Covid-19 Marketing Lessons
The Calm Before The Storm
While the World seems to be coming to an end (it’s not) during this pandemic we can still learn from what we see happening around us. I am a big advocate of always trying to learn something either from my failures or successes. I also try to learn from those around me and things happening in the World.
When Covid-19 hit in February of 2020 I first thought it would pass in a couple of weeks and things would go back to normal. About two weeks into the pandemic I went to the grocery store and found bare shelves. I didn’t panic but, I did start really paying attention to what was going on as far as businesses were concerned. As you may or may not know, I am the President of HD Marketing, a full service Digital Marketing company.
I try to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening generally in the business world and the digital marketing world. By the time April rolled around I started noticing a few old potential prospects reaching out asking if we could start SEO services or Review Mangement services to help drive business to their websites. As we continued to take on new digital marketing clients and even some of our current clients asking for more services I started to scratch my head.
Strange Business Behavior
Why are these businesses just now considering new marketing strategies like SEO, Review Mangement, etc? Digital marketing is a fairly new concept, in that, it has been around for about two and half decades. Although, it is a new-er type of marketing nearly every business is, at the very least, aware of what it is.
Are these businesses we see coming to us starting to see decreased profits and foot traffic? Are they just hedging bets at this point? Through talking with some of these new clients it appears that the vast majority of businesses still just don’t ‘get it‘ when it comes to digital marketing. This could be something as basic as having a website.
Many business owners are still very skeptical about marketing online. When COVID hit it seemed to spark fear and panic in these business owners and they just wanted to throw everything they could against the proverbal wall and see what stuck.
Early Adopters Are Winning Online
Now, to contrast those businesses that were scrambing to get some sort of digital marketing going, our clients that had been with us for a while weren’t seeing the same sort of slow downs. Their acceptance of digital marketing and the benefits it provides proved to be the best bet.
Their website traffic actually started to INCREASE as the pandemic came on. This offset any foot or phone traffic they may have been losing due to COVID. The early digital marketing adopters were winning in spite of the pandemic.
An increase in website traffic makes sense. As more and more people were forced to stay home the only way to shop and be entertaintained was to go online.
This also translated to businesses that had an online presence already. Businesses that were already using digital marketing services simply saw an increase in traffic to their website where businesses that didn’t employ any online marketing didn’t see much of an increase at all.
Pandemic Proof Marketing
Digital Marketing For the Win
In order to have the largest coverage for your marketing strategies it MUST include at least the basic tenants of the digital side of marketing. Those basic services would include a search optimized website, some sort of search engine optimization service, an online review management service and a business directory service. Let’s quickly explore these and some of their pandemic proof properties.
Having an optimized website is the foundation of any of your digital marketing efforts. The website for your business at the very minium should have your business Name, Address and Phone Number.
It should include a description of your products and/or services. It should include company personel information and have an easy to use contact mechanism, like a contact form on a contact us page. Here’s how a website is pandemic proof:
- No physical contact required
- Open and available 24 hours a day
- Be found through search engines
- Dynamic and easily updated (by the minute if need be)
- Available to anyone, anywhere
Search Engine Optimization
Now we are building on that website and pushing it out in front of more eyeballs. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a process that discovers how and what people are searching for and using that information to change your website to align with that discovery.
This research and discovery is ever changing. SEO is an on-going process as the “how and what” people are searching for changes constantly. Here’s how seo is pandemic proof:
- Constantly monitored performance
- Proactive content changes to search intent discovery
- Increases search visibility
- Provides relavancy and authority
- Results are “evergreen” – they don’t change
Online Review Management
Collecting reviews on websites is a massive and daunting task but, is one that EVERY business should be doing. Years ago online reviews were just kinda nice to have but, they now are important because search engines are aware of the customer sentiment and potential clients BELIEVE them.
You know you look at the product reviews on Amazon for every product you buy there. Don’t kid yourself, if Amazon reviews sway your buying decision then you know that a bad review of your business on Google does the same. Here’s how online reviews are pandemic proof:
- They are permanant
- Provide extra level of customer service
- Increase brand trust
- Available 24 hours a day
- Everyone can see them
- Can be used on your website to increase buyer confidence
Business Directory Service
You probably don’t even know this but, there are hundreds of websites that act like the old school paper phone books. They are comprised of listings of businesses all around the world. These business directories are used by search engines to verify a businesses NAP. NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number.
These three main metrics, along with other minor metrics, make up your businesses online business listings. The unfortunate thing is these listings are fairly easy to manipulate by anyone. Using a business listing service makes sure that your listings are accurate and will publish them to all the top level directories and check their accuracy on a weekly basis. Here’s how busines directories are pandemic proof:
- Accurate listing guaranteed
- Increases search engine trust
- Broadens business reach (more listings = more reach)
- Easily updated hours of operation
- Quickly add “hot line” phone numbers or emergency phone numbers
While the COVID-19 virus is still here and we are still living during a pandemic the real story for businesses is that you NEED to start using some sort of digital marketing NOW! The wait is over. Digital marketing is pandemic proof and will continue to drive traffic, sales and sign-ups no matter what is happening outside.
By using or increasing marketing dollars towards your website, seo or any other digital marketing channel you are ensuring your success no matter what this crazy world throws at you.
How have you been impacted by the COVID virus?