The COVID-19 outbreak has hit everyone incredibly hard. There are no definite answers as to when it will pass and it is an uncertain and difficult time for everybody at the minute. Certain stores may be struggling with a significant rise in demand while others will have had to shut down due to public health and safety fears. Though it might seem like a dark time for business owners who are struggling to survive at the minute there are certain things you can do to help yourself both now, and into the future.
While you may be limited in the things you are currently able to offer customers physically, there is no end to the ways you can improve and enhance your current digital presence.
Now, more than ever before, being proactive and productive in regards to digital media and eCommerce has never had such a high level of importance.
So let’s take a look at the way in which you can effectively handle and manage your digital presence in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
With more and more people currently using social media due to enforced lockdowns, using your profiles to connect with your audience has a much greater importance than usual. This is a time to really show empathy to others, offer help where you can and engage with people when they need it most. More people are on social media now while stuck at home, looking for updates or distractions while trying to stay connected in a suddenly isolated world.
Use social media to illustrate the good work you are doing to help at this time as well as inform your audience how they can become a part of these efforts as you can look to form a bond and connection that is much stronger than just being based on supplier and customer.
It’s a unique opportunity for brands to unite together, social media can be extremely powerful when utilised correctly. There are a number of other brands to take inspiration from who are using their social channel to create communal events, from live music events like Levi’s 501 did, to sports gaming featuring athletes like the MLB have done and even activities that can lead to customers designing future products as Jimmy Choo are currently doing.
View this post on Instagram
#CHOOSKETCH: sketch your fantasy shoe, and your design could be part of a capsule collection sold for charity. The use of colour has always been a powerful element in my designs. It can set the theme for a collection enhancing the storytelling whilst reflecting a mood. For this week’s sketch I purposefully included an array of colours in tiny bows as a visual interpretation of me saying “Thank You”. These are probably two of the most important words in life, in any language and any society, especially now. We have so much to be thankful for and there’s a renewed level of appreciation for all the heroes that are working selflessly to overcome the situation we are in. A hand tied bow is symbolic of how I finish a gift to show gratitude and return acts of kindness. I hope the abundance of bows, pops of colour and the playful ease of the design being a flat style with a collapsible back can reach out to as many of you as possible to uplift your spirits! – @sandrachoiofficial, Creative Director Visit our Stories to see how you could take part in #CHOOSKETCH
The possibilities are endless, all you have to do is get creative, and engage with the people who are crying out for different forms of entertainment and distractions from their favourite brands.
Be Visible Online
More people are online now. Search traffic has increased significantly and will only continue to keep climbing the longer the lockdown periods last. For most people, they are spending more time online due to limited other options available to them and are looking for any form of entertainment or escapism to help pass the time. For many, this means more online browsing and shopping.
Online content is being consumed at rates that are extremely high right now. All this leads us to one clear, definitive approach you need to take; be as visible as possible. Now is the right time to be using SEO strategies to elevate your positioning and standing on search engine results pages to allow people that are looking to easily find you. Some businesses may be wary about spending money on digital strategies right now, they may view it as a time to save money and resources for when things get back to normal. However, you should be investing more in your online visibility as now is the best time for people to find you as they are actively looking more than ever before. This is something that will be incredibly beneficial to you once everything in the world starts to return to normality.
Similarly, getting ahead of the competition now is incredibly important for encouraging future success. Another way to achieve this is to keep your website updated and optimised accordingly. The level of competition within businesses is likely to quickly increase in the near future and it’s vital to ensure that your site currently ranks higher than any of your competitors.
As previously mentioned, do not stop your SEO campaigns. Your leads and revenue will suffer if you do this. Think of it this way, with many other competitors choosing to sit back and reduce their focus on SEO, now is a perfect time for you to push even harder with your strategies in order to get even further ahead of your business rivals.
Strengthen your campaigns in order to improve your overall rankings because if you don’t continue to optimise your website and content daily, you could lose ground to more active competitors and it will make it much more difficult to recover effectively from the issues caused by COVID-19. As SEO guru Neil Patel advises ‘when you see your competitors closing down or slowing down on their marketing, the goal is to double down. You may not see the biggest return right away, but in the long term, you will.’
Focus on the Local
Given the current circumstances, everyone has had to reduce their travel and are now consistently staying close to where they live. This means that people are no longer looking for places or businesses that are a significant distance from them and instead are focusing almost entirely on ones that are in their immediate vicinity. When people are looking for services or suppliers, nearby destinations make up the majority of their focus.
With this in mind, you should make sure your business is using local SEO strategies to best optimise your website for any “near me” searches that will be seeing an increase in usage from an online audience. Customers who are in close proximity to your business need to be able to find you easily online. As currently, more and more people are looking for the most convenient option available to them, prioritising local customers will give your business the best chance to provide support and assistance at the time when they need it most.
Use This Time Effectively
It is likely that certains parts of your business will have to be put on hold as a result of the global pandemic. However, this does offer you the opportunity to now shift your focus onto all the business related tasks you’ve been putting off. This could be a marketing item that you haven’t had time to get to or properly planning social media campaigns for all your different platforms for the months ahead. Maybe your website needs a redesign or elements of your company need rebranding. As well as this, it could be useful to perform SEO and CRO audits of your website to ensure everything is running smoothly and that you’re optimising where possible.
People who have been in lockdown have been taking this time to clean their house, tend to their garden and generally take care of projects they may otherwise not have had time to do. This is how you should be approaching this current situation. If you have a digital to-do list that you have been putting off repeatedly, now is a great time to be able to start ticking things off.
For businesses owners everywhere, it is an uncertain time. Everyone wants a clear answer as to when the pandemic will end and we can get back to normal. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. However, while it may be a difficult time for you and your business, it doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do right now to help your business survive, even thrive in comparison to your competitors.
By taking on board the ways your digital presence can help impact your business, you can set yourself up to connect and engage with your audience at a time when they are looking for it most. If you do have any questions or would like support or advice concerning running your business during COVID-19, please reach out to us at Appnova as we are happy to help in any way we can. And above all, stay safe during these trying times. Remember, things will eventually get better for all of us.