“Business as usual” is a phrase that has lost all meaning for the time being. Businesses have seen a rapid shift in how consumers and other companies behave, and there is hardly a roadmap that business leaders can follow to ensure their organizations stay afloat. Unfortunately, many businesses are at risk of capsizing in the wake of COVID-19 — mainly because they don’t know how to reach their audience.
Digital marketing is as essential as ever in this time when the internet is seeing 70 percent more traffic and when few people are allowed out and about. Here’s a checklist of ways most businesses should manage their digital marketing during this crisis to continue engaging their audiences and survive until we reach a new normal.
Update Local Business Listings
Often, web users looking for information on business don’t navigate directly to the business’s website. Instead, they conduct a web search, typically through Google, and use any links or snippets they find to make their next decisions.
When it detects a local search — which includes language like “near me” or names of cities — Google offers users a local pack. This feature displays a map and information about three relevant businesses. Users can find contact information, hours of operation, and more just through this local pack.
Thus, the first item on a business’s checklist should be to modify the information that appears in the local pack — which requires a bit of profile maintenance and a bit of local SEO. Most likely, businesses will need to make notes of temporary hour restrictions or closures.
Still, it might also be necessary to alter contact information, especially if sales staff or customer service teams are working from home. Businesses can change what appears in the local pack by claiming the profile through Google My Business.
However, this information isn’t easily accessible to users if a business doesn’t appear within that local pack. The next item on the checklist is to obtain the services of a trustworthy digital marketing agency that has experience in local SEO.
It might even be beneficial to find a firm operating in the same market — so any business in the Southwest might search for a Phoenix SEO agency to help them appear within relevant local results. Then, web users and members of a business’s audience are more likely to have up-to-date information about how the company is operating during the pandemic.
Add Content To Business Domains
Perhaps as an element of local SEO efforts but also as an end itself, businesses need to make updates to their website. There are several reasons that users might navigate to a business website, either directly or through search results, and businesses should be prepared to offer new and accurate information about their business operations and other issues affecting their industry and their audience. To start, businesses should post immediately relevant information on their homepage.
For example, if retail stores are closed but online shops remain open — or if there are unique services being offered during the crisis — businesses should make these changes immediately apparent with a message on their homepage and links leading to more in-depth explanations. Special announcements like these must be prominently featured on business domains.
Next, businesses should consider producing COVID-related content. It might be wise to generate a pandemic FAQ page, where site visitors can find answers to common questions about business hours, product availability, shipping times and ways businesses are giving to their communities.
Additionally, it might be wise to populate the on-site blog with stories about how COVID is affecting the business or different members of the business audience. This can be especially useful if the company is helping to manufacture some critical element of the fight against COVID-19 — like masks or ventilators — or if the business is donating to local food shelters or helping its employees in unique and heartwarming ways.
Companies should be careful to produce empathetic content and avoid any language that tries to drive sales for the time being. Finally, businesses should consider hosting virtual events. Often, companies invest a large portion of their marketing budget in live events, like conferences, conventions, concerts, and the like.
Though such social participation is discouraged, for the time being, businesses can still get their audience together over the web through video chats, video streams, and more. Companies would do well to advertise these events on their website but host them on a more appropriate platform, like Zoom, Twitch, YouTube, and others.
Just because it isn’t “business as usual” doesn’t mean businesses should entirely abandon their usual business. By altering how they appear on the web, businesses can continue to connect with their audiences and stay afloat until the world gets a handle on the new coronavirus.
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