Tips to Help Market Your Business Online in the Age of COVID-19
With consumers becoming more reluctant to visit businesses in person and many businesses operating at least partially remotely, many brick-and-mortar businesses are now turning to the digital space for help with everything from their own operations to marketing efforts. And with much of today’s work itself happening remotely, there are now more people online than ever before, creating an opportunity for businesses to leverage their web presence and market themselves online right at the point of purchase of today’s consumers.
To help you adapt to this new environment and better market yourself online, here is a brief introduction to popular digital marketing tools many businesses use along with some essential tips on how to get best results:
Google Analytics (GA) is a tool that lets you monitor and analyze your website’s traffic (anonymously) so that you can better understand how your customers behave on your website and how effective your digital marketing efforts are. It’s critical to have GA installed on your website before your start any online marketing in order to track your success.
- Set up Goal Completions—If someone fills out a contact form on your website, uses click-to-call to contact you, or purchases something online, you’ll want to track it. Over time, this data will prove very useful in better understanding your website’s performance and your customers.
- Use Demographic & Interest Reports—A less commonly used section within GA contains the Demographics report. This section is located below the Audience section. These reports will provide valuable information about the typical demographic makeup of your users. You can also use the Interests reports to see what types of things your users are interested in, including hobbies, buying habits, life events, and much more. Combine with Go Completion Tracking and you can figure out which demographics are your most valuable users
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website’s presence within search engines like Google or Bing so that you show up higher in search results and consequently get more traffic and business. Once your website is ranking well, you’ll start getting search referral traffic essentially free, the only cost being the labor and expertise it takes to optimize your site.
- Set up a Google My Business Page—One of the most important links you can get is the website link included with your Google My Business (GMB) page. If you’re a local business servicing the local market, this is critical as Google uses GMB listing information to assess where your business is physically located in relation to a searcher. So, if a customer is looking for your services in your area, you’ll show up higher in search results because you’re actually physically near that customer.
- Ask Your Customers for Reviews—For added optimization, make sure to ask your customers to leave a review for your business on your GMB page. Your listing will show up higher in the search results with better reviews because Google favors listings that have more reviews and better reviews than businesses with fewer reviews or poor reviews (less than 3 stars).
IS YOUR BUSINESS STILL STRUGGLING WITH THE EFFECTS OF COVID-19?
This blog offers some ideas that may help
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social Media is one of the most inexpensive means for reaching existing and prospective customers online. While it can take some effort to build your following and start seeing substantial growth in your social impressions, reach, and engagement, it’s completely free exposure. There are many different social media platforms out there but by and large, Facebook is the largest of all, offering the greatest potential reach and most robust features to make use of.
- Choose the Right Platform—To start, choose one or two social media channels that are most appropriate for your potential and existing customers to get the best engagement rates. For example, if you’re a business offering services and products tailored to other businesses (B2B), you’ll probably want to focus your time and effort on LinkedIn, where you can reach users who are already in the business mindset. Conversely, if you’re targeting a younger audience, you might want to spend more time on social media channels that cater to younger audiences like Instagram or Snapchat for best results.
- Use Image & Video Content—Most social media channels have realized that the best way to keep users engaged on their platforms are through longer-form content like video. As such, many of these social media platforms favor video and multimedia content in their newsfeeds. Make use of this fact and try to use multimedia content whenever possible to get good reach and engagement. Even if it’s lower quality video – filmed on someone’s smartphone—your viewers will appreciate the option.
One of the best and most cost-effective ways to reach your customers and prospective customers is through email marketing. Whether you’re reminding customers about an upcoming promotion, elaborating on any of your products/services and their benefits, or sharing the latest post from your blog, email is a great way to reach your customers and build an audience. Services like Mailchimp, HubSpot and Constant Contact offer free or inexpensive monthly packages to get you started.
- Create a Consistent Cadence—Publish on a regular schedule so that your audience knows when to expect an update from you. This increases the likelihood that your customers will make opening your emails a daily, weekly or monthly routine, which will improve your open rates.
- Use Workflows or Triggers—Most email marketing platforms will let you send emails based on a “trigger event” on your website. For example, when someone abandons their cart on your ecommerce site, it triggers an email to remind them to complete their purchase! Using triggers can help you automate your marketing efforts and home in on customers who are close to making a purchase.
Once you’ve established an organic presence on social media and you’re looking to pour fuel on the fire, advertising on Facebook is a great option. Facebook Advertising is a robust advertising platform that lets you promote Facebook posts to different users based on a suite of Facebook’s available targeting criteria like interests, demographics, and geographic location. What makes Facebook so great is the ability to narrow in your targeting on highly qualified audiences whilst delivering ad creative with a strong visual component via an image or video.
- Set up your Facebook Pixel—In order to track the success of your ad campaigns, it’s important to setup a Facebook pixel on your website and install conversion tracking to measure purchases or new lead contacts. Knowing which ads were effective can help you in making future decisions about which types of ads to run, who to target and more.
- Use Facebook Ads Manager & Commit to a Consistent Budget—Instead of just boosting your organic posts every now and again, commit to a consistent monthly or daily budget—even if it’s small—using Facebook Ads to keep a steady flow of new traffic/ business coming in while learning and better optimizing the account. This also ensures you’re not forgetting to advertise if you haven’t posted in a while.
- Use Custom Audiences & Lookalike Audiences—A great way to reach an audience who is highly qualified and likely to become one of your customers is to upload a custom audience of previous purchasers or your existing customers, then create a Lookalike audience off of that initial list. Lookalikes allow you to target users on Facebook who aren’t already part of your initial custom audience list but who match similar characteristics of your initial customer list, like demographics,
While typically more expensive, Google Ads is a great option for advertising online. Using Google Ads, you can pay to have your website listed in search results for a target keyword term. That way, when someone is searching for a product or service your business offers on Google, your website will show up. Google Ads is great because you’re serving ads at the exact moment someone is interested in your business and the best part, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad!
- Set up Google Ads Conversion Tag—Similar to Facebook Ads, make sure you install the Google Ads conversion tag on your website so that you can better monitor the performance of your campaigns and make better performance decisions later.
- Use Smart Bidding—When you run ads on Google, you’re essentially competing in an auction every time someone searches for your target keyword. Managing bids for all of your target keywords can be complicated. To automate this process, use Google’s Smart Bidding which incorporates machine learning to manage bids and get you the lowest possible cost-per-click or conversion event.
- Add Negative Keywords—Use the Search Terms report within Google Ads to identify what people are typing in the Google search bar to trigger your ad. Over time, you may find that there are some terms that trigger your ad that youp;l don’t actually want to show up for. Add these keywords as negative keywords to ensure your ad doesn’t show up for those terms so you can save money and improve the performance of your ad campaigns.
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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of VSECU.
About Mitch Berriman
Mitch Berriman worked with VSECU as the digital marketing strategist before transitioning and starting his own business in Burlington, Berriman Web Marketing. He has nearly a decade of experience in the digital marketing space, carries certifications in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Amazon Ads and continues to collaborate with VSECU on all of their digital marketing efforts. You can learn more about Mitch and his business at https://www.berrimanwebmarketing.com/