Business As Usual: Shifting Your Digital Marketing Plans
COVID-19 has inundated our news feeds, television screens, and even print materials. It’s pretty surreal to be going through a pandemic globally. Think about it. Every person in the world is feeling the impact of this virus. We think this brings a whole new meaning to the saying “we’re in this together.”
Seriously, just here in our community of Lakeland we’ve seen people rally around local businesses showcasing their support. It’s been inspiring and heartwarming. Without support, businesses struggling in these tough times are certainly bound to feel the lasting effects of COVID-19 for months, possibly years. It’s important to note how the community has flocked together so rapidly; digital platforms. Not to say that these businesses wouldn’t have some of their loyal fanbase still financially support them without marketing, but….a majority of them, mainly non-locals who hadn’t heard of them before, did come to their aid because of digital marketing efforts.
Your brand relies on digital marketing, even when there isn’t a global crisis. Read that again. It relies on digital efforts to work. You only stay top of mind if you put your brand out there, strategically. Screaming into the void without a plan won’t work due to millions of other brands doing the same exact thing. Instead, pivot your digital marketing plans and look to refine your social media, Google Ads, website, and email campaign strategies.
The whole package
Ah, the ever evolving world of social media. I might be a little partial to social, but trust me when I say: if social media isn’t your brand’s best friend, it needs to be. Tons of people are scrolling social feeds all day long, especially now. Planned content calendars, ad placements, and customer service are all huge benefits to your brand in ONE place! In times like these, this is a good reminder that social media can be used for two way communication with prospects and clients, creating a direct connection which is important in the current state we are in.
If your company is experiencing a lull in traffic, take this time to refine your social content calendars in advance. A silver lining some of you might be currently facing is finally having enough time to map out content that you want to push out in the next few months. Since social isn’t a static communication method, these content calendars should be malleable while still providing a solid framework of topics that you know your audience wants.
Two very important words: ad placement. While funds can be tight, it’s better to spend some money than none at all on social media. Having organic, purposeful content is still the bread and butter of your pages, but in order to cast a wider net, you’ll need to shell out a few bucks here and there. Did you know that 60% of people discover new products on Instagram alone? I’m willing to bet there were some dollars behind those posts in order to reach the user’s feed. Targeted advertising on social media channels can be an inexpensive method to promote brand awareness!
When you go to create an ad, you then have the ability to hone in on your target audience including demographics such as location, online behaviors, and even interests! You’re paying for the exact viewers that you want to reach and, ultimately, covert!
Don’t ghost your social media pages — and I don’t just mean posts! This includes responding to all public comments and even private messages. At the end of the day, social media plays several key roles for your brand; customer service being high on the list. We live in a world of instant gratification. Many customers have started to directly comment or message a brand’s social media channel for assistance. Monitor those inboxes! You don’t want a customer to have an unpleasant experience by feeling ignored, but the response badge on your Facebook’s business page will plummet. Literally showing everyone that your brand is unresponsive.
By a show of virtual hands, how many of you have ever noticed a company repeatedly copying and pasting the same response on a thread of comments? We get it — it can be difficult to uniquely respond to every comment. Consider making small adjustments—like using their name within the comment—to let them know it’s a human being considering their needs and feedback. Your supporters want to know that there are real people behind social media channels instead of a robotic response. The benefit? You’re providing them value AND a great user experience. Win-win!
Google Ads & SEO
Growing your business is at the end of the day, every brand’s goal. Without scaling your company, there’s no profit. Let’s go over two very essential components that will help you stand out within internet rankings.
You know what Google is, but is your brand using Google Ads? If you’re scratching your head wondering what it is, we’ve broken down the benefits of why you should become familiar with this winning strategy.
Simply put, Google Ads is an online advertising service. Have you ever noticed that when you go to search anything on Google, an ad pops up at the top and bottom of the pages? Hello, Google Ads! It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when explaining all the different types of campaigns you can run, but we’ll keep it simple with these key points:
- You’re in total control: you can turn the campaign on/off at any time.
- Focus on multiple keywords at one time to increase brand visibility.
- Website retargeting: say someone checked out your site once but didn’t take action. Google Ads have a retargeting display option so that you can reach those previous website viewers once again.
- Consistent reporting: who clicked on your ad, how many leads converted, which keyword works the best.
You’ve likely heard the term, Search Engine Optimization aka, SEO. SEO is an inbound marketing strategy that can help your website rank higher on the list in Google searches. When you search a brand of any kind, you’ll find several listings on the first page that aren’t there due to random luck. This was due to that brand’s SEO strategy.
Extensive research went into determining how users phrase their searches for specific topics so that they could optimize their page accordingly. This is what we in the industry call, permission based marketing. We know those unwanted spam emails, ads, and phone calls are the worst. When utilizing SEO, you’re helping customers find useful information they’re looking for faster.
If that all seems overwhelming, hiring an agency that’s able to run Google Ad campaigns and SEO is your best bet. An expert that’s been certified by Google, or an SEO strategist, can help set up, run, and consistently monitor your brand’s campaign performance!
In our previous blog, we explained the importance of having a responsive website and mobile optimization. Without a solid website, the aforementioned Ads and SEO campaigns won’t perform the way you’ve intended. Also, your website is the backbone of your brand and each component, including emails and social media, should always drive users back to your website. We recommend auditing your own website to ensure it’s in tip-top shape. What to keep in mind during this audit:
- User experience: is your site easy to navigate?
- Functionality: Is your website slow to load or not optimized for mobile?
- Overall site health
Without these audits and staying up to date, your Google rankings will be impacted by imposing penalties within the SERP (search engine rankings page) and your online growth will be stalled.
Email marketing campaigns
In order to build relationships with your audience, efficient communication is your key to success. Email marketing is a form of digital communication that’s considered to be one of the most engaging ways to reach your audience.
As a professional and consumer yourself, you likely check your email (or multiple emails for that matter) several times a day. Who doesn’t have an email address this day in age? Leverage this opportunity to connect with your supporters! With platforms such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, you have the ability to tailor your messaging and even segment the recipients so that each list can receive specific information from your brand.
Pro tip: There are specific email softwares that allow users to perform A/B tests, allowing you to see which elements of your email provided the best results. Consider testing out different subject lines or different offers to see which lands you higher open rates.
Email automation ensures that your message sends out at high-volume times to increase open-rates and gives the unique ability to re-target former leads with re-nurturing campaigns. Maybe you had a user that abandoned their online shopping cart, or maybe they filled out a form but didn’t actually schedule that demo. This is where email marketing automation turns a missed opportunity into a possible win to build a stronger relationship and land a sale.
Reach your audience on-the-go!
Even better than that, cell phones present the option for your brand to reach out and engage that consumer. Not all marketing tactics are built for digital engagement. But email marketing was designed with digital engagement in mind to offer businesses more opportunities to get their message in front of users fast.
Consider the ways in which your brand can utilize email marketing campaigns in 2020 to grow your business!
A Step in the Right Direction
Whew, that was a whirlwind of information! But, without any of these digital strategies in place, it could be hurting your brand instead of helping it — especially in tough times! We’re here for you, #foryourbrand, always. If you think your brand needs help with all of these strategies or even just one of them, we’d be glad to guide you, taking your brand in the right direction. You’ve got this, and we’re here to help!