So, in business there are recessions, there are booms and there are pandemics, but is there ever a bad time to invest in your Digital Marketing? No. Your brand should be actively marketing throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, economic downturn and eventual restoration of the “new normal”.
Highstreets were referred to as desolate, the use of the word “furlough” hit unprecedented highs, and business diversification has never meant more. It seems the world changed completely overnight.
As 2020, 2.0, unfolds, the true impact on our economy is unravelling, and many businesses are feeling the effects. Redundancies, scaling back, diversification and even closures.
Where digital marketing is concerned, in recent surveys, more than 90% of businesses reported a detrimental impact upon their day to day business and as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak would be cutting back on their marketing spending. And according to recent research only 14% of businesses will go ahead with campaigns as planned.
Cutting back on your marketing spend is not our recommended method to save money however; allocating your marketing resources more efficiently will save money whilst increasing revenue.
Being sensitive to the current pandemic and economic downturn with your marketing strategies is obviously paramount, you don’t want your efforts to be counter-productive! Ensuring your messaging is supportive of charitable organisations, small local businesses, the local and national government efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, and of course the NHS, while staying true to YOUR brand values is the key.
Now is the time to collect customer data to better target your brand messaging and marketing efforts. Ironically though, media planning, paid search and SEO have been the digital marketing areas that have suffered most.
The resounding importance for the Coronavirus pandemic is without doubt the health of the population, but there are many more people affected in addition to the ill. By acknowledging the issues this situation is having on your client base (both existing and prospective) you’ll be establishing a shared narrative, enhancing the trust in your brand.
Although we may be becoming more cautious with our personal interactions, we haven’t lost interest in the businesses around us. In fact, in many cases, it’s given consumers the opportunity to delve deeper into the values and services of businesses on their doorstep.
With more time comes more intent; individuals are focusing their efforts on the local, independent companies around them, looking to support those in need. On Pinterest alone, there has been a 400% increase in ‘ways to support a small business’ searches, confirming there is a whole new market out there to engage with.
Small businesses across the country have shown their ability to adapt and evolve during the Coronavirus outbreak, and this adaptability has not only kept them going but supported local communities and charities too, in turn increasing the brand awareness. The surge in support for these small businesses, and the focus on their versatility, is creating quite the ‘buzz’ on social media. It’s hard to miss the gratitude and appreciation for those who have adapted to help others the best way they know how.
Coupled with this need to ‘stay local’ has also been the upsurge in eCommerce sales, with Europe seeing an increase of 35% of installations of eCommerce apps during th height of the pandemic and a 25% increase in time spent in app sessions.
Placing your brand in line with these messages and on the right platforms will be the key to survival in the long term.
What’s your brand message?
Whilst being reminded about the virus constantly can create a feeling of bombardment, it is a mistake to avoid the COVID-19 topic altogether. Mentioning it isn’t charging the fear, it’s helping people to feel connected to the brand, demonstrating that you know and understand their situation.
Those brands who can empathise with the consumer during, and after, the pandemic will undoubtedly be more successful. It’s essential that you get the tone and message on point. Effective marketing means always being willing to adapt and change with the circumstances, rolling with the industry punches if you will.
Make your offers relevant to what your target market is going through right here right now. What will they need moving forward, and what are they most likely to want to spend their money on?
It’s also a good idea to remove anything from previous content or website copy that may come across as insensitive.
Social Media Marketing
Our new socially distant way of life means that the country is spending more time within the confines of their own homes, whether furloughed, working from home, home educating, or simply being cautious. Consequently, people have been embracing social media with an unprecedented rise in screen time, an increase of 25% in engagement on Instagram in April 2020 alone.
Work smarter, not harder! If you’ve had to delay a product launch, pause or even recreate your content plan, don’t be afraid to amend and repurpose previous content to continue your online presence. Conjuring up fresh ideas during unchartered waters can be tough at a moments notice. Using what you already have as a starting point is perfectly okay; you’ve invested time, effort and money into your content, gaining value from it time and time again is recommended. Try updating the language and focal points showing its current relevance, implementing a sense of community in your older posts.
Content created before the pandemic may not now be as relevant, but it might come back into focus a few months down the line. So instead of throwing it out entirely, stash it away for later, you’ll thank yourself when the time comes and you can pull it out of the bag with a few tweaks.
Now with the reinstatement of restrictions in pockets of the UK is the ideal time to actively dig into your audience's conversations; spend time as a live user, instead of scheduling in advance? Post within platform, interact with what’s going on in your community right here right now, be present. Using your intuitive social listening skills to then direct your content throughout this fast moving and ever changing situation, enables you to tailor your message to fit that moment in time.
Something to consider for your current social media marketing strategy is relevant timing. Life isn’t as we once knew it; many of us are still not commuting, clocking in at 9am and clocking out at 5pm, our daily routines have been reworked. It’s worth considering that your potential audience is online at different times and for longer periods.
To establish when this is, test out upcoming posts with various times of the day. Traditional posting tools and scheduling algorithms have yet to catch up with this ‘new normal’, so taking the time to listen to the mood of your audience allows you to post when it’s most likely to be seen and be the most interacted with.
Keeping one eye on your competitors is always a good idea, by monitoring which channels they’re pushing their marketing efforts through you can assess how you will push your own. You certainly don’t want to simply copy everyone else, but to some extent you need to be aware of what seems to be performing well and on what platform.
