The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on all aspects of business marketing. As the ripple effect of COVID-19 careens globally, entrepreneurs must take a proactive approach to coronavirus digital marketing solutions in order to get back in the game.
COVID-19, which has swept across the world and affected millions of people, has prompted businesses to keep at least 75 percent of their human resources at home. This meant closing numerous establishments and companies, including movie theaters, restaurants, recreation facilities and other places where people gather in large numbers.
Months after the coronavirus outbreak, the United States has started to reopen and relax shelter-in-place orders. Several states have already reopened many businesses. On May 1, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that restaurants, retail stores and movie theaters could reopen at 25 percent capacity while maintaining social distancing. On May 8, Abbott allowed hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and tanning salons to reopen. On May 18, gyms in Texas can start letting in a limited number of customers.
Is your company ready to return to business as usual? Restore and strengthen your brand’s online presence with these COVID-19 digital marketing tips.
The detrimental impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt across all businesses in all industries. Below are 10 of the best COVID-19 digital marketing tips from our staff of experts to position your company for growth and stay ahead of the curve.
The Impact of Coronavirus to Businesses Worldwide
Coronavirus has disrupted local and international livelihoods, communities and businesses. Cities in lockdown, global trade in disarray, companies and schools going fully remote, sports leagues shut down and tourism restrictions in place — undoubtedly, the COVID-19 outbreak has ushered in a “new normal.”
Even as the threat of the virus starts to dissipate, the coronavirus pandemic has completely redefined the way we do business. According to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in an interview with CNN Business, successful economic reopening will happen in stages. It will require the implementation of improved health and safety measures.
In line with health and safety precautions, people have a new appreciation for the ease of buying groceries online. As such, many consumers will continue to opt for online shopping, deliveries and transactions. People may take their time to consider the health implications of squeezing into crowded establishments, like community gyms, coffee shops, bars and supermarkets.
Within the bounds of this “new normal” every industry must account for the dramatic changes to business marketing as a result of this pandemic. Finding new ways to market and propel business growth, or brand engagement can be daunting. Some struggle, others thrive.
Let’s take a look at the notable impact of COVID-19 on the business landscape:
❑ eCommerce Businesses Experienced Surge in Demand
Compared to the previous year, the eCommerce order volume has increased by nearly 50 percent during the pandemic. However, this surge in demand combined with disrupted supply chains has also led to an increase in shipping delays and more competition for eCommerce companies.
To address these issues, numerous businesses have turned to eCommerce marketing to improve their online reach, enhance their cyber-security measures and optimize consumer transactions across online channels.
❑ Reduced Consumer Spending on the Non-Essentials
According to a report published by Technomic, the average spending per 1,000 consumers is 21 percent lower than before the pandemic. With stringent industry regulations and government orders to stay home, customers have begun to forego shopping for non-essential items. In fact, Morgan Stanley analysts found that early March, the total retail traffic in the U.S. fell by 9.1 percent, luxury retail traffic declined by 14.7 percent and apparel retail traffic dropped by 3.9 percent. As a result, many businesses went bust.
❑ New and Returning Customers for Select Industries
While the consumer need for non-essentials has decreased substantially, cleaning companies, healthcare practices, delivery services and grocery stores grapple with new demands. With many customers afraid to leave their homes, professional delivery and home services have experienced a business boom.
❑ A Shift in Search Trends
As the world goes through massive changes due to COVID-19, search trends have also shifted rapidly. An article published by Search Engine Journal presented the following interesting search trends across the world during the coronavirus pandemic:
➔ Hawaii, Nevada, Alaska, California and Florida generated the highest search trend for “how to buy stocks”
➔ Toilet paper searches are at an all-time high in Spain
➔ Search trends in Australia transitioned from “yoga near me” to “online yoga”
Another blog on the correlation of search trends and the coronavirus outbreak published by SEMrush also showed increased COVID-19 symptom-based searches in states, such as Oklahoma, New York and Michigan. These search trends indicate a significant change in customers’ online behavior and priorities.
❑ Upheaval in Supply Chains
Most companies were unprepared for the COVID-19 downturn. As a result, the pandemic has hit many companies full force causing some to shutdown operations entirely. In contrast, businesses that performed inventory and mapped their supply networks before the outbreak emerged better prepared.
❑ Decreased Spending
Based on post-coronavirus predictions published by Bloomberg Economics, the estimated losses for the global economy may reach $2.7 trillion. This means more companies are looking at major cost-cutting across the board.
❑ Increase in Contactless Payments
The number of contactless transactions across the world has reached a record high during the coronavirus. Supermarkets, pharmacies and even local convenience stores have adopted digital payment services to help keep their staff and customers as safe as possible.
