Staying digitally active will help your business in the long term
Sam Meade Business Development Manager
All businesses not just in Kent, but across the country and the world are all facing difficult and challenging times due to the impact that the Coronavirus is having on our businesses.
Business leaders have been left in a catch 22 scenario – to invest or not to invest in marketing.
Online marketplaces have shown rapid growth over the last few weeks as the majority of us have moved our lives online. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses with no previous interest in eCommerce have had to move online to survive.
On the other hand, global uncertainty and news about the biggest economic slump in modern history have put doubt into our minds as to whether we should invest in marketing and if so, what is seen as a priority.
Why you shouldn’t turn off marketing
Whilst a cut in marketing activity will provide your business with a short-term fix and money earner, it is a definite way of creating long-term consequences!
Believe it or not, your customers are also watching their pennies, however, they are still spending money, they are just being more selective as to what they need.
An opportunity is presented
It is a time for all businesses to come and stick together, as all businesses are looking for ways to survive. Whilst short-term survival is a priority, for businesses to survive in the long-term, digital plans may need to be brought forward.
This situation will not last forever, but preparing your business for the long haul may prove crucial to staying afloat.
What can you do to keep digitally active?
1. Keep your existing customers engaged
Businesses that look after and take care of their existing customers over the next few months will be in a far better position when we come out of this. Some of the simple things you can do are:
Content Creation – Probably the most important method of keeping in touch with your existing customers. Be sure to help educate customers on the changes to your business or new ways you can help support them through this tough period.
Email Marketing Automation – A very easy and low-cost method of maintaining contact with customers. Be sure to share your news with those that are interested and add some colour and life to a customer’s inbox.
Be more social – If we didn’t live on social media before, we most certainly do now! As a business, you have the opportunity to stand out positively in a difficult time. Be sure to show empathy and try not to be ‘too salesy’, although it’s never a good idea to do this in normal circumstances. Sharing photos and posts that show you’re supporting your local community can help build your brand.
2. Be more visible to your potential customers
Growing your brand awareness and becoming more visible to your prospective customers online will ultimately help drive enquiries and sales. To do this you can:
Set up your organic search strategy – Although it takes time and a lot of work to climb to the top of the search engine results pages, now may be the best time to start identifying what keywords and phrases you want to rank for. By optimising your website and content regularly, you can ensure that you do not lose valuable ground on your competitors.
Explore Paid Advertising – With more of us in front of our screens than ever before, it could prove useful to look into paid advertising for some of your target keywords to ensure you’re being noticed. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool that helps identify average monthly searches, level of competition and suggests how much you should bid for that term.
Seek reviews and testimonials – People are now looking for nearby destinations for services and suppliers. Providing the right product or service for your customers during this stressful time is likely to be rewarding in the long-term. Be mindful that Google has temporarily disabled local views, however, it is still worth getting them to be submitted so they publish when everything returns to normal.
3. Improve your user experience to help drive conversion
Small changes can have a big impact. Making small low-cost tweaks to your website experience can turn website visitors into new and returning customers. Some things you can do are:
Refresh your website design – This doesn’t have to be a complete website overhaul. Simply redesigning your homepage or another important part of your website can help increase conversions.
Become more accessible online – The ability to keep your website visitors engaged for longer will prove extremely valuable over the next few months. We have just added a new Live Chat feature to our own website to be even more accessible than before. For more tips on this click here.
Move away from your legacy CMS – Now can be the opportune time to move away from your old and clunky CMS to something like WordPress that can provide you with the ability to update and manage your website internally.
4. Test and measure everything!
Unfortunately, there is no one-stop-shop strategy that can guarantee online success through the Coronavirus. Be sure to test and measure everything you are doing over the next few months, so that you can make money by ensuring your investments are not turning sour. Try these ideas:
Set up Google Analytics – Once implemented correctly, you can use your own data to drive your future marketing efforts. Configuring goals and understanding that data can help you to stay agile and enable you to make changes to your marketing strategy.
Configure your dedicated landing pages – Now that you have identified your target keywords and possibly started using Paid Ads, ensure that you have configured dedicated landing pages to them so that when your customer lands on this page, they’re engaged instantly.
Measure social media performance – Social media can be a time-consuming activity and that time can be wasted if not used correctly. Some social media platforms may be working for you better than others, so understand which one’s are the best use of your time.
There is no clear path to success. Businesses need to choose the path that is right for them that helps keep them afloat. But hopefully, you now agree that it is time to think long-term.
Turning off or suspending your marketing activity may prove an ideal short-term measure to save money, but in the long-term may prove fatal to your business.
Meeting your customers where they are now, gives your business the best chance to stay afloat and be successful.
Whilst it is a difficult time for us all, your business can still flourish and if you are willing to try something new and not pull back from marketing activity, you may find you are ready to cope with a different world when this is all over.
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