Well, 2020 has turned out to be less than impressive, to put it mildly! Everyone we’ve talked to has experienced unprecedented twists and turns in their business - most notably, economic uncertainty.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive in a way that has forced businesses to rethink and strategize on how to best connect with consumers, as consumer behavior has drastically shifted since the pandemic hit. Businesses cannot rely on the same resources and tools they’ve used before. Despite the havoc that COVID-19 is wreaking, brands have a unique opportunity to leverage COVID-19 challenges and achieve not just near-term recovery, but long-term growth as well. A big focus should be on enhancing digital marketing to rebuild digital brands and recover during COVID-19.
Rebuild Your Brand With UGCThe COVID-19 pandemic has forced marketers to adapt in a changing business climate, and while budgets can be cut, campaigns can be paused, and various communications can be offered to customers, the “always on” nature of digital marketing continues to demand a persistent flow of visual content, even at a time when it requires greater effort to create while using diminished resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced consumers to rely more heavily on social media for personal connections and e-commerce for shopping, which means that numerous brands have to now focus more keenly on online customer experiences by addressing current consumer behavior. Brand recovery plans could benefit from user-generated content (UGC) to help rebuild customer trust, provide social proof, and foster community.
Focus on Website Performance and SEO
Many companies have seen a decline during the COVID-19 pandemic, but have turned to SEO to position themselves for success. Internet use is at an all-time high, but the focus is on highly relevant industries, like health and news, causing a decline in traffic to nonessential business websites. This means that SEO looks different from industry to industry. Small businesses, especially, are placing increased emphasis on qualified traffic and long-term gains using consistent output to stay ahead of the competition and keep customers informed.
As you try to recover from COVID, it is crucial to focus on website performance and search engine optimization (SEO). You want greater visibility and top ranking for your business website on the search results page. You can employ a number of tactics to enhance your SEO, such as backlinks - inbound links from another website - that add credibility to your website by signaling to a search engine that others vouch for your website’s content. You don’t want to simply fix broken links and optimize old ones, but also ensure that they are quality links that are credible and trustworthy. Also consider content and user experience, as these will factor significantly into your SEO ranking.
One small business, the Village Rock Shop, used the time when people were not allowed to shop in-store to upgrade their website, e-commerce platform, and SEO. In addition, the owner began implementing social media, and the result was increased web traffic, phone calls, and requests for information on her store, along with stronger e-commerce engagement.
Use Paid Media, Social Media, and Email Marketing During COVID-19
COVID-19 has caused significant shifts in consumer behavior. Businesses have been challenged to step up their messaging and marketing efforts, and many are now focusing on community and connectivity as more people are working from home. Brands are mindful of increased digital consumption by consumers during the pandemic and are amplifying their paid media, social media, and email marketing tactics to remain visible and connected with their target audience.
Marketers have to capitalize on the advantages of paid media, social media, and email marketing to build brand awareness, engage customers, build sentiment, and offer a more personalized consumer experience.
- Email marketing: One of the most important marketing tools your strategy can use during these times because people are opening more emails now than ever before. Inbox activity is currently up 22% since January 2020, and because of the pandemic, people are spending more time in their inboxes. The research shows sending emails on non-peak days will create higher open rates.
- Social media: In-person restrictions are driving consumers to seek increased creativity, connection, and entertainment online. Companies are doubling down on engagement events, like watch parties or influencer-hosted Facebook chats.
Consider presenting polls that provide customer feedback, videos to entertain your target audience, or show an influencer performing a product demo.
- Paid media: At the beginning of COVID-19, companies pulled their funds from ad spend, but there is now an upward trend in ad spend. Companies are using paid media to replace lost leads as in-person events have dwindled. Many are using paid media to update brand messaging. For example, if you're an essential business, you can use paid Facebook advertising to communicate crucial information, highlighting updates regarding business hours in your paid media messaging.
Now is the Right Time to Use Digital Marketing
Today, connecting online is of greater importance than ever before. At-home media consumption has increased dramatically, and recent data shows that staying home has led to a 60% increase in the amount of content watched by Americans, the equivalent of roughly 12 hours of media content a day.
Recovering from COVID digitally is possible if you implement the right marketing strategies to increase brand awareness and boost customer engagement. UGC is great for brand rebuilding, optimizing website performance and SEO attributes, and tapping into paid media, social media, and email marketing. Embrace digital marketing - it could be the boost you need to ride out this COVID-19 storm. If you need help getting your digital marketing off the ground, get in touch with Ironmark’s digital marketing team.