Thanks to technology, the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses is not as severe (although still damaging) as it would have been even a decade ago. Unlike the world we lived in then, we now have an abundance of options for operating and marketing businesses online.
However, in an attempt to cut corners, many businesses are reducing their digital marketing efforts and spend during this tough time. We tell you this as digital marketing specialists that now is not the time to be doing this. From our own clients, we are seeing an increase in return on investment by more than 30% in the last week alone. All it takes is a few changes.
Before you think building a Coronavirus digital marketing strategy is too hard or expensive, check out our steps for making it easy and affordable. Through this process, you will be able to help Coronavirus-proof your business and be better for your efforts on the other side.
Feature image: Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash
5 Easy Steps for Building a Coronavirus Digital Marketing Strategy
1. Find your business’s online potential.
Before you get to the marketing part, you need to know what it is you want to focus your efforts on. During the COVID-19 crisis, you want to be directing people to services or products relevant to a current problem they’re facing or an offer you’re running.
Even if you have had to unfortunately close your physical doors, there may be options for you to continue making money online.
Options to consider:
- Do you sell products in-store you could sell online?
- Are you able to offer gift cards that can be used now or once you re-open?
- Is one or more of your services a solution to problems people may be facing right now?
- Can you operate via video or voice call appointments?
- Could you book appointments with deposits for once you’re re-open?
- Are there regulations around why people cannot do something you do themselves?
Example for a hairdresser:
Sue’s Salon is still operating under current regulations, but she is preparing for them to tighten and to potentially need to close. She decides to start selling the products she sells in-store online and has created ‘Isolation Haircare Packages’ at a reduced price. To keep business coming in through the doors, she is also focusing her advertising on balayage services, which enable people to go longer in between appointments, in case of further regulation lockdowns. Further to this, Sue is also working on hair repair service packages for once the pandemic has passed, with the option to buy vouchers now to lock in your spot.
Example for a plumber:
This is one we borrowed from our work with The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor. One of their services has always been handheld bidet installations, which can only be done by a licensed plumber. As there was a toilet paper shortage, they began to focus their advertising on these options, including the Google Ads they run with us. The result of this was a $28 return for every $1 they invested in attaining a lead.
2. Ensure your website is current.
Having an updated website following current search engine best practices is going to be essential to be able to build a Coronavirus digital marketing strategy and be online at all.
A website ensures you can:
- Sell products online (through a product list with enquiry form or through an eCommerce website).
- Take orders, enquiries and bookings online, even while you’re asleep or focusing on other areas of your business and life.
- Display offers, menus, service lists and anything else.
- Utilise some of the content strategy methods we mention below.
- Direct people who see ads, posts and other digital marketing to a landing page to find more information and contact you.
How to Ensure Your Website is Current
As well as checking all your contact, product, service and offer information is up to date, you will also want to do a full QA test of your website. In this test, you will want to check:
- All links are working and directing to where they should.
- You are using correct heading structure, following H1, H2, H3 and H4 best practices.
- Your website’s plugins are up to date and there are no unnecessary plugins available.
- If using a HTML platform, you are on HTML5.
- All forms are working as they should.
- Each page is registering a page speed test of at least 5 seconds or less.
- The hosting you are using has Australian servers for fast speeds.
- Your website is mobile-responsive so it can be easily accessed on any device.
These are just the basics and there is more you should be testing. However, an easy way to know if your website needs upgrading is if it is more than three years old. Generally, websites over this age that have not been updated need significant backend work, which would make it cheaper to rebuild from scratch, especially with our latest website offer.
What to Do if You Need to Build a New Website
Right now, investing in a new website may seem counterproductive, but it’s going to be one of your main forms of business and leads. Whatever you do, don’t opt for a free website as this isn’t going to do you any favours.
To help businesses be able to get what they need, we have released a $29 (+ GST) a week 5-page website subscription, which includes hosting.
3. Create a content strategy.
Now you know what it is you’re promoting and you have something to promote through, it’s time to move onto the content stage of building your Coronavirus digital marketing strategy.
Your content strategy is going to need two steps; article content and communicational content.
1. Article content.
Article content will typically be in blog form on your website. You will want to be writing and publishing two blogs a week on your website to prompt Google to search your website and for the following reasons.
The purpose for this type of content:
- Provide information to people looking for more about your business, services, products, offers or updates.
- Get in front of people researching for information about your industry or a specific product or service, making you appear authoritative on the topic.