❑ Google Updates for Improved Digital Experience
In an effort to improve users’ online experience amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Google has launched several search improvements and updates. These include:
• The creation of Community Mobility Reports
• New guidance on Google Search best practices for health and government sites
• Special Announcement structured data
• Takeout and delivery labels in Google Search and Maps
• New COVID-19 experience on Google News, which include showing tweets from local authorities, prioritizing local news and expanded coverage with more languages in Google Assistant
❑ Free Access to Online Tools and Resources
As more businesses, universities and institutions have transitioned to a remote setup, solution providers have rolled out free online resources to facilitate better communication and learning. Numerous universities, such as Harvard University, Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences and Academy of Art University, launched free online courses and a series of online events and seminars for public consumption.
Large corporations, such as Microsoft, Zoom and Google, have also followed suit by providing free work-from-home software. Recently, Facebook launched a new free video call tool to help businesses and individuals across the globe connect with their colleagues and loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic.
❑ Video Conferencing Platforms, Gaming and Streaming Services are Booming
The past few months have ushered in a rapid progression for at-home entertainment. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Now have racked up millions of subscribers as more people stay at home. Gaming platforms, such as Fortnite, Twitch and Roblox, have also seen increased mobile downloads and users.
❑ Increased Focus on Digital Marketing
Online marketing has consistently helped businesses thrive in this competitive business landscape, even amidst the coronavirus pandemic. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have witnessed traditional brick-and-mortar stores lose customers and be forced to close for good.
For businesses that are behind and haven’t adopted digital marketing, they will struggle to reach their client base if they only have traditional marketing,” said Thrive social media director Nhi Shirley. “This is mainly due to their inability to reach their current and potential customers, especially if something like coronavirus happens again where folks are required to stay home.”
Coronavirus Digital Marketing and Beyond: Where We Are and Where We Might Be Heading
The coronavirus crisis has affected numerous industries across the globe. Beyond restaurants and airlines, many businesses are looking for better ways to adapt to this virus-induced economic freeze. These include hotels, auto mechanics, film production and transportation.
As countries try to contain the outbreak, life is slowly grinding to a halt. However, there is one industry that continues to operate successfully with a bit less profit margin — digital marketing.
Things are moving in a digital and remote direction for most businesses,” said Thrive sales team director Josiah Wiles. “Being accessible online for customers is going to be critical for almost every business as there are going to be continued capacity limitations, buyer hesitation for in-person transactions, etc.”
With budgets reduced, marketers have to do more with less time, money and resources. This is a unique time for entrepreneurs and business owners to utilize coronavirus digital marketing tips and come out of this crisis stronger than before.
Being online is going to be more important than ever,” said Thrive social media strategist Alissa McKenzie. “As social distancing becomes the norm, we’re going to be causally finding out about new businesses and their services via the internet, whether it be passively scrolling social media or search actively on search engines or reading reviews.”
As a marketer, keeping coronavirus marketing tips in mind is crucial as you tackle the competition and industry changes head-on. Work smart and seize COVID-19 marketing tips and opportunities to grow your business.
10 Coronavirus Digital Marketing Tips You Need to Consider to Get Your Business Back in the Spotlight
In our previous post, we provided coronavirus digital marketing tips to help businesses stay afloat amidst the pandemic. In this article, we discuss COVID-19 marketing tips to help you rebuild your online presence and maximize your business efficiency and profits now that you’re fully operational again.
Take the right steps to protect your business. Follow these coronavirus digital marketing tips and take a proactive approach to restore your brand’s digital presence:
1. Increase Your Brand Recognition and Get More Visibility
Now, more than ever, customers are looking for businesses online. We’ve already seen a shift in consumer search behavior during the last month. As such, you need to closely monitor Google Trends and leverage data tracking tools to understand your target customers’ search intent.
Revisit foundational search engine optimization (SEO) factors to make sure the spine of your campaigns is strong while the world is changing,” said Thrive senior SEO manager Shannon Thamasienne. “If the world is changing, the search landscape and search volume is changing and will require fresh research and strategy.”
This means as a marketer, you need to focus your SEO strategy around relevant keywords and topics for your niche market. In this way, you can ensure your target audiences find your company when they are ready to take action. Furthermore, make sure to update your Google Business listing with your current business status and operational hours. Doing so will create a better experience for online users who may be searching for your service.
2. Rebuild Your Online Reputation
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Google stopped publishing new reviews and Google Q&A on business profiles for a while. According to Thrive senior reputation manager Tim Clarke, many companies struggled to maintain their review management strategies during the pandemic because of this Google update. Aside from hiding Google and Yelp reviews from online users, business owners were also prevented from providing review responses.
The good news is that in early April, Google has started to republish reviews and review responses that were filtered during the coronavirus crisis. This is an effort to moderate content as operations return to normalcy.