With the enforced isolation we saw during the beginning of the pandemic and the subsequent lack of ‘normalcy’, more people than ever are on the internet, and for longer. Although this could be fantastic for brand awareness, the unpredictable nature of the ongoing situation and post-Corona income led to a reduction in online spending during the first half of 2020 but with, stalwarts of the highstreet and online giants like Next and Amazon predicting and upsurge for the final quarter (especially in online sales) of 2020 a knee jerk reaction and cancelling marketing efforts looks to be a long-term mistake. For those who are continuing with their campaigns, the average Pay Per Click cost has dropped by over 50% across the board, which means they’re enjoying leads at significantly lower costs than before. A tremendous competitive advantage. Big winners in this sector are charity organisations, nonprofits and health and medical businesses.
If you’re an online business, or a business with an online offering, now could be the perfect time to increase your Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
So, rather than pausing your campaigns altogether, an amended strategy, taking advantage of this lower cost, would be to reduce your spending, yet attain more effective bang for your buck by allocating it wisely.
Generally speaking, this is an excellent opportunity to stand out from your competitors, and spending the time now working on your long-term strategy will pay dividends later.
Utilising the ‘Overview’ section of your Google Ads dashboard, you can see a Day & Hour chart, which you can adjust to see when you tend to get the most conversions. By honing in on the top 2-3 days and times, then either excluding the other days or reducing the bids so you still appear, your campaign spend will be more cost effective giving you a better return on investment.
One of the most valuable pieces of information when considering your Pay Per Click budget is the performance of your keywords. By interrogating how much you have been paying for your clicks, compared to what the market rates are, you can determine where the smart spending lies. Narrow down which keywords/phrases are forming lower cost conversions as opposed to those that are costing you more, then amend accordingly.
With the nation beginning to ramping up their business output once again, the need for fresh, accurate and enticing content is enormous. Although many would have chosen to keep their marketing offerings in-house during the pandemic, now’s the time to invest in what you put out; marketing is why, and how, your customers not only buy from you, but find you in the first place.
In the same way you might do an alright job of cutting your partner’s hair, the chances are a professional will do a far better job. Professionalism is always key.
Content creation can be anything from graphics, adverts, social media posts, blogs, vlogs and website copy. Ensuring these are high quality will boost your search engine rankings. The more Google likes and respects what you do, the more traffic and exposure you’ll receive.
Outsourcing your content creation can significantly increase your financial return, freelancers and specialists are proven to be more productive and innovative. By giving the task to those who know how, you’ll be spending less hours yourself, therefore being able to distribute your time and effort elsewhere in your business.
The pandemic and the inevitable economic recession that has followed continues to be an incredibly difficult time for businesses both large and small, the important thing to take away from this is the changes both you and your customers are facing. If you are to continue marketing your brand effectively, you must demonstrate understanding and empathy whilst maintaining awareness of you and your business. Investing the time to your long-term strategy, website design, copy, brand message, SEO and social media will help to reinforce your business position.
Spending time with your PPC statistics and Google dashboard not your idea of fun? Get in touch for us to tick that box for you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Search Engine Optimisation is a constantly evolving process, as is your business, practises and the products/services you offer, therefore you need to ensure your optimisation is up to date, both on the site itself and off the site driving traffic. By following the steps in our recent Onsite SEO Blog , including having a blog, product optimisations, and keywords, you will improve your rankings. But without relevant and targeted off-page SEO efforts too, your website won’t benefit from a vast array of alternative avenues.
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of organically increasing traffic to your website, it’s not keyword placement within your copy alone. Equally important are the tasks you perform off and around your website, a heady mix of link building, social media, influencer marketing (where appropriate), marketing outreach, and paid marketing. For the success of your online business, you will need to have most of these tactics in place and fine tune the messages regularly.
Not sure what we mean? Here are our top tips for giving your SEO the best possible impact.
Simply explained, backlinks are ways in which sites and platforms link content back to you. For example, a customer may review your product on their blog or social media, tagging your profile and inputting a link to your website. These types of engagements are fantastic as they’re genuine; you haven’t paid for the “advertisement”. It’s an organic means of brand awareness and Google loves it.
Backlinks or link building (as it’s often called) is effectively building votes of confidence in your brand. If a site chooses to link to you, they’re vouching for your quality and your business.
There are 3 main ways of building links; natural, manual and self-created.
Natural links are editorially given without any action on the part of the brand, this means that someone has promoted your product simply because they like your site and/or products. These types of links are the hardest to accrue but the most valuable.
Manually-built backlinks are generated through deliberate link-building activities; this can include things like customers leaving reviews and influencer marketing. This is often from blogs and social media sharing.
Self-created links are created by physically adding yourselves to a directory (Yell, Thompson Local, Google My Business and industry specific listings etc), on a forum, a blog comment, signature, or anchor text.
Pages with a large number of backlinks generally have higher organic search engine rankings. It’s important to note here though that occasionally backlinks can damage your sites ranking, so reputable sites and profiles are what you’re aiming for. Well-known, highly thought of sites linking back to you is worth its weight in backlink gold. Ideally, they’d be focusing on your high value content too i.e. your blogs, images and videos, your current and relevant contribution to the online world!
Social media works in a similar way to that of backlinks; directing traffic from your social media platforms to your website, the hub of your brand. Not only do your various platform profiles allow you to engage with your target audience, (we recommend at least utilising the top 