Hello friends, hope you’re well.
Yup, we’re all feeling it right now, it’s a very strange time to say the least. The marketing world has changed overnight and it’s definitely a new challenge to navigate together. At least we’re unified in our experiences, if not by being physically close to each other. Before we go into the nitty-gritty marketing world stuff, we just want you to know that we care, and want to help you wherever we can by sharing our digital knowledge with you.
Now to business, and some top tips from our team on how you can weather this storm and maintain digital resilience during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Whether you’re a small business owner, work as the in-house marketing team of one, or you’re part of a large digital team, it’s important right now to think strategically across every channel and put contingency plans in place for your marketing activity. We know you’re probably thinking “How do I market my business through the Coronavirus?” regardless of the size of your company. This is a time to make the most of the insider knowledge you have of your industry and the nuances of how it operates. Understanding user behaviour right now has never been so important in digital marketing. Do not presume anything, remain fluid and flexible in your approach. Being able to pivot quickly in response to new trends in how your customers or users behave, convert, and interact with you is vital at this time.
Backing up your opinions and proposed action plan with real user data is the wisest thing you can do. Check your computer systems, inventories and analytics platforms daily as the services you may need to provide can morph overnight due to government statements and new lockdown definitions. There are free versions of online analytics platforms for those of you without a larger marketing budget. SEMrush, Buzzsumo, Moz, RivalIQ, and Google Ads all have free elements or free trial periods you can use for technical SEO data, competitor, social media, and keyword and content research.
Now, let’s break it down into marketing advice per digital channel, some or all may apply to you. Here are our top SEO, paid advertising and creative social media marketing tips to give you some practical action points to implement during the COVID-19 outbreak.
SEO & Organic Content Marketing Advice
- Add a new landing page to your website optimised around key search terms that are applicable to your business in relation to the current crisis. ‘Contactless delivery’, ‘zero contact pickup’ ‘curbside delivery’ and ‘no touch food delivery” are all popular terms right now, some may be relevant, some may not. This is where performing keyword research is paramount so you can be one step ahead. Discuss on this page what your status is during COVID-19, and any changes in your normal business. List details and processes around hygiene/transport precautions you’re taking as a company, and the specific no-contact service you offer (if applicable) so you appear in local and national searches.
- Add to GMB (Google My Business) ‘services’ section that you offer contactless delivery, curbside pickup or other factors. Keeping people informed will look credible and reliable as things are so unstable right now.
- Add to GMB If your operating hours have changed, make sure the information you share is up to date. If needed, update your Google My Business profile to provide the most accurate information to your customers. For example, change your hours of operation if you’re closing early, or add more details to your ads descriptions. The updates will show up on your Business Profile, Google Search and Maps.
- Utilise the GMB “Offer” section with any special offers including special delivery rates, or package deals. Think about being strategic with your deals to make their lives easier right now, could it be combining products, reducing your best sellers to get more stock out the door or using an app/social media to order instead of in person? This will come up when you appear in SERPs for local search, and possibly national search.
- Don’t drop your organic digital activity! Remain positive and keep up on organic social and blog content posting to keep your brand front of mind for when this blows over. Think of how COVID-19 is affecting your industry seasonally and write about it, be helpful and useful as you possibly can be during this time with what your brand puts across. You could put it in an article or in new FAQ content. Be sensitive to your brand’s experience area, offer valuable and relevant content. Make sure to not preach/post direct health warnings unless you are in the industry, we’re all hearing it from all angles and you don’t want to come across as patronising.
- Keep an eye on your website’s overall organic visibility. Is your site content optimised for the right current keywords right now? Review your onsite content and make sure every page is targeted to the appropriate keywords. Working on increasing the overall visibility across the keywords that are right for your business will put you in a strong position in your competitive landscape when the traffic picks back up.
- If you have extra time on your hands, use it to audit your site and create a list of everything that can be done to make it better for SEO and user experience. Reviewing and improving your internal linking to relevant onsite content, managing your toxic backlinks, and acquiring new backlinks from credible sites with a strong domain authority are ALL activities still worth doing. The more useful your onsite content and how easy it is to navigate for users will stand you in good stead for when (not if!) this cloud moves from our skies.
Search Engine Marketing & Paid Advertising Advice
- Now more than ever it’s important to take care of your brand by making sure that your ads don’t show up on negative placements and search results. Make sure your negative keyword lists are up to date and include coronavirus related keywords. Also, it’s recommended to check your accounts search terms often to exclude unwanted search queries.
- Invest in the campaigns where you see the results. Many businesses are facing unseen drops in their conversions. But, it’s still important to be seen and easily findable for people who are looking for your product or services. When analysing performance, it is recommended to make your decision based on the last month or even week’s results to make your decisions based on relevant data. On the other hand, if your product availability is impacted by supply chain issues or increased demand, there is no question in pausing these campaigns until the issue is resolved. Budget utilisation is key during this uncertain time.
- When it comes to campaign targeting, and if your business relies on customers from countries affected by the virus, consider prioritising your ad budget to other locations until the situation eases. Here you may consider running separate campaigns targeting only areas that drive strong results. This allows you to increase your keyword bids and budgets to maximise ad impressions in high-performing locations. It is very important to be agile and reactive with this strategy, as anything can change overnight.
- Now that people are staying at home more, it may be the right time to update your search ads messaging. For example, implement the contactless delivery messaging or flexible cancellation note to the search ads. Let potential customers know that they could still get hold of your products without leaving their homes and feel confident about their purchases.
- Be prepared for the consumers’ questions like ‘do you have enough stock?’, ‘how long will the delivery be?’ and ‘what is your safety and cancellation policy?’. It would be great to have this information ready on your website and make it all easy to find with search ads sitelinks, which will be highlighting strengthened safety measures or special offers in the search results.
Creative Social Media Marketing Advice
- Cut through the monotony. Our feeds are full of the same subject. Cut through with a message or offer that’s different and useful, but more importantly, entertaining.
- Be authentic and present. If you front the business, speak to your audience and customers from the heart and don’t be afraid to go on camera, write a note or share a video of your business in action so people can see it’s open. People are without human connection the moment, so this will be received well and can strengthen your brand reputation.
- Be aware and tuned into people’s emotions. Avoid making light of the current environment or be seen to capitalise on it. And don’t be a negative nancy! We’re looking for positivity amongst the noise, so show the world you understand what they need.
- Spot opportunities. Times like this create opportunities to test and learn new things, such as packaging or bundling products in a new and useful way that adds value. Be flexible and open to new ideas from different members of staff, or ask your customers and users directly what they need most right now.
We hope these business marketing tips and cross-channel advice helps you in your time of need during this COVID-19 outbreak. We are still open for business at Wired (whilst working from home in isolation of course!) and would love to hear from you should you need extra support, or consultancy advice during this time. Our team can be an extension of yours to help guide you, or provide necessary training. Stay strong out there, find the positives where you can and keep being digitally resilient!
BIG (VIRTUAL) HUGS
Words by Tess Underhill, SEO Executive