- Create content that can easily be shared through your communicational content and on social media.
When writing article content:
Write a list of questions people often ask you about your business, or new questions you’re receiving. Start with writing an article providing as much information you can about each of them.
Next, research trending topics and keywords in your industry. Your next goal will be to write articles on each of these.
If you need help with any of this, our SEO specialists can assist you.
2. Communicational content.
Communicational content is the content you create to directly reach out to your customers or clients, such as email and SMS marketing or through Google My Business. We will be discussing social media management separately below.
Every time you have a tip, resource, offer or any type of update for your customers or clients, you should be sharing it via any method you can. In times like this, you want to be posting on your Google My Business at least once or twice a week to ensure you’re staying fresh in Google searches.
Your messaging during these times should be reassuring of how you can help.
4. Utilise organic digital marketing.
Organic digital marketing is often referred to as free digital marketing. And technically, it is, if you know what you’re doing. We’re going to be covering the basis to help you plan your Coronavirus free digital marketing strategy.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Your search engine result targeting goals will change a little during times like the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of searching for things like, ‘plumber’, people will be more specific, searching for terms like, ‘how to unclog paper towels from my toilet’. That is an example only, but you get the point.
If you know how to use keyword tools, like Ahrefs, Google Keywords and Google Trends, now is the time to get researching. Find the keywords relevant to your business. Where you have a specific product or service connected to this, create a Coronavirus specific page for it. On this page, add all relevant information people will need to know and how you can help.
For those who need a little help, let our Digital Marketing Specialists know.
Social Media Management.
Social media management refers to the free posting you can do on social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Right now, you should be posting a minimum of once or twice a day on each of your platforms.
This is where having an efficient content strategy in place will help you ensure you never run out of things to post. In-between informational posts, share daily specials, reminders of your trading hours, delivery policies or whatever is relevant to your business.
If you have connections to reach a wide audience, now is the time to use them. For those of us who do not, it’s time to brush up on both traditional and digital public relations.
- Create a press release outlining any offers you have, changes to your business or good deeds you are performing. Once you have this, send it to your local papers, news stations and larger Facebook groups for distribution.
- Encourage your customers or clients to write you reviews. Some platforms, like Google, have deactivated reviews for the time being, but localsearch.com.au is still open and available for reviews. We have, however, put in place a negative review policy to ensure businesses having to adapt to regulations are not being unfairly tarnished.
- Be your own advocate through your blogs and social media posts. Encourage your staff to share these posts, and let the digital word of mouth do its job.
Online Directory Listings
Online directories, like localsearch.com.au, offer a free business profile option. Sites like this often have hundreds of thousands, even millions in our case, of page views a month. These are all people who could see and contact your business.
You also have the option to upgrade your profile for better positioning, to be featured in more places and have more optimisation features.
5. Boost your results with paid digital marketing.
Unfortunately, all organic digital marketing methods have their limitations. This is where you can invest in paid digital marketing methods. The good thing is, as keywords are getting more specific, the price of each conversion is going down.
Take our client, The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor, for instance. For every $1 they invested into their Google Ads that resulted in a lead, they received $28 in response. In the first two days alone they received three leads!
Social Media Marketing.
At the end of the day, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are businesses. To encourage people to buy into advertising, they do restrict how many people see your organic posts without any sharing or tagging happening on them.
However, social media marketing can also be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. Before you boost posts, you should know it’s easy for a reason. It’s a money trap for people who don’t have the time to learn how to use the ad platforms. As the targeting is not specific enough, you’ll be fishing for tuna in a fishbowl.
To help businesses lower their cost on their social media ads, we have created a new package, starting from $59 + GST a week. In this package, you receive one campaign with two variations a month, with content and image creation help from our social media experts.
Search Engine Marketing (Google Ads).
Search engine optimisation takes time, which is something you don’t have right now. Ensure those landing pages are getting the attention they need with Google Ads!
The second you publish a Google Ad, it goes live to your target audience. Then, you don’t pay until someone clicks through to your website. With the right website in place, you’ll be able to convert them into leads.
To target your campaigns during the Coronavirus crisis, ensure you are using images that catch the eye and solution-solving captioning. “Tired of spaghetti bolognaise? Order delivery to your door!”
We ourselves are utilising Google Ads to bring attention to the Localsearch Coronavirus Savings Package. And if that’s not walking the walk we talk, we don’t know what is.
For help with any area of your digital marketing, call our team at Localsearch on 1300 360 867.