When asked about how businesses could cope with this situation, Clarke encouraged business owners to begin relaunching their reputation management campaign as soon as possible.
Start building links and new positive reviews now, so your website and online reputation management profile are better,” Clarke said. “The competition will be weaker the rest of this year since many companies cannot put resources into digital initiatives, so you better take advantage of this opportunity to establish your social proof and reach out to your customers.”
To maintain positive brand identity in the eyes of your ideal consumers, you must:
• Utilize reputation management software to keep track of your brand interactions and mitigate any negative fallout during the COVID-19 outbreak
• Respond and fix any issues within your control
• Reach out to your industry partners
• Re-engage with your past customers
• Encourage existing consumers to share their unique brand experiences across online review sites and social media channels
• Leverage social proof on your website using a review widget
People are looking for reviews of essential businesses, such as new restaurants to order curbside from and doctors to attend,” said Rize Reviews reputation consultant Courtney Quigley. “So, pushing forward with efforts to get more reviews can be beneficial during this time.”
3. Examine Your Digital Properties
How you’re treating the pandemic will determine your brand perception for years to come,” said Thrive SEO strategist Matthew Garrett.
For this reason, you need to reevaluate your digital marketing strategies and ensure you are leveraging cost-effective online marketing services to your advantage.
Many businesses have pulled back or completely turned off their marketing budgets,” Wiles said. “Now is an opportunity to really make up ground from an organic search standpoint.”
Here are more coronavirus marketing tips straight from our Thrive digital marketing specialists:
• Assist the community
• Be flexible with cost — offer discounts where you can for furloughed/unemployed workers
• Continue to invest heavily in search optimization
• Increase your ad budgets
• Prepare for the long-term with a robust digital marketing strategy
• Invest in creating a great web presence
Now is a good time to examine all your digital properties because this will be over at some point,” Garrett added. “And if you have time at home to examine it or you need to put your team to work, re-assessing your SEO, PPC, social media strategies and site usability are all good uses of time.”
4. Strengthen Your Digital Infrastructure
Your website serves as your company’s digital foundation. With robust web design and integrated digital marketing solutions, you can reach more prospects and maximize conversion opportunities.
According to Thrive demand generation manager Alan Muther, redesigning websites, growing social media usage and leveraging online technologies are more than just a trend. These practices will continue to be an integral part of business marketing for years to come.
To adapt to these industry changes, you need to strengthen your digital infrastructure. Let’s look at the different COVID-19 marketing tips to help you adjust your web strategy for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic:
• Upgrade your site’s eCommerce capabilities
• Create engaging videos and graphics
• Update your site content with the necessary information, such as scheduling and delivery details
• Keep your branding consistent
• Fix your product photos
• Increase your site security with web hosting services
• Optimize your pages
Redesign your website and make it work well for the virtual demand that will likely become the new normal,” Wiles said. “Make sure that when people find you online, they will want to do business with YOU instead of with your competition.”
5. Focus on Transparency and Communication
This is the time when your prospects and customers need to hear from you more often. Strengthen your email marketing strategies and utilize newsletters to inform consumers about your policy changes, business updates or any developments. You can also use this platform to keep in touch with your prospects and let them know you are there for their immediate needs.
Thrive email marketing manager Chad Bittle emphasizes the need to maintain effective client communication during and after the coronavirus.
With social distancing in effect, the internet is the one place where we are spending more time each day,” Bittle said. “It’s the perfect place to continually keep clients and customers engaged and informed on current happenings and updates. Businesses must re-strategize their efforts with a heightened focus on transparency, communication and an open-mind to restructure for revenue streams.”
6. Refine Your Targeting Strategies
Review your ad expenses and allocate your budget strategically to ensure you are connecting with customers who need your services and products the most. Keep track of your analytics and fine-tune any pay-per-click marketing strategy that is not showing any positive return.
Initially, businesses advertising with PPC will be affected by fewer impressions and clicks, lower conversion rates and higher CPAs,” said Thrive senior PPC manager Jacob Wuff. “However, advertisers will notice less competition, resulting in lower CPCs, better click-through-rates/interaction rates, better display ads performance and higher quality leads. As a result, businesses can expect higher quality scores and more accurate smart bidding strategies due to consistency in advertising.”
Wuff encourages business owners to align their PPC strategies with their specific niche markets. In this way, you can leverage targeting opportunities and generate more conversions. In addition, you must also explore new creative advertising strategies, such as display ads and video ads, as part of your digital marketing solutions.
7. Establish a Robust Social Media Presence
According to McKenzie, social media brand management is an ongoing effort. This means even if you’re not seeing foot traffic in your stores right now, this time is more important than ever to establish your online presence and boost your brand awareness.
