. This will expand your reach, meaning you’ll see results sooner. Normally, you’d want some ads to increase foot traffic to your store, but in the #COVID19Climate, you’ll want to just focus on driving visitors to your website. This approach has helped businesses stay in business, and it has opened a door for business expansion.
A great thing about building a presence on both Facebook and Instagram is that you can link the ad campaigns, running the same ads and tracking results for both platforms in Facebook Ads Manager. This is a huge time saver. To save even more time, set up automation for as many social tasks as possible: scheduling posts, responding to FAQs, and generating reports, for instance.
2. Customer Communication
Email marketing is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers. Email newsletters have offered a way to keep clients informed about how businesses have changed during COVID-19 and let them know how they can continue to take advantage of offerings.
Newsletters are equally effective for nurturing new customers. Provide prospects with useful content to ensure they stay subscribed and they’ll start to develop a connection to your brand, even if they’d never heard of you before the pandemic.
You can send all types of content through email newsletters: tips, fun facts, links to blog posts, latest announcements. Something you should definitely send out, at least on occasion, is case studies. With a case study, you demonstrate your credibility and convert leads into customers faster.
3. Boosting Your Brand
Boosting your brand is most effective with a subtle approach. The last thing you want is for users to feel like you’re pushing your products on them — it’s best if they feel like they stumbled across your offerings almost by accident. There are several ways you can achieve this.
For one thing, use native advertising. These ads look like regular social media posts or appear as recommended content on a website.
Another top trend is influencer marketing. #SocialDistancing has meant that many influencers are on the lookout for more brands to promote. But there’s no need to shell out for a celebrity influencer — a micro-influencer who’s an important voice in your niche could be just what you need.
Yet other forms of brand boosting include targeted messages and articles about your company. Guest blogging, for instance, can introduce potential customers to your brand at the same time as providing them with valuable information.
Lastly, decide if affiliate marketing could work for you. This involves using affiliates to promote your company through links in blog posts, review articles, and YouTube videos that examine your offerings.
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4. Brand Expansion
For certain types of businesses, the #COVID19Climate provided an opportunity to grow. It all begins with expanding your reach.
One option is to use channel partnerships. The right choice of channel partner will have experience in your industry, technical capabilities to meet your requirements, and, perhaps most importantly, the desire to work with you.
Another option is to sponsor events to put your brand in front of a new audience. Even in times of #SocialDistancing, there are sponsorship opportunities. For instance, you can sponsor virtual events like online conferences, webinars, and social media events.
5. Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is what ensures that people who have never heard of your business discover your website. Now that you need to attract new customers, this is more important than ever. The top SEO strategies are always changing as Google tweaks its algorithm, but Search Engine Watch names several tactics that every business needs to be using in 2021:
- A review strategy
- High-quality content
- Site design with user experience in mind
- A keyword strategy
- Link building
In addition to applying these tactics, it’s important to monitor your performance. Google Analytics allows you to track your campaigns and see how users are arriving at your website.
By embracing digital marketing, you’ll do more than survive as a business. You’ll be able to enrich the lives of your customers who rode that wave of uncertainty with you and will be overjoyed to rejoin you as a consumer.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about how to get started with these meaningful, data-driven marketing initiatives.