Business in the age of coronavirus: How to survive and recover
Ariane Alyerunga

Ariane Alyerunga

July 28, 2020

Business in the age of coronavirus: how to survive, recover, and grow through effective digital marketing

The coronavirus has caused a dramatic shift in the business landscape. Here’s how digital marketing will help you survive the crisis, recover, and grow

 

 (1) Crisis

Maintain your website and expand your digital presence

Your website is a vital component of your business. It is a digital representation of your brand and a key mechanism for attracting new clients and customers.

Your site needs regular maintenance, care, and oversight. If abandoned, it will become unappealing and affect your business in the long-term.

Furthermore, due to the coronavirus pandemic, more people are using the internet than ever before to find vital information. So, if your site looks disorderly and outdated, it will discourage potential customers.

Update your website regularly by posting information about promotions and similar events your audience will find interesting. Few things frustrate customers more than finding landing pages that display content from five or six years ago. If you don’t want them to assume you went out of business, keep your website updated.

Review your content

Are you reaching your audience? While you may have studied your target market’s concerns at the time your website was built, consumer sentiment can change.

Even in countries that have contained the coronavirus pandemic and partly reopened, customer optimism remains dim, and spending intent is lower than before the crisis. Consumer behavior is transitioning to a new normal, as individuals across the world adapt to the reality of the pandemic, and as governments attempt to restart their economies.

While COVID 19 has had a varied impact across different regions of the world, studies have unearthed several universal trends.

Preference for value and essential commodities: According to McKinsey, although several countries have reopened, consumers across the world are seeing declines in income, and they aren’t hopeful about their countries’ economic recovery. In general, consumers are cutting back on expenditure and opting for less expensive products.

Health: consumers are looking for retailers with visible safety protocols such as physical barriers and enhanced cleaning. Furthermore, they are more inclined to buy from brands and companies that have hygienic, healthy packaging, and demonstrate concern and care for their employees. You’ll want to address these sentiments as you engage customers through your website. Doing so will increase audience engagement.

Enhance your digital presence

Engage in buyer persona research: do you know which types of customers you would love to engage but haven’t significantly connected with just yet? Useful customer research will give your insight into your market segment’s needs and wants, help you develop engaging content tuned in their goals and interests, and understand your position within your market.

Surveys, questionnaires, A/B testing – all these tools will help you understand your audience better and develop buyer personas that tell you how your customers spend their time, and how best to reach them.-

Join new social platforms

Nearly all businesses have Facebook profile pages right now, but several other emerging channels would be great for connecting with your audiences. Snap chat and Instagram are excellent for displaying video content and new products. They are also ideal for visual content.

You’ll want to identify the social media channels your customers use most and grow your followers there.

Improve your brand’s authority

Do your customers know they can count on you for the latest industry news? Do they regularly tell you how valuable and informative your authority is? Brand authority grows alongside the depth of your connection with your audience. By routinely giving your audience reliable content, and proving you understand your industry, you will develop your brand’s authority.

Brand authority now affects SEO as well, so you’ll want to find opportunities to prove your position as a significant player within your industry.

If you post articles to your blog but credit the authors as staff without giving them complete author bios, you’ll miss a significant opportunity to earn free SEO points.

Create videos

Written content is the key to effective SEO, but it may appear stale compared to what other brands are doing. Video content holds tremendous potential for any brand. With explainer videos, “meet the team” interviews, and product demonstrations, you can tell your brand’s story and engage your audience in ways text cant. Video content is also more likely to be shared, so it is an effective way to enhance your social media presence.

Update local listings and maps

If you had to move or change working hours, update your local business directories and maps. You don’t want to send customers to the wrong location. It will likely portray your company as disorganized and discourage them from doing business with you.

 

(2) Recovery

Lockdowns have been imposed nearly everywhere, and even for the countries where they’ve been loosened, a resurgence of the virus may force them back.  As you adapt to the situation, listen to your customers to identify and fix any problems with your product/services. You should also search for the most effective and attractive ways to package your offerings.

To do all this, you’ll need to:

Generate interest with special offers – as mentioned before, consumer sentiment is shifting toward value for money. So, if your brand can deliver quality at a relatively low price compared to your rivals, you’ll have a substantial advantage.

If that isn’t possible, there are other ways to make your customers feel special. You could give your clients value-added items such as free gifts when they make purchases. You may give them a complimentary service or offer slow-moving inventory as gifts.