It’s very important to establish a strong brand and social media presence so that your customers and prospects can see what you have to offer and remember you when it’s time to buy,” McKenzie added. “But, also, the competition is going to be a little tougher, so you’re going to need to start now and find a strong image and brand presence on social media.”
To build your digital footprint, you must not only share trustworthy and honest content but also you need to ensure you’re responding to reviews, comments and questions on time.
Right now, businesses should be gathering their post-coronavirus strategy to put them in a position to win where they’re prepared and optimistic about their businesses slowly opening back up in the near future,” Shirley said. “They also need to be very proactive in reaching out to their current customer base and updating them as well as attracting new customers who may not have known about their service/product otherwise.”
Shirley also highlighted the need to reconfigure your social media marketing strategies as part of your digital marketing solutions. Now that the world is dealing with new business standards, relying on your previous digital marketing tactics won’t cut it. You need to create organic social media content and ads that provide value to each of your unique audience segments.
With the large increase of traffic online, this is the perfect opportunity to finally get your brand’s social media presence up and running,” Shirley added. “Create a cohesive social media strategy to help you attract more sales and leads.”
8. Create and Share Useful Content
Events and conferences have been canceled, and there is no assurance that any mass gatherings will be allowed anytime soon. In these trying times, how do you stay connected with your customers?
Invest in content marketing to stay engaged with your intended audience. Create data-driven, useful content that tackles how your business can help customers with their urgent needs. Think outside the box and determine innovative ways to capture audience interest and promote your business. More importantly, optimize for changes in search engine results pages (SERPs) layout.
You need to enhance your content marketing efforts to ensure consistent and timely communication with your prospects.
Businesses will need to be on top of producing content related to their specific business and how it is impacted — whether that be closures or how your business is helping to combat the pandemic,” Thamasienne said.
9. Showcase Your Unique Value Propositions through Videos
Video marketing is an effective way to humanize your business and communicate your brand identity and values. Here are COVID-19 marketing tips to help improve the quality of your video content:
• Focus on how your company can fulfill specific customer needs
• Be careful of packaging the importance of your products post-coronavirus
• Do not communicate fear or negativity
• Highlight your team in action
• Leverage client testimonials and campaign success stories
Create video content to help engage [your target customers],” Wiles said. “Create high-quality content resources that will benefit your customers and focus on providing an excellent digital customer experience.”
10. Invest in eCommerce Marketing
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we do business from this point onward. According to Wiles, as consumer behavior continues to evolve, people will want to have their products delivered, book services online and communicate and purchase virtually for a significant period.
“If a business is highly visible online, they will continue to see support from their clients and more traffic to their digital marketing efforts,” Shirley said. “Since more people are forced to be at home and are spending more time online, they’re seeking news, updates and entertainment. Those who are present and active online will be the ones who stand out. Those who are not, will be at a standstill and lose potential new customers and their current customer’s visibility.”
With eCommerce optimization, you can ensure your business is available 24/7 to high-intent consumers. Follow these COVID-19 digital marketing tips to provide your prospects with round-the-clock, convenient service:
• Optimize your product listings on Amazon
• Display your review widget
• Leverage free Shopify tools
• Diversify your product offerings
• Eliminate unnecessary form fields on your site
• Conduct a customer needs evaluation and utilize this data to improve your service
• Update your product pages
• Be smart about PPC advertising
• Consider selling on additional platforms, such as Walmart Marketplace
• Create a loyalty program for your customers
These post-coronavirus marketing tips are designed to ensure you are ready to return to being a fully operational business. Take a proactive approach and tackle industry changes head-on with a robust digital marketing strategy and effective contingency plans.
Establish Your Digital Footprint with the Help of Thrive and Future-Proof Your Brand
The COVID-19 pandemic is sure to leave a mark on the way people work, shop and socialize.
There will be a major increase in the actual delivery of services virtually,” Wiles said. “Businesses such as law firms, marketing companies or any service business that doesn’t have to physically be onsite with a client will likely see demand for virtual services.”
In this fast-changing business landscape, you need to take your coronavirus digital marketing campaign to the next level.
It’s key to remain ahead of your competition,” Muther said. “Others are improving their organic presence by optimizing their websites, using social media to communicate and leveraging paid search. Digital marketing is an ongoing effort to remain competitive and now is the time to push more to not fall behind and lose traction from all your previous efforts.”
Entrust your marketing strategies with our digital marketing agency and let us help you rise above this highly-saturated online realm.
Thrive Internet Marketing Agency is here to help you develop long-term strategies within your financial capacity. We offer full-service digital marketing and web design solutions tailored to your specific industry, needs and requirements. Our online marketing specialists will work closely with you to ensure your business maintains a robust digital presence no matter the crisis or industry changes.
Call us now to learn more about how we can help you.