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When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit early 2020, most businesses were blissfully unaware of the economic impact that was about to hit them.
Some were braced for impact, but it was those who were most agile that proved to be able to adapt and cope with the massive shift in consumer trends on the horizon.
With ‘stay at home’ orders being implemented in most countries, businesses were suddenly faced with the real and present prospect of an impending economic catastrophe.
Sadly in many circumstances, adaptability was almost impossible, at no fault of their own.
Sectors such as hospitality, entertainment and so-called ‘non-essential’ businesses were forced to close their doors at the government’s decree.
It was frankly brutal.
It was at this point that every business owner was faced with the same conundrum – how to adapt and thrive.
Those who were already trading online and distance working found the situation of little inconvenience.
Those with fixed premises and a customer facing environment were presented with the need to make changes – and fast!
As a result of these changes, consumer spending quickly shifted from offline to online, with internet purchases and business conducted via the web en mass.
Every business knew at this precise point that getting found online was critical to long term survival.
In this article, we explore some of the best tips to digital marketing during a pandemic.
And how you can maximise your business exposure on any size of budget, to survive and thrive.
If you already have a website, it’s crucial to ensure it’s optimised to the max.
With organisations now turning their attentions to being found online, every business’ focus will be about getting to the summit of search results.
So competition levels will have already increased significantly.
The only sure fire way to know how to correctly optimise your website is to understand audience trends.
Keyword and search phrase research is your best weapon to understanding where the best opportunities lie.
Then once you have clarity on where to find business opportunities, your overall digital marketing strategy falls into place.
It’s then down to tasking your SEO agency or web designer to optimise the existing content on your site, and to potentially build content to target any newly discovered opportunities.
Make sure your content is evergreen and where content gaps exist, plug those gaps with content that will outrank others.
It’s a simple process of understanding what your customers are looking for, and delivering the products, services or content they need.
During the pandemic, use of social media platforms soared.
Whether it was to stay in touch with friends and family, keep up with developments, or to discover what other businesses were doing to stay afloat, social platforms were the go to resource for information.
Depending on your product or service offering, choosing the right social platforms is key.
Instagram for one is growing at an incredible rate.
Many businesses use the platform to promote their products in a market saturated with an audience hooked on visual media and fast moving consumer goods.
More ‘traditional’ social platforms like Facebook still have a huge audience and allow marketing to a targeted and willing audience via their advertising platform, or directly to followers.
Whichever platforms you choose to use, there’s no doubt that social media allows you to enhance your brand awareness to a potentially global audience
They present new and exciting ways for brands to connect with consumers through creative content, online events or live streams.
And best of all, it’s highly cost effective.
As a result of the pandemic, traditional working hours are a thing of the past.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to work every hour of the day.
With the rapid emergence of artificial intelligence, site owners can sell in their sleep by using live chat and chatbot software.
There’s a wide range of chat software platforms to choose from, many of which have pricing plans that do not cost a penny to use.
One example is Smartsupp, which is free for a single user and allows you to set up autoresponders to certain queries, page views and user behaviours.
By adding an additional layer of interaction, you improve your website’s user experience and increase the chances of visitors becoming transactional.
With a huge surge in people going online during the pandemic, you need to ensure you add additional layers of convenience and ease of use when visitors reach your website.
If you were already implementing marketing strategies prior to the pandemic, those same methods may not be appropriate for the post-COVID world.
If you built networks and customer bases physically, it is understandable to have to switch to a more distanced digital solution until the epidemic is over.
Whether you need to stay in touch with existing customers or to reach out to potential new clients, utilizing video conferencing software has to be one of your key considerations.
Whilst video is never going to be a long term substitute to face-to-face meetings, it does allow for a more direct solution to getting people around a virtual table much faster.
Key advantages mean no travelling to meetings or the office, thus freeing up more time to focus on other tasks.
With distance based business operations, existing goals may not be achievable.
So try to look at ways to generate new business or maintain existing relationships through alternative means.
In a fast changing world, staying relevant is key to maintaining business activity.
So assess your service and product offer, and see whether your currently marketing methods still resonate with your target market to suit.
Many consumers base their purchasing choices on opinions and current trends.
So staying ahead of the ever changing face of social habits is critical to ensuring your brand is sending the right message to various demographics.
It is without question COVID has affected every single business operations, no matter which sector they belong to.
And like every crisis, there’s winners and losers.
Whichever side you end up on will greatly depend on your ability to adapt and change to the times, and to identify opportunities when they arise and seize them.
There’s no magic bullet when it comes to navigating the minefield that is the economic challenges laid in front of us.
But every effort to reach your customers in new and innovative ways will go a long way to help you become a recognised and agile brand that can thrive in such testing times.