The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic mean businesses are closing, gatherings are being cancelled and people are working from home. A difficult time for many (if not all) businesses.
At Intergage we always try to find the silver lining. While this is difficult in such unprecedented times, there are a few glimmers of positivity:
- teams can stay connected via video conferencing software – here’s a shot of our own team in our weekly Lunch Time Learning session!
- reduced travel is great for the environment
- we are all pushed to use new technologies and adopt new ways of working
- workers become more productive as they spend less time stuck in traffic.
So, for those who can continue to work, they are more productive but perhaps need something to focus on. Something to maintain normality. Something to strengthen your business when we all come out the other side of this.
It doesn’t require face to face interaction, it doesn’t require you to do anything out of the ordinary and it absolutely will add value to your business.
In times like this it is quite easy to see your digital marketing as a commodity. A want not a need. But what do you think will happen if you slash your digital marketing efforts now? Do you think it will help your business when everything goes back to normal?
It may seem like a short-term fix but cutting your marketing it will undoubtedly have long term effects for your business.
There are a lot of things you can’t do now. But something you can do is spend some time looking at the bigger picture and thinking of ways you can:
- raise your profile with your target market
- improve online conversions
- create content to connect with your isolated audience
- test and learn
So, here’s some advice from your local B2B marketing experts on how you can use this time to get a competitive edge on those who are slow to react:
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
If your audience don’t see you or hear from you the likelihood of them thinking of you is low. As people start shutting themselves away in self-isolation it’s crucial you remain top of mind and on hand to help – especially for your existing customers!
Reviewing your SEO and online visibility is a great place to start and a sure way to create long-term effects for your business.
Do some research to understand where you sit in comparison to your competitors and identify ways to improve your organic visibility. This might include:
Auditing Your Website
Taking a step back from the day to day presents an ideal opportunity to review your website with a fresh mind.
Review your site and update content that’s a little old or stale. Identify content that’s performed well and repurpose it into different formats. Review your metadata against that of your competitors’ and identify opportunities to make improvements.
We’ve done a fair few website audits in our time so if you want some tips on how to start and which tools to use take a look here. Alternatively, we can make a start for you by providing you with a free competitive report here!
Restructuring your content
Restructuring your content to make it more suitable for SERPs (Search Engine Results Page Features). Understand the questions your audience are asking and answer them on your website in a clear and concise way.
It’s as simple as that!
Being successful here means you’ll have the benefit of being the first page listed on Google – can you get much more visible than that?
Neil Patel recently reported that during the week commencing 9th March 2020 there were huge drops in organic traffic across multiple industries. Guess what? This means your business has an opportunity to gain a competitive edge while others are slow to react.
Marketing automation is also a brilliant way of keeping in touch with your customers and prospects. It allows you to connect with your audience on autopilot.
But we aren’t talking about mass emails chains here. Marketing automation should be contextualised to the buyer and where they are in their buying journey.
Provide information that’s helpful to your audience and is based on things such as:
- the content they’ve viewed on your website
- the questions they’ve asked your sales team in the past
- the products/services they’ve purchased from you
- the length of time they have been a customer.
Your messages shouldn’t be about selling your services. They should be about helping the user get to where they want to be and in times like this, letting them know you’re there for support. For more information on marketing automation why not check out our Introduction To B2B Marketing Automation?
Google advertising is a brilliant way to boost traffic and online enquiries during a drought. It allows you to capture the right people just as they’re searching for your products and services.
But that’s not all.
You only pay when people click on your adverts! So, providing you have detailed targeting and are sponsoring the right keywords, you should only pay when a potential customer clicks through to your site.
Once they’re there you need to work on your landing pages and providing the most helpful experience. That’s where the magic happens.
Creating concise, design-lead landing pages that make your offer seem irresistible will put you in good standing to get that all-important conversion.
During a time when your organic traffic might be suffering and the phone isn’t ringing, trying Google Adwords might give you the boost you need. And when you’re only paying when people click on the ad, you can do this at a relatively low cost.
Create Connections Online
There are lots of people who will be feeling lonely right now. The likelihood is they’re working from home and many of them will have empty diaries. So, give them something to talk about!
Share positive messages of support
Be present on social media channels, comment on blog posts and join groups your customers are part of – these are all things that fall by the wayside when we’re too busy but are brilliant ways of creating meaningful connections when it really matters.
Using social listening tools is also a brilliant way to find conversations with the right people. Tools such as TweetDeck, Mention and our personal favourite HubSpot give you an insight into what people are saying online about your specialists subjects, your business and the products/services you provide.
So, how can you cut through the noise and back up what you’re saying in those conversations?
High-quality content. Lots of it.
Now is the perfect time to review your content strategy and start creating content in different formats. This might come in the form of blogs, infographics or even video. Create evergreen content that can be used time and time again to support your conversations and share socially.
If you don’t have the resources to create content in the formats you need, use a trusted marketing partner to help.
Remember, if they can see you and hear you, they’ll think of you.
Test and Learn
We pride ourselves on making data-lead decisions at Intergage – that’s why people work with us! But often, when you have limited marketing resources it can be difficult to test things as much as you’d like to.
The current situation presents an ideal opportunity to test elements of your marketing. Try new techniques and tactics to make your marketing more adaptable and to give you a competitive edge.
This might come in the form of split testing ads or landing pages to improve your conversion rates. Equally, you might find this a great time to test new technologies such as marketing automation, live chat or even chatbots.
The vacuum of innovation is the perfect time to bring new ideas to market, since it means that there is significantly less competition in the market for your idea(1).
All of these are productive ways of keeping your marketing proactive so that when we all come through this unprecedented time your business has an edge over your competitors.
Technology such as live chat gives your sales team another way of communicating with people who decide to visit your site. You could go one step further and turn that live chat into a bot. This way the software takes care of all the talking for you!
We’ve recently installed a chatbot on our own website – Interbot! He’s in charge of providing website visitors with helpful information in a variety of formats and triaging enquiries to the right Intergager when needed.
Interbot allows us to communicate with website visitors 24 hours a day, seven days a week and he’s doing a brilliant job so far!
We will get through this
Ultimately, no one really knows what’s going to happen over the coming weeks (or even months). And while humans can catch the dreaded COVID-19 your website and digital marketing cannot. So, use this period to focus on the bigger picture and invest in your business and its future.
Don’t make short term decisions that have negative long-term impacts. We will beat this virus and come out the other side fighting.
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