8th April 2020
How to Maintain Marketing Momentum During the Coronavirus Outbreak
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent government-ordered lockdown have resulted in businesses having to make many changes. Some have had to stop operating completely, while others have made changes or placed limits on how they operate, and still others are able to carry on as normal and are even seeing a higher demand than ever for their products. In our blog post “Coronavirus: Dealing With Increases and Decreases In eCommerce Demand”, we looked at how businesses experiencing higher and lower demand than usual can adapt their marketing strategy during this time. In this blog post we’re taking a closer look at the things you can do during lockdown if your business is doing little or no trade. Not in the mood for reading? Watch/listen to me explain in the video above instead!
If your business has either temporarily stopped trading or is receiving very little trade, you may have already made changes to your marketing strategy. For example, you may have turned off any paid advertising you were previously running because there is low demand or you are currently unable to fulfil orders. You may also have made changes to or reduced content or marketing output such as blogging, email marketing and social media. Some of the things you had planned in these areas may not be relevant anymore, or they may be inappropriate to release under the circumstances. All of this combined means that you may be at a loss as to what you can do in terms of marketing both to improve your online presence now and to prepare for when sales pick up again. But in fact, there is a lot you can continue to do regardless of whether you’re currently able to sell products. Here are a few ideas.
Even if your PPC is currently paused, you can still work on it by tweaking ad copy, doing keyword research, or researching any features you haven’t used yet such as automation tools. You can also plan ahead for the future – when the PPC is back up and running, what would you like to promote in particular?
Take a look at your website and consider the following questions:
- How is your on-page content looking? Is it informative, entertaining, or valuable to customers? If not, how could you improve it?
- Does your content include the right keywords to help Google and customers to find you?
- What about your page titles, headings, meta descriptions and image alt tags – do they all contain relevant keywords?
These are all areas where you could make small changes, which when combined can lead to improved rankings and increased traffic. SEO work can take a long time to take effect, so the sooner you make your website as good as it can possibly be in this area, the better.
On-SERP SEO is all about improving your visibility on Google’s search results pages. You can do this through optimising your pages to appear in featured snippets or answer boxes, for example. Having a complete Google My Business page can also provide more information to users when they search for you. Other ideas include adding schema to your pages to help Google understand the information on your website and display it more prominently on SERPs, for example by tagging up your contact details and product information, or by adding FAQ schema so that an FAQ list from your website appears in relevant search results. All of this gives you opportunities for taking up more real estate on SERPs – in other words, increased visibility which could lead to more traffic.
Schema markup also fits in with technical SEO – these are changes you could make to your website from a technical point of view to improve your SEO. This includes improving site speed, mobile friendliness, domains, URL structures, breadcrumb trails, menus, XML sitemaps, 404 pages, SSL certificates and other security measures, robots.txt, site structure, navigation and more. Some of these things will be easier to implement than others, and some may require rethinking the overall architecture of your website. So while you may not be able to complete them all right now, you could audit your website to see what problems could be holding you back in the rankings and how you could improve them for future success.
As mentioned above, you may have needed to make changes to your blog calendar in light of current events. This might mean moving planned blog posts to later in the year, and instead blogging about what your customers should expect from your business and any measures you have taken due to COVID-19. It may also mean that you don’t want to blog at all right now because it simply isn’t appropriate or useful for your customers. While that’s understandable, you could continue to write blog posts anyway, without publishing them. By continuing to work on your content now you’re building up a great backlog of content you can upload and share later. This also means you’ll be saving yourself time when your business opens up again – and at that point, you’re likely to be very busy and will thank yourself for thinking ahead in terms of already having plenty of blog content available to use.
Much like your blog calendar, your social media may have changed drastically from what you had intended to post over these few months. Equally, you may not be posting as much on social media now, particularly if you usually post a lot about your offering and are now unable to. However, it’s worth keeping the lines of communication open with your followers so that customers still have you in mind when they are able to buy from you. You may want to take some time to plan social media posts you could share now, which are relevant to your customers, mindful of the current situation, and will help you to build your brand. These posts may be entertaining or informational, and in-line with your tone, values and offering. You could also use this time to plan what you would like to post on social media after lockdown ends. What will you want to say to your followers, or what products or changes to your business would you like to let them know about? Of course, the changes to your business and sales is part of a much bigger conversation, and we’ll talk more about how you can plan for post-lockdown marketing in a future blog post.
Now isn’t necessarily the time to be reaching out to other websites to gain links if you’re not fully operational, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be thinking about link building. Do you have a link building strategy currently in place, is it working well, and how can you improve it? If you don’t have one, you could start now by doing some research on outlets you’d like to get links from, where your competitors get their links, and how you might reach out to people when the time is right.
Carrying on from the final point, there are many things you could look at as part of a competitor analysis. What kind of marketing are your competitors doing, and how are you faring in paid and organic search compared to them? Are there any new competitors on the scene that you should be aware of? Have a look at competitors’ website design and content, SEO and social media. What are they doing well and how can you match them in those areas? Or, what are you doing well compared to them that you should be shouting about as part of your USPs?
Website Design and Development
If there is something you’d like to change about your website, now may be a good time to do it if it’s going to cause less disruption to do it now while you have fewer visitors, rather than at your peak times. Perhaps your website is due a redesign, there’s something that makes navigation not as seamless as it should be, or something’s been broken for a while but you haven’t gotten around to fixing it.
If your website is working as it should, you may still want to consider how you could improve it further. You could revisit suggestions your user or people within your team have made that haven’t been implemented, or you could take some time to ask your customers on social media what they would like to see in terms of new features or things that would help them use your website better. For example, would your customers benefit from a live chat if you don’t already have one, or a chatbot?
Consider CRO (conversion rate optimisation) also – what’s making people abandon their carts? Is it something within your checkout process? How can you make purchasing as easy as possible through your website design?
Also consider accessibility – does your website design facilitate easy use for people with visual impairments, for example? How could you change the design to make your site accessible for everyone?
As you can see, there are many things you can continue to do in the background while business is quiet, from small SEO changes on your website, to getting ahead with content creation, to making great improvements to your website functionality. SilverDisc is operating as normal and we’re here to help with any issues raised here, in any way we can –both during lockdown and when your business is getting back up on its feet – so please do get in touch.