The verdict has fallen: coronavirus is one of the most devastating pandemics the modern world has ever seen. The consequences of this global catastrophe span beyond disease and isolation. Economic disarray can be observed all over the world. In China, retail sales already dropped by 19% in the first quarter. 1 out of 5 restaurants across America may have to close permanently. These times can be alarming, particularly if you’re looking to avoid financial losses entirely.
Many small businesses operate based on customer engagement and interaction, both online and offline, and this period of social distancing can disrupt the traffic to your sites or expand your customer base. This is why digital marketing has become more crucial than ever.
As we know it, the world is experiencing an unprecedented pivoting towards alternative methods of interaction, shopping, and service-providing. Gyms are paying their personal trainers to give fitness classes online; birthdays are being celebrated through virtual-party platforms. It is no surprise that the Amazon stock has peaked in value; people are aware that we are gradually moving to a world where all business is conducted online. Getting ahead of this trend by capitalizing on your current digital marketing systems, and creating new ones to match the market change, will be a crucial strategy to offset the impact of COVID-19.
Here’s everything you need to know to adapt your digital marketing strategies to the current global business landscape.
Drastic Cuts Aren’t As Efficient As You Might Think
Many small businesses are currently experiencing a drop in their demand for products or services resulting from COVID-19’s impact on tourism, restoration, international trade, retail, and transportation. This drop can be frightening because it leaves management to establish where to make spending cuts to avoid losing too much money. Often, these cuts will have to be on staff, operating hours and capacity, and even marketing.
However, studies from past recessions have shown that this tactic isn’t always effective. Lowered spending can often result in the loss of business. As the availability of your products and services shrink, so does customer interest and public awareness of your brand. Large corporations already have the structures and financing in place to sweep in to fill the market gaps left by the gradual “pulling back” of smaller businesses on all kinds of spending. Therefore, even if you’re cutting on costs with the intention of eventually returning to your initial spending and operational capacity, there may be more to lose during this period of austerity than you might think. If you need financing to keep your operations running like they used to, you may want to check out your available coronavirus loan relief options.
Drastic cuts on sectors like marketing are likely to sink your demand to the point you may struggle to save it from the upcoming recession entirely. Instead, you might want to look for marketing methods that are more cost-effective during this period. Strong digital marketing can be much cheaper than traditional marketing. Print advertising and digital billboard advertising have lost a significant portion of their appeal; instead, the provision of compelling content and strong social media marketing can help reel in new customers at a fraction of the cost. You will want to invest more in email marketing, the creation of newsletters and frequently updated content, and keep your social media pages active.
Internet usage around the world is projected to increase, with many people’s work meetings and studies being conducted entirely online. During this time, social media use is likely to spike, which can be an opportunity for businesses with strong marketing content to gain new attention. You will have to adapt your methods to appeal to your social-distancing customers, for example, by providing weekly webinars in which you share your expertise on your business, industry, services, or products. Webinars are free to conduct on a variety of internet platforms, and you may charge a fee to your watchers to compensate for profit losses.
Organic Traffic Isn’t Necessarily Growing With The Increased Internet Usage
Checking your traffic stats can be discouraging because most small businesses are currently experiencing low organic traffic to their sites. An increase in the general public’s internet use does not guarantee that their web-surfing interests will span all sectors of the internet; if anything, it suggests that a few popular sites currently have a hold on most internet use. This is because the lack of physical interaction must be compensated with video calls, with social media use and virtual entertainment. Rather than competing with these platforms for your audience’s attention, capitalize on the increased traffic they experience.
You may want to invest in some social media advertising. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube will allow you to market your product to the customer base most likely to be interested in your business. They will offer you a viable space amidst potential customers’ social media use, which can significantly improve your conversion rate.
A few other methods of maximizing on the increased traffic to social media giants include:
- The creation of insightful, relevant SEO content
- The creation of promotional social media campaigns
- The use of “live” video features (found on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube) for a customer to a service provider interaction
- The use of hashtags for competitions and giveaways
- Accessible customer service through social media inboxing
Quality Matters More Than Ever
The pandemic is likely to engender an increase in the publishing of SEO content. With more time to conduct research and an increased need to diversify marketing, more businesses will endeavor to produce engaging content for their audiences. Video marketing is an excellent way of engaging customers, for instance, with short vlogs or commissioned animation videos. You can find an array of freelance graphic designers, animators, and brand influencers looking to earn short-term commission contracts in exchange for creating promotional content for your brand.
If you’re looking for more accessible options, consider hiring professional copywriters to come up with unique written content for your site. Blogs are incredibly compatible with social mediums, through which links can be shared, and content can be dissected. The more engaging, informative, instructive, and unique your content is, the more likely it is to get linked to via social media platforms. Remember that increased content publication means more competition for your posts; therefore, you will need to ensure that your material is top-notch. Encourage the sharing of your content by incorporating social-media-sharing widgets at the bottom of all your blog’s posts.
Remember Surviving Isn’t Impossible
It can be easy to despair, watching your demand shrink, and the economy shows no immediate sign of recovery. However, whether it takes weeks or months, business activity will have to go back to some form of normalcy. The businesses that have managed to maintain their customer base engaged and interested will be the first to experience growth. According to Warren Buffet, it is crucial to “be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful;” a time of economic instability is potentially your opportunity to take advantage of your competitors’ unwillingness to spend. When competitors slack on marketing (fail to update their content and web pages and lose customers from lack of interaction), you can win over their customer base by keeping your efforts consistent. By adapting your digital marketing strategies to the changes in your customers’ behavior, expectations, and needs, your business stands a good chance of surviving the COVID-19 storm.