The world as we know it has changed. Thanks to COVID19, the way we shop, socialise, travel and work looks very different to how it did back in January. Whether it’s big or small changes, there isn’t one person who hasn’t been affected in some way by coronavirus.
Sadly, a lot of businesses have suffered. People have lost their jobs, owners have lost revenue and most have lost that feeling of certainty they once had when it came to their livelihood. Some industries simply can’t work throughout this period of lockdown, while others have had to cut back on productivity to maintain safety for their workers. Naturally, the health and safety of people should be everyone’s first priority.
COVID-19 and Digital Marketing
However, one thing I’ve noticed (and have been shocked by) is the large number of companies that have significantly reduced their digital marketing since COVID19 struck. I’m personally seeing less ads and social media activity from the brands I follow and interact with, and I know a lot of my friends and colleagues have experienced the same. Yet, the most troubling news is the amount of companies that have cancelled their digital marketing contracts entirely or shut down their entire digital departments.
I realise times are tough, and money must be saved where possible. However, we are in the midst of unprecedented national “down-time”. Numerous work places have been closed for months, and some won’t open again. More than ever people are spending time in their homes with limited distractions. This means that your customers are spending way more time (and money) online than normal. In fact, Barclaycard reported that “digital content and subscriptions benefited from a 17.4% uplift” in March.
So, the point I’m trying to make is now is not the time to abandon your digital platforms. Quite the opposite, in fact. As a business owner, you should be making the most of this “down-time” by fortifying your website.
Basically, when your customers visit your site, you want to make sure they can browse and shop with ease. Or, if they are Googling your products, you really want to ensure you are right there at the top of the SERPs waiting for them.
If spend is something you want to cut back on, you can pause your pay-per-click campaigns and any other pricey outbound marketing you feel you need to. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternative zero cost things you can do to keep your online offering in ship shape.
Review Your Content
You could use your spare time to start assessing the content that you already have, and considering how you can capitalise on it. By listing all your blog posts, emails, social media posts, webpages etc. you can start noting which ones performed well and why. The list will guide you in creating more profitable content going forward. In addition, you can brainstorm how these existing pieces could possibly be repurposed.
For instance, if you had an email that had a high click through rate, you could perhaps turn it into a infographic or a social media post. Plus, having a file containing all of your content is good practice for when you want to carry out a full content audit in future.
Implement a Reviews Strategy
We all know how important online reviews are for SEO. Not only is it essential to have positive reviews, but it has been confirmed by Google that responding to your reviews is vital too.
Unfortunately, it is common for businesses to neglect this duty. Usually it’s because they don’t have a dedicated person for digital channels and/or there simply isn’t enough time. Well, now is your chance. Here are some top tips for great review management:
Don’t Get Defensive
Every business receives bad reviews, the important thing is not to let it get to you
Even if it really wasn’t your fault, always apologise to the customer and let them know you are sorry that they didn’t have a good experience
Go the Extra Mile
Whatever it is you can do to turn their negative into a positive – do it
Offer Constructive Feedback
If there’s something that they can do to resolve their issue (such as returning a faulty item to you in the post) give them clear instructions with details on what they will get in return
Show your humanity
Ensure to write a unique reply every single time, internet users are quick to spot a bot (or someone who doesn’t really care)
Update Your Google My Business & Contact Page
As a result of coronavirus, lots of businesses are operating at special hours or are experiencing long wait times. Now is the time to let your customers know about it.
Update your Google My Business page for local customers. Put a notice on your website and any social channels too. This lets customers know you are still operating, but warns them about the temporary changes.
Clean Up Your Link Profile
A big no-no for SEO is unnatural links. What are unnatural links? Any links that have been created to try and manipulate the ranks. Unnatural links include comments, link schemes (paying for links), PBNs and much more.
We all know these black hat techniques can seriously damage your site. However, there are some genuine link building techniques that if done incorrectly could also be bad for business. These include directories, having a sitewide footer, press releases etc. When building links, make sure there’s no keyword stuffing. Also, focus on sites that are relevant to your business.
To clean up your link profile, use a tool like Ahrefs Site Explorer to review your backlinks. You can order by domain rating or filter by domain or anchor. By doing this you can start to weed out the spammy or unnatural links.