You’ve heard it before and will likely hear it again many times in the coming weeks: We are living in unprecedented times. As everyone adjusts to a temporary new normal of working and living, you are likely wondering what changes should be made to your actual work (not just your working situation).
In particular, adjusting your website and social media presence is becoming increasingly important as everyone continues to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. While you might be tempted to stick to the status quo, this can lead to a negative brand association as people perceive you to be out of touch with the situation (or worse, that you do not care). However, on the flip side, changes to your messaging need to be well thought out so as to not look like you are trying to capitalize off of a crisis.
We know- it can feel overwhelming to navigate these waters during such a difficult time. To help you, we’ve put together this list of five helpful tips that can walk you through the process of shifting your online presence in a way that is most beneficial to you and your audience.
We like to proceed with a focus on Reach; Act; Convert; and Engage (the R.A.C.E. digital marketing formula) so we will give you some thoughts on best practices as we face this challenging time together.
1. ENGAGE: Share Crucial Business Updates
Of course, the first step you should take is to communicate with your audience/customers any business updates that are related to COVID-19. For example, if you have a brick and mortar store, are you currently closed? Do you have limited hours? If you are open, are there new policies in place? This is important information that your audience needs to know, and updating your website and social media is a great way to share that message. If you have an email list, we recommend sending an update there as well.
If you are a B2B company, you should still update your audience as to your status. Is your team still working to keep things operational? Can your customers still contact you with any questions? Share an update that keeps everyone in the loop. You may have a service that other businesses are relying on right now, and seeing that you are still running and are there for them can be a major comfort during this difficult time.
2. REACH: Shift Your Social Media
Social media is where people go to connect, and that is only more true during this time. While we are all practicing social distancing, that doesn’t mean we need to socially disconnect. Thanks to the Internet and social media, we are more connected than ever before. The same applies for business. We recommend shifting your content to useful information that your audience would appreciate.
Is your team now working remotely? Why not share tips about how you are all making it work and staying connected? By keeping the information tied to your industry and your team, you are handling things appropriately. What would not be appropriate? Sharing information that has no connection to your brand just for the sake of jumping on the Coronavirus bandwagon.
For example, if you have nothing to do with the food industry, a blog post about healthy meals may not be the best fit. You don’t want to look like you are trying to capitalize on a popular topic in order to boost your website traffic. Instead, keep it connected to you and your brand, and you will be alright.
3. ACT: Decide About Advertisements
In an economic downturn, there are opportunities in both awareness and lower prices. We’ve seen a downward trend in PPC costs, and also when your competitors are NOT visible, you have an opportunity to be seen easier in the mix of messages out there. You can brainstorm messages that tie into the current crisis and perhaps consider discounts where appropriate to help out prospective customers. The key is not to shut off your own marketing efforts in order to keep the flow of new interest going and so, in turn, to speed your own recovery as things improve.
When it comes to your messaging, we suggest that you shift the tone, similar to what we recommend for social media. Are you able to shift your business in a way that can help people right now? For example, could you host a live webinar with tips on how to handle the crisis within your industry? Perhaps you are a fitness website and could advertise some home workout videos or routines? If you are a restaurant, you could consider advertising your new take out policy or delivery policy. While you are advertising your company, it is for a product or service that will be useful to people right now.
4. CONVERT: Go Behind the Scenes
Now is the time to perform some updates on your website, such as running an audit and making some SEO improvements. You can also do some A/B split tests to increase conversions of visitors to prospects. Focusing on how to improve your SEO can give you a boost and help new visitors learn more about your business.
Other ways to improve your site include refreshing old content and after the refresh, pushing it out on your social media channels. Continue to build a relationship with your audience and help them get to know you better.
If your business is ecommerce based, come up with new customer service tactics. A chatbot, for example, is a great way to engage with your audience. A lot of them have a lot more free time now and might be at your website at any time. A chatbot ensures you can always connect with them and give them the information they are looking for.
But, while it’s good to improve marketing techniques behind the scenes, when you take them outward, remember to be empathetic. Show your audience you care what they are going through.
5. PLAN: Create More Value in Your Business
There are always ways to add more value to your business and work on its strengths.
Are there things you haven’t been doing that could improve your site? Finding new tools that’ll enhance your business is one way to add more value. A few examples are setting up a new CRM and creating new newsletters in a marketing automation platform such as MailChimp.
Are there social media channels you haven’t been tapping into that can help your audience learn more about you? LinkedIn and YouTube are two excellent social sites that can help your business grow.
Consider making some videos for your YouTube channel and website that’ll enhance your existing campaigns and benefit your audience. And don’t forget to rely on your team members! They can offer input and aid you along the way.
As you work hard to adjust your online presence, improve your business, and offer empathy to your audience at this time, remember we are all in this together.
Improving your website and social media presence is a good idea, but don’t lose sight of the importance of coming together as a community. So, as you engage with your audience online, no matter the industry, be mindful of that.
If you need anything, our Webdirexion team is here for you. We know we’re dealing with the unknown, but if we rely on one another, we’ll make it through.
Scott serves as CMO & Chief Optimizer on the Webdirexion LLC agency digital marketing team for both development and content marketing strategy, and is the author of the new book, “The Marketer’s Concise Guide to CRO” (Oct. 2015). He is a career marketing communications professional with niche industry specialties in healthcare, law firms, and hotel marketing and holds recent certifications in Google Analytics Mastery (Udemy), and RACE Digital Marketing (Smart Insights). He is currently working toward Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) in Digital Marketing through the American Marketing Association which also requires annual training and 3-year recertification.
Scott has also taught business, web programming and eCommerce courses at colleges in the Portland, Oregon area. He currently teaches WordPress Content Marketing Power, an online course through Udemy, and has spoken at several Content Marketing conferences. When he is not geeking out on a Mac, Nexus 7, or Google Chromebook, he enjoys Tai Chi, walking with his dog (Steggman), and camping trips. Scott says he survives on Coffee and Pizza.