How to Adjust Your Digital Marketing Strategy in Light of COVID-19
From brick-and-mortar to dedicated e-commerce operations, businesses owners have found themselves operating in a long-term “new normal” created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fresh from wide-scale mandated shutdowns, business owners might still need to work around sporadic shutdowns as the virus ebbs and flares throughout the country. Many consumers place a premium on personal safety, shopping online rather than in person. These factor into the exponential growth of e-commerce — and the growing importance of effective digital marketing strategies.
In short, there is no time to lose when it comes to launching or improving your business’ digital marketing strategy to ensure you’re attracting and retaining customers during these turbulent times.
A One-Size Digital Marketing Strategy Does Not Fit All
Your business is different from the rest, and your approach to digital marketing should follow suit.
If you have an established digital marketing strategy, it may be the right time to reevaluate or supplement current efforts as more consumers shop online. If you don’t yet have a formal strategy and are starting from scratch, you need to ensure you have the foundational web elements in place to begin with.
Regardless of whether you are relatively new to digital marketing or have relied on digital marketing for years, your strategy needs to accomplish three key objectives:
Channel traffic to your digital platforms
Engage your target audience
Convert that audience to leads and sales
However what worked prior to the pandemic may not be effective now as more and more organizations compete for online consumers’ attention. Looking ahead, digital marketing trends are fast shifting and evolving to adapt to the times.
3 Critical Strategy Elements to Evaluate
To maximize your digital marketing efforts to accommodate shifting trends due to the pandemic, there are three key areas you should evaluate:
1. Your Website
By now you know your customers might not be able or willing to stop by and browse your shelves. Make it easy for them to do business with you via a virtual visit.
An effective website is essential to attracting these consumers, and ultimately converting them to take a desired action — whether that’s completing a purchase online, filling out a form, or contacting you.
Key elements of a well-built website include:
A responsive design that adjusts to the device being used, particularly for mobile
Simple, intuitive navigation that makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for
A polished and professional design that’s appealing, without overwhelming
Fresh, engaging content that’s informative to your target audience (and Search Engine Optimized for find-ability)
An intuitive call to action — such as completing a purchase or contacting you for more information — with clear direction on where / how to easily make the desired conversion
You can maximize the value of your website further — both for consumers and SEO purposes — by creating a landing page specifically tailored to house your COVID-related content. This could include pandemic updates such as impacted business hours or operating procedures, links to helpful resources, and/or pandemic-specific products and services.
Ultimately, make it easy for visitors to find the pandemic-related information they need in one spot, so they can easily adjust to doing business with you despite any changes.
2. Your Messaging
Messaging on your website and other digital platforms should make engaging, clear and concise cases for why your product or service benefits your customer — as well as speak to who you are as a brand. For many businesses, this message is changing in light of the pandemic as consumers’ needs and shopping habits change, but also as a result of increased demand for social and safety information.
In particular, consumers want to know how brands and businesses are responding to the social challenges the pandemic creates for communities and for customers, shows research conducted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
Your digital marketing strategy needs to take these expectations into consideration. How can you leverage digital platforms such as social media and email to communicate with your audience? What do they need or want to know? What efforts are you taking to protect and serve your employees, customers and their communities in light of these unprecedented times?
By delivering content that shows care behind your brand, you can cement trust and loyalty with your current base — and look to differentiate from competitors falling behind the curve.
3. Your Digital Channels
A strong website and engaging messaging are critical foundation pieces to any digital marketing strategy — yet you need the right digital channels to promote them. There are four primary avenues to drive traffic to your website:
Direct Traffic: Visitors who know your website URL and type it directly into their browser.
Referral Traffic: People who find your site through external links located throughout the Web.
Organic Traffic: Visitors who find your website through an online search, such as Google.
Social Traffic: People who found and visited your site through a social media channel, such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
An effective digital marketing strategy should account for all four.
However for those in need of a fast boost to offset pandemic effects, you’ll find that organic and direct search both require significant time to develop, nurture and grow.
With the right hook and messaging, paid avenues — such as promoted social advertising campaigns — are among the fastest ways to reach your audience with promotions and updates to drive more business. What’s more, most social platforms enable in-depth audience targeting by demographics to help you reach more highly-qualified leads.
But where should you focus your spend?
LinkedIn still reigns supreme for B2B digital marketing, according to a survey done by the Content Marketing Institute. The survey showed LinkedIn as the most popular B2B platform, followed by Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, then Instagram.
If you’re B2C trying to reach a consumer audience, start your campaign focus on Facebook, followed in popularity by Instagram and then Twitter, according to a survey by Statista.
Direct to customer email is also an effective way to make and grow virtual connections with customers. SCORE, the non-profit small business mentor organizations, advises there’s people are spending more time with their inbox, reading emails, and connecting back to the sender. Email might be another way to reinforce the customer relationship when you can’t connect in person.
Start Maximizing Your Digital Marketing Efforts Today
While none of us can predict how long the pandemic will continue to impact business — and what the extent of its impact will be — it’s clear the effects of COVID-19 has made digital marketing a more-important-than-ever line item on business’ budget sheets.
Whether you’re looking to rate and revamp your current digital marketing strategy, or need help coming up with one altogether, the experts at Jennasis & Associates have the resources and expertise to guide you leveraging the latest technology trends and best practices.
We take a data-driven approach to evaluate where you are, where you want to go — and create a custom plan detailing the steps needed in between to help get you there. By setting strategic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), we’ll ensure your strategic approach is inherently agile — armed with the insight to quickly tweak your strategy as needed to keep up with today’s disruptive environment.
Contact our team at Digitalmarketing@jennasisassociates.com today for more information, and to request an obligation-free consultation.
Drez Jennings has pursued her passion for writing and editing as a journalist covering crime and politics, and as a media relations and marketing communications pro supporting large financial services, healthcare, and legal businesses. Drez lives with her husband Mark Wainwright in a 100-year-old Arts and Crafts home in eastern Lake County. Fun fact: all of Drez’ pets are named for musicians. Now on stage – black Lab Joe Walsh, and cats Jerry Garcia and James Brown.