Get Your Online Presence Back On Track with these Tips

The COVID pandemic has led to a sharp increase in time spent online. With so much of the world actively engaged online, your brand should not be an exception. Many brands, however, are left wondering what kinds of messages they should be sending, and how to stay relevant when nearly every brand is fighting for attention in the virtual space?

Building your online presence during a pandemic is no easy feat, but with the right tools and perspective you can develop a genuine connection with your customers that leads to increased online interaction even as consumer purchasing patterns fluctuate.

The Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Today’s Circumstances

If you’re looking for a roadmap to guide you through this unfamiliar environment, we can help. 

Here are our tips for maintaining your brand’s image and connecting with customers in the current climate of uncertainty.

Tip #1: Focus on Delivering Value

Be sure any message you send is one that contains some kind of value for the customer. With so many brands taking the “we’re in this together”, it’s no surprise that many consumers are starting to feel a little skeptical or even cynical about these kinds of messages. 

Rather than putting all of your efforts into projecting positive vibes, focus on serving your target audience in concrete ways. It’s through action, not just words, that you will build trust and retain attention.

Tip #2: Understand that Mistakes Happen 

We’re all new to this, and no one has a degree in marketing during a pandemic. If you do get started off on the wrong foot or find that your messages aren’t generating the positive reaction you hoped for, don’t be afraid to apologize. Listening to your audience and acknowledging that you’ve made an error is the best way to move forward.

Tip #3: Cater Content to Consumers’ Current Needs

Right now, it may be best to emphasize qualitative over quantitative data. You may need to focus on creating content that doesn’t necessarily generate the kind of outcomes you’re used to.

Instead of producing content meant to increase your ROI, you may want to ask yourself how you can provide consumers with a positive experience they’ll remember in more stable times. This could involve putting out some kind of “infotainment” that helps customers fill their time in a constructive way, or other types of creative content that are relevant to your industry but don’t necessarily promote your product or service outright.

Tip #4: Take Advantage of PPC Marketing

With fewer people out and about, more and more individuals have taken up residence in front of their screens. This means more Google searches and more eyeballs on pay-per-click (PPC) ads. 

If you’re not already using PPC marketing, there’s never been a better time to start. Thanks to a decrease in cost-per-click and increase in viewership, you’ll get the best bang for your buck with this digital marketing strategy.

Tip #5: Put an Emphasis on SEO

Don’t consider this lull a time to pull back on your SEO efforts. Instead, you should be optimizing your website and content on a very frequent basis to remain on the front page of Google SERPs.

Implementing local SEO strategies is also more crucial than ever as many families are sticking to their local neighborhoods for supplies and services. Local SEO can help ensure your website appears in “near me” searches and makes it easier for customers in your area to find your information. Not only can local SEO drive new customers to your business, but it can also help you be there for your community when they need you most.

Tip #6: Use Social Media for Its Intended Purpose

Connecting with others has always been the main goal of social media. Now is the time to take a moment to connect with your audience over the shared experience of the pandemic. 

There will be time for sales pitches and marketing pushes in the future. However, as we all begin to embrace a new normal, you have the chance to tap into the emotions your audience is feeling and let them know they’re not alone.

Facebook Grants & Ad Credit Updates: How to Apply and What to Expect

In March, Facebook announced it’s plan to award $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to help small businesses struggling due to COVID-19 and its effect on the economy. In the original announcement, Facebook said the goal was to help small businesses offset costs including rent, operational costs, workforce retention, and connecting with their customer base.

They’ve just recently released more information on these programs and how small businesses can participate. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect.

Who is Eligible?

The program is open to up to 30,000 small businesses in more than 30 countries. To qualify, each business must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a for-profit company
  • Employ between 2 and 50 people
  • Been in business for over a year
  • Experienced challenges related to COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Facebook is currently doing a rolling release for applications across the U.S.  New York City and Seattle were the first to be eligible starting on April 18. Companies in San Francisco were eligible to begin the application process on April 20. On April, 22, more areas of the county will be opened to eligibility. 

Businesses will have 2 weeks to send in their applications. Decisions will be made within a few weeks after the application window closes. Facebook has not released a guideline on how long decisions will take to be made.

You can check to see if your local area is now eligible, by clicking the See Available Locations link in the Who’s Eligible section.

If you are in an area that is eligible to apply, you’ll be directed to a new page to begin the application process. For those located in areas not yet eligible, you’ll have the option to enter your email address to receive future updates.

How Can Funds be Used?

If you are eligible for the cash grants and/or ad credits, you may be wondering how you can utilize these funds. Facebook has created this program to assist with a variety of costs and expenses. Just a few of the ways you can use funds include:

  • Assist with rent
  • Cover operational expenses
  • Keep workers employed
  • Connect with customers

How to Get Started

Even if these grants and ad credits are not available in your area today, it’s a good idea to start planning ahead and gathering the information you’ll need for the application. Here’s how the process will work.

Step 1: Check to see if grants are available in your area by clicking here.

Step 2: Verify your business is eligible and meets the guidelines listed above.

Step 3: To apply, you’ll need to supply at least one of the following documents:

  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Business license
  • Official registration
  • Proof of incorporation
  • Partnership documents
  • Contact information 
  • A brief summary of your company

Step 4: Prepare a short write statement on how the funds will be used.

Step 5: Submit the application.

Following application submission, Facebook may reach out for additional information or to have various questions answered before notifying grant recipients that they have been award funds. You can find more information about the application process here.

Getting Your Business Ready For A Comeback

Undoubtedly, the last several weeks have been some of the most challenging we’ve ever faced as a nation and franchise community.  The good news is there’s light at the end of the tunnel – the pandemic is receding and discussions are well underway to begin winding back restrictions and reopening the economy in a staged approach over the next couple of weeks.  This is obviously very welcomed news for all of us from both a personal and business perspective.

