During this uncertain time, it can be hard to reach customers. With bans on gatherings of ten or more people, this means you can’t depend on face to face interactions to spread your message. Digital marketing is going to be your best bet for getting a customer’s attention. Small businesses during the Coronavirus are going to have to adapt to a new frontier in the next couple of months. However, this may be the best time to focus on the basics of digital marketing. In addition, you can branch out into new areas, and good digital marketing should only increase the scope of your business. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t target locally during this pandemic. In fact, that’s a great starting point. Here are some steps you can implement right now to market your business online.
Email Marketing and Social Media
The best way to get started is to set up social media accounts and have a running email list in which to access your customers. Mailchimp can be a great way to start an email list, and there are other providers as well. What needs to be stressed about digital marketing is that it is about communicating. Building an email list is going to allow you send out sales deals and calls to action. A social media platform will as well, but it is not guaranteed that every person that likes your business page will see your message.
If you have not already, you should be using your email list and social media to explain to customers how they can still order your products or service. Explain to them how your business will be changing during this pandemic and how the customer can still be protected while using your services. The goal is to inform your customers how you are changing and how best you can serve them. Don’t send out emails that have false or misleading information, don’t get political, and don’t be insensitive. Sending out an email titled “The Best Tires to Buy During COVID-19” is probably not the wisest idea. A better idea would be to post something on your social media or website saying “How our Tire Center can Serve Your Needs without Risking Infections.” It is important that you are aware of the cultural implications of your marketing, and how to be positive in the moment.
On your social media, there are various ways to communicate with your customers and keep them engaged. Try running polls, questionnaires, and shoppable posts to get your products in front of users. As Nancy Kapoor notes on Social Media Today:
“93% of marketers agreed that interactive content is effective in educating its buyers versus just 70% of static content”
Content can be both informative and interactive, so get creative with it. You may just find out a new service you can offer your clients.
Update Your Website
If you are a non-essential business you can’t open shop. The only way customers can support you is through your online retail or consulting business. However, how will customers be able to find you on Google? Your website needs to be optimized for SEO. SEO (search engine optimization) is using keywords, keyphrases, and user-friendly website design to climb the rankings in Google. It’s important to do this as over time it can bring business not only from your local community but also from others around the world.
This leads me to another point, SEO and content digital marketing is about online organic growth. This means you have to plan for the long term, not for the short term. Optimizing your website at first will allow customers to search specifically for your company and find you. This is good for business owners who want to have a customer base that still wants to shop at that specific store just online. It will not, however, allow you to automatically grow your business in a very short time. Building the foundation now will set you up for success when life returns back to normal. You’ll be able to grow online and recover stronger because of the tools you have set up to optimize parts of your business.
Start Producing Content for Your Website
I also talked about content digital marketing. If you are unfamiliar with the term, content marketing refers to giving customers valuable information about a product or service. As the saying goes “Content is King.” Valuable content that will help your customers make a purchase or explain a complex process will help your website grow even faster. Do things like start a blog or write a monthly newsletter. You are going to want to produce high-quality content that provides real value to the customer. The important thing to note is this content needs to be optimized for SEO as well. Whether articles or videos, you need to use keyphrases, a concise message, and easy to understand directions. Always include a call to action on every piece of content you produce. A call to action is telling the customer how to find out more about you or buy a product.
Some Calls to Actions:
- Try for free
- Join our email list
- Don’t wait, sign up for a free guide now!
- Call today at 1-800-0000
- Contact us at 1-800-0000
More Call to Actions can be found at Hubspot.
Focus on Long Term Digital Marketing
A lot of companies jump into digital marketing without having a clear goal in mind. The problem with this is that your customers can be left confused and misguided about your services. If you are new to digital marketing, now is the best time to invest in digital marketing. Your company can start to build its online presence and brand. With America staying home now more than ever, humans are glued to screens on their iPhones and TVs. Don’t waste the opportunity to start building your brand now. Pick one singular goal for the next couple of months and stick to it, that can be building your email lists, selling a certain product, or getting people to join your Facebook group. This doesn’t mean you need to break the bank on social media advertising or digital marketing either as Mae Rice points out on Builtin:
“Digital advertising, in response, has gotten cheaper. Cost-per-impression on Facebook ads has dropped substantially even as traffic on the platform has surged. On news sites, too, traffic has skyrocketed — for prestige publications like The Atlantic, site visits have nearly doubled — but advertiser interest has waned.
This means companies still spending on digital marketing can get more bang for their buck right now.”
If you are going to run Facebook or Instagram Ads we suggest being highly selective with your target audience. How much money would your average customer make? How old are they? What gender do you cater to? Are your services useful year-round? All of these factors and more matter in your social media and digital marketing ads.
Even if you have not done any of the other suggestions, running specials on products or services can help customers make a purchase right now. Offering discounts or free shipping on items can help you move product and put cash in your pocket. If you are strapped for cash flow this may be the right choice for you. It also makes for an enticing social media post or digital marketing play.
For example, you could run a special sale on toasters offering 20% off and free shipping. I would take a picture of that toaster and a link to its product page and use it in a Facebook ad. Then I would target it at specific customers. Apply that methodology to anything that you may be selling.
Give back to the community
I have to approach this topic carefully because I don’t want to misconstrue how digital marketing fits into giving back to your community and how not to take advantage of people. You can use your online platforms to run giveaways, raffles, and showcase how the community can get in touch with you.
Don’t use your platform to boost how good of a company you are.
But do mention how your employees are part of solving the problem your community faces. Use your digital marketing to show how you are helping your customers and community. Share pictures of donations and how you have adjusted to this pandemic. Talk about how customers are supporting local businesses and local workers. Most importantly, remember this is a time where people need positivity and a helping hand. Show them how your company is a part of the solution not a problem.
Looking at partnering with another business
In addition to giving back to your community, you can team up with other businesses for your digital marketing. Post about other businesses and have them post about you. Team up with other businesses to provide a unique service to tell your costumes about. This is the time to create relationships and partnerships that can weather the storm of the pandemic. It may just lead to a new business partnership or help new customers find your business.
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