Enhance your mobile site with AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) – AMP is a Google initiative aimed at improving the mobile browsing experience. Though it was first announced in 2015, few digital marketers know about it, and fewer have used it to their advantage.

Since bounce rates are startlingly high for slow-loading mobile pages, improving their load times is vital to your success. Slow pages also affect conversions – a 1-second delay may cause a 27% decline in conversion rate. Using AMP is an effective way to tackle these problems. To implement accelerated pages on your website, follow Google’s AMP guidelines.

Note: Although AMP is an effective way to speed up your website, it has a few drawbacks, the most pertinent being that it only works for static content. That is, your site must remain the same each time it is loaded. AMP pages won’t work for mobile sites that rely on geotargeting or random number content generators.

Enhance your multichannel digital marketing strategy with Email – Email might seem outdated. Still, it remains one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies with a return on investment of nearly $40 for every dollar spent. Growing your email list should be a top priority.  With your customers’ email addresses, you’ll have the means to build relationships, drive sales, and nurture customer loyalty. You may develop your list by inviting visitors to sign up for your newsletter or giving them an email subscription form with discounts as an incentive.

 

(3) Growth

For your business to grow, you’ll need to find new customers. But how do you find new target groups who will appreciate your services and products?

Look-alike modeling

Look-alike modeling is a process that finds people that look and behave like your target market segments. It analyzes your seed audience to find critical characteristics and then uses them to find consumers who fit that description.

Let’s assume you want to target people more inclined to click your advertisements and watch your videos. Look-alike modeling will use machine learning algorithms to identify users likely to take those actions.  This means your campaigns will reach more people and attain a higher engagement rate than before.

How look-alike marketing benefits you.

Every business has an ideal customer. Most times, it is someone who has bought or shown interest in its services and products. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find such people. So, when you do, you want to build a relationship so you can keep their loyalty. An audience of loyal customers is a recipe for success. Look-alike modeling increases your chances of success even further by expanding your pool of customers. It will find audiences with behaviors that match your current audience, so there are higher chances that you’ll convert them.

Establish Omnichannel synergy

Synergy is the cooperation or interaction of two or more agents to achieve an aggregate effect larger than the sum of their parts. It’s like teamwork. When individuals work together, they produce more than they would have by each making a singular contribution.

Synergy applies to business as well, and it has evolved into a fundamental part of business marketing. For example, you may have noticed brands hiring celebrities to support their products, sportswear companies partnering with top athletes, and beauty parlors openly showing their preference for a specific cosmetics company. Partnerships like these are mutually beneficial – brands get new customers from the celebrities’ fan bases, and the stars get paid to promote the brands.

Marketing synergy isn’t limited to influencer endorsements. The key concept is to integrate several different marketing strategies, methods, and techniques, so they support each other and achieve higher results than anyone marketing approach could on its own.

Synergy requires that you continually monitor your customers’ behavior and combine the right channels to capitalize on it. You need to communicate regularly, as well. Without frequent communication, your customers will forget about you.

Omnichannel marketing examples: new website content + email.

There are several ways you could use email to improve your website’s SEO rankings;

backlinks: in your emails, ask readers to share your content and forward your emails to their colleagues and friends. Doing so increases the chances you’ll get free backlinks, which will improve your site’s visibility.

Bounce rate reduction: visitors who arrive at your website through email links are more interested in your offerings, and they will explore your site for longer periods. This will tell search engines you have high-quality content.

Content promotion: you may use your emails to improve the performance and visibility of your content. For instance, you could send monthly or weekly newsletters with a roundup of the best articles from your blog. This will likely lead to a spike in inbound traffic and an increase in the number of backlinks.

Email + Facebook.

There are plenty of ways to implement a productive synergy between email marketing and Facebook.

You may;

  • embed social media buttons into your emails
  • invite users to register for an email newsletter on your Facebook business page
  • Use email to promote Facebook offers and the other way round.

If you are a business owner, chances are that the last few months have been filled with an unprecedented amount of disruption. As the world grapples with the health implications of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are suffering too, with government restrictions causing dramatic changes in consumer behavior. There is no need to worry, though. With the advice shared in this post, you have better chances of success. Furthermore, if you have any digital strategy problems, there are several digital marketing companies in Uganda, you may consult for advice.