Through the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, there are unique opportunities out there to both help your business adapt and prepare for coming out of this situation stronger and more successful than ever. Read below to learn more about the tools you can use now to perfect your digital marketing campaign and expand your influence online.

Make Use of Analytics

When it comes to digital marketing, data is king. Analytics (from Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, or other industry-specific brands) offer insight into your customers’ behavior that can be leveraged in a number of ways. If you’re not making use of this tool already, you’re doing your brand a disservice.

For example, you can utilize analytics to better understand which search engines people are using to get to your site. You can also determine the keywords that are producing the most hits, which can help you develop a more effective SEO strategy.

In addition, analytics can be used to find out how long customers stay on your page before clicking away, and which links they tend to follow on your site. And if you’re interested in the demographics of your customers, this tool can provide you with in-depth information about viewers’ locations.

Focus on Building Keyword-Specific Pages

While efficiency is critical in many aspects of your business, it’s not always the goal when building out your website. Rather than creating a single page for a category of products or services, take the time to build individual pages for local terms that include precise on-page optimization. This division of pages can help increase organic traffic to your site and offers more opportunities for you to create eye-catching content.

You can also build campaign-specific landing pages to minimize friction during the purchase journey. Unlike homepages, landing pages that have a clear message unburdened by distracting site navigation options tend to have a high conversion rate.

Embrace Social Media

While most of us are on some form of social media, not everyone feels quite social media savvy. When you think about putting your business on different social media platforms, you may hesitate for fear you’ll make a mistake.

However, social media is just too good of a tool to pass up. Not only is it relatively easy to use and inexpensive considering the broad audience it can reach, but it also makes it possible for you to engage with customers in a way that traditional marketing techniques simply can’t match.

With social media, the options are quite literally endless. It can be used:

  • For anonymously getting an up-close look at your competitors in order to find ways to distinguish your brand from theirs. 
  • As a platform to request feedback from customers.
  • To post minute-by-minute updates of store events, sales, and new inventory. 
  • To shine the spotlight on your hardworking employees, giving your audience the chance to make a more personal connection with your brand.

Stay Relevant with Retargeting

If a great first impression doesn’t do the trick, how about a second? With retargeting tools, you can continue to display ads to viewers even after they’ve left your site. Since retargeting can reach across multiple platforms, including social media feeds, blog posts, and different websites, viewers will be able to keep your brand in mind no matter where their internet travels take them. Finally, retargeting is the best way to keep your product or service in front of consumers’ eyes even when they aren’t actively seeking it out.

Rethinking Your Digital Marketing Through COVID-19

With the news of the impact of COVID-19 changing every day, it can be tough to grasp how all of these new changes will affect your business overall, not to mention what the situation signals for your digital marketing campaign. While there are many uncertainties that lie ahead, there are still concrete steps you can take to maintain a marketing strategy that makes sense for your brand.

In normal times, marketing is all about adaptation – to new trends, new data, and changing consumer behaviors. Now more than ever, that ability to remain fluid through changing circumstances is key.

Your team should be thinking on its feet, while also being sure that any and all decisions are made in a spirit of compassion. This is the time to invest in long-term consumer trust and loyalty, keeping your brand in a positive light throughout the ups and downs that the future holds.

Adjusting Your Digital Marketing Approach During Uncertain Times

Here are our suggestions for maintaining a strategic approach to digital marketing while navigating this uncharted territory:

Aim to pivot, not pause.

While in-store traffic is being curtailed in the wake of the pandemic, TV usage, and at-home online activity are skyrocketing. This presents an opportunity for advertisers to reach their target audience through more targeted investments in different forms of advertising. Rather than pausing your campaign altogether, you can pivot your digital marketing strategy to comprise platforms that are most relevant to the here and now. 

OTT-CTV is one example that shouldn’t be overlooked. OTT-CTV advertising combines the impact of traditional TV advertising with the precise targeting capabilities of a digital campaign, including addressable targeting, behavioral targeting, and demographic targeting. 

The use of Social Media in the United States is up 30% in recent weeks. This is the time to make sure you’re staying in front of your audience and reminding them of your services. It’s also a great way to provide thoughtful content and share supportive resources with your audience.

By taking into account how your customers’ consumption of media is changing as their daily lives are altered, you can be sure to reach them as they embrace different platforms. 

Take a leadership role.

Customers may not know how the pandemic is changing how your industry operates, and providing them with more information can help them see you as an authority in your industry. From a quick email blast to social media posts or an informative banner on your website, there are many ways to go about getting clear information out there concerning any processing changes or limitations that are affecting the way your business normally runs.

Ask the right questions.

What do customers need from your brand right now? How can you adjust your services to make them more viable as self-isolation and social distancing measures become necessary? 

Many of these questions can be difficult to answer. Make sure you’re communicating with your digital marketing partner to help you navigate the right path you should be on during these uncertain times.

Strive to stay tonally on point.

In this day and age, certain subjects, images, and types of humor aren’t going to be perceived in the same way as they would have been even just a few weeks ago. Take the initiative to reassess all aspects of your digital campaign, from keywords and copy to visuals and other creative elements, in light of the current situation. Being proactive about tweaking these aspects of your digital marketing creative now can mean the difference between running an effective campaign and running one that is seen as being tone-deaf.

Trying times often call for creative thinking and a willingness to adapt. By taking things one day at a time while also keeping an eye on what the future holds, your team can make digital marketing decisions that give your customers confidence, shine a positive light on your brand, and help make the future a little brighter.