The outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, is having a tremendous impact on countries, communities, and businesses worldwide. During this time, it’s important to stay calm, safe and explore all options for your business.
We’re going to discuss the different digital marketing strategies that you can focus on during this COVID-10 outbreak, including:
1. Google My Business
2. Customer Service and Reputation Management
3. Frequently Asked Questions
4. Pivoting your Budget
5. Google Ads Campaigns
6. Social Media
First things first, keep yourself, your family, employee’s and customers safe:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your faces, especially your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water is unavailable
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you are unwell
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow
- Clean and disinfect frequently-used surfaces.
Bing has developed an interactive map in order to keep people up-to-date on COVID-19. The map includes worldwide information about current active cases, recovered cases and fatal cases. By clicking on individual countries, you can see and read breaking news stories relevant to that country.
There is a lot of misinformation going around at present, so it’s critical — more than ever — that we all stay informed using information from trusted sources, the most reliable source for coronavirus updates is the World Health Organisation and your government’s website.
How Facebook and Google are Helping Small Businesses
Facebook has launched a business resource hub to help small businesses affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. They’ve also created the Facebook Small Business Grants Program, which aims to provide financial support in the form of cash grants and ad credits to eligible small businesses.
Google is partnering with the U.S government to develop a website that will be dedicated to providing information on COVID-19.
Google is also promoting the “Do the Five” campaign on their homepage, helping to raise awareness of the simple, yet crucial, measures we can all take to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Businesses Affected by Coronavirus
These are precarious times; everyone is anxious, but the worst thing you can do is drop everything out of sheer panic, including your digital marketing strategy. Maintaining your search engine marketing can help you continue creating revenue, which is especially important during potential economic downtimes.
Here are some digital marketing strategies to help your SEO, and your business:
1. Update your Google My Business
Whether your business has closed during this period or remains open, it’s imperative that you update your Google My Business profile. Google has announced that Maps will display if a business is temporarily closed.
Currently, the only way to mark your business as temporarily closed is to contact Google My Business Support. However, CEO, Sundar Pichai said, “In the coming days, we’ll make it possible for businesses to easily mark themselves as ‘temporarily closed’ using Google My Business.”
Google is actively telling businesses to update their Google My Business listing, especially if they’ve been affected by COVID-19. Google has released information on how to update business information in a bid to provide customers with the most accurate information.
Here’s what our SEO Manager recommends:
|What You Can Do||What You Should Not Do|
|Update your opening hours on your listing||Change your listing name to show you are closed.|
|Add a Google Post explaining how your business is changing due to COVID-19||Set your listing as “Permanently Closed”|
|Contact Google My Business support to mark your business as “Temporarily Closed”|
It’s essential for local businesses to update their Google My Business page, especially when “nearby” or “near me” searches are the most common.
2. Focus on Customer Service and Reputation Management
Brands like Facebook, as mentioned above, are creating content hubs to keep customers informed. What can you do? Small to medium businesses can utilize blogs to create content relevant to their industry or even as a means to update their customers as to the measures being taken at their business.
Now is the time to create and provide your customers with informative content. Reassure customers and let them know what you’re doing to help them.
3. Answer Frequently Asked Questions
People are using Google more than ever. Ensure that your website content answers the questions that searchers are looking for, whether that’s to see if you’re open or stocking certain products.
By having the answers to these questions — and adding FAQ schema to the pages they’re on — you have an opportunity to appear higher in the search engine results page (SERP), which in turn, can increase your traffic and click-through-rate (CTR.)
4. Be Prepared to Pivot your Budget
Buyer behaviour is surely about to change a lot over the next few weeks and months, so you must be ready to pivot your budget to react to these changes, whether that’s in the amount you’re spending on PPC or the keywords you are targeting. This is especially important for businesses that use traditional marketing methods, such as print advertising and event marketing. Now is the time to pivot to online advertising — every dollar counts.
Spend your budget wisely, especially if it can have a measurable short-term impact on your business. And, if you can afford it, invest in a long-term plan and utilize agencies for marketing strategies.
5. Create a Google Ads Campaign
As mentioned in the above points, it’s imperative that you let customers know if you are still open during this time. If you’re worried that you’re not getting the message across, one way to do so is by creating a Google Ads campaign. This is the best way to reach customers who intend to buy quickly.
You can also use the likes of Facebook Ads to reach your target audience on social media.
As we can expect a drop in demand for certain products and services, now is the time to use online advertising to make a push with discounts and support your sales team. Of course, depending on your product/service, you’ll need to be mindful of a potential disruption to stock and delivery.
6. Utilize Social Media
Similar to Google My Business, use your social media channels to keep your customers up-to-date with your business. You can create posts letting customers know if you’re open or not; if you’re taking online orders or offering take out only, or simply if you’re keeping yourself and your employees safe. Generally, just being active online is encouraged.
Instagram recently launched a “Stay Home” sticker for Instagram Stories in a bid to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, profiles that use this sticker in their Stories get pulled into a new group Story, just for that sticker. It’s a good way to get in front of your followers during this time with key messaging related to your business operations.
Obviously, this is a scary time, but you need to think about the long term effects that this could have on your business if you stop all of your marketing efforts.
We encourage you to stay active online, answer your customer’s queries and let them know that you’re still there — that this is temporary.
We will get through this together. Stay safe.
Originally written for TechWyse.