As I write this, the UK is going through an unprecedented time of vulnerability and change, with self-isolation large-at play in the bid to stave off the spread of COVID-19.
For many businesses this has meant the need to cut spend or even cease operations whilst they hash together plans to survive the economic downturn this pandemic has caused, and will inevitably continue to cause over the coming weeks or months as highlighted in the BBC’s visual guide.
And whilst the global economy is offering ways to soften the blow of this virus, businesses across the country are understandably worried about what effect this will have on their business and how they can market their business to combat the impact of COVID-19 during this time.
But surely marketing my business in these times is “wrong”?
Understandably, “marketing” or “selling” during these times can feel wrong.
That said, marketing is still important for your business – and perhaps now more than ever.
In fact, across the world, more and more people are taking to the internet to entertain themselves, consume content, learn new skills, attend virtual meetups and engage on social media – anything to stave off insanity.
And there are stats to back this up…
- According to Comscore, traffic for news sites like Huffpost increased by nearly 80% in recent days. Similar increases are being seen across the whole media and finance industry
- Internet traffic in general has seen a massive increase of 50%, according to Akamai
- Time being spent online whilst people have been in quarantine has risen massively – With Emarketer reporting a rise to 7.3 hours of internet time per day whilst workers were in lockdown, compared to 6.1 hours back in January.
- E-commerce sites selling cleaning supplies, home entertainment and gaming products are cashing in on a huge increase in demand. So much so that Amazon has virtually cancelled their Google Ads and demand for toilet roll has massively overtaken previously popular products such as apple EarPods.
- Online streaming services like Netflix, Disney and Amazon Prime are also seeing a great increase in users – Read this latest study from Forbes for more
- Facebook and other social media platforms are also reporting a mass increase in users. For example Facebook has reported a 50% increase in messenger traffic and almost double the amount of video calls
Adapting your digital strategy
In times of financial crisis, marketing is often the first thing to get cut by businesses. However, with so much attention online, now is a great time to ensure your business remains visible.
In this article we intend to list a number of ways your business can ride the tide of this difficult period with marketing activities that don’t break the bank.
1. Turn to social media
With most of the nation spending more time at home, we are seeing a surge in internet browsing and social media interaction.
Sharing light, informative and even positive content from both your business and personal profiles is a great way to get in front of your target customers or simply help your business stay visible.
2. Update your website content
While other marketing activities grind to a halt in a bid to navigate through this difficult time, one thing that will always carry on is your website. Now’s the time to fix those burning issues that you have always struggled to find time to get round to.
Review your website content. Do your landing pages need updating to reflect changes in your business? Have you got any pages that you have been meaning to add to your website? Great! Get those updated and live.
More people online means more questions being asked and more queries being searched for that could relate to your product or service. Why not capture that traffic with relevant FAQs about your service(s) and products – it can benefit you both in this period of downtime but also enable you to capitalise on this traffic when the market returns to normal (which could be some time yet).
3. Focus on conversion journey and user experience
What’s more you’ll want to consider how your website will be there to help you bring in the leads and sales once this all passes. And with that in mind it’s worth looking into your conversion journey.
Where can you improve conversion rates? Are certain pages missing an effective call-to-action? How well does your website content and design work together? Perhaps even interview some of your customers and ask them if there are any areas of the website that they found unclear.
Essentially by conducting user experience research and mapping out conversion rate improvement opportunities, you can find low cost, high impact techniques that will help turn your website visitors into customers.
4. Connect with people on LinkedIn & start conversations
With more of us turning to social media, now is a great time to start forging new connections in this time of need. Nurture new relationships, share content, engage with each other’s content, the list goes on! ;).
5. Update your Google My Business listing
Have your office hours changed to fit around childcare etc? Are you taking special care to avoid the spread of COVID-19?
Then it’s time to update your Google My Business Profile. You can update your hours and add custom “post” updates etc – you can find out more about how to optimise your Google My Business profile in this guide from our very own Shani Hawthorne-Williams.
6. Focus on your online reviews
Across the web, reviews are a crucial part of the customer decision making process. But acquiring customer reviews, responding to feedback and updating testimonials across various platforms such as Reviews.io or Feefo can be time consuming.
Identify new customers that are happy with your services/products and reach out to them for feedback. Or if you are needing to respond to a bunch of reviews, draft some response templates and train a member of your team how to handle these responses going forwards.
Focusing on Google my business reviews alone can be a great way to boost your local SEO. And reviews on Reviews.io and Feefo can be integrated into your Google Ads campaigns which can help your adverts stand out from the crowd.
7. Run webinars or record videos
Set up your own webinars to educate your target audience or social media connections on how you do what you do. Use these sessions to encourage people to action some of your tips and tricks.
Or if webinars aren’t for you, look into creating a suite of videos to explain your area of business, put together how to guides or simply share tips and tricks on subjects relevant to your services.
Videos are a great way to build rapport with your target audience and can be great SEO fodder. They’re a great way to help you target long-tail keywords, target featured snippets and appear in relevant YouTube searches.
Wrapping it all up
Undoubtedly this is a tough period for everyone. Businesses closing, the foreboding economic strain and social distancing are placing strain on us all. And as business owners you have many things at stake. Not only are you concerned about your own health and wellbeing, but you also have to consider the situation of your employees, customers and any other stakeholders – and this can be extremely daunting!
But amid all of this one key thing to do is to not give up. More importantly be sure to take care of yourself. Plan what can be done, talk to fellow colleagues, business owners, friends and family and problem solve together. Perspective can play a big part in long term success, particularly when it comes to navigating through times of hardship.
Times are undoubtedly hard, but by focusing on the above areas, you can set your business up to be in a stronger position in the future and can help lessen the blow that COVID-19 has on your business.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been chatting to customers and networking colleagues alike and I must say the sense of community and togetherness is frankly amazing!
And don’t forget, if you have any questions about digital marketing, software development or web development, we are here to help – even if it’s over a virtual Skype coffee, simply get in touch. Together we will all pull through it and come out the other side.
If you’re interested in working with Newicon on your next digital project, get in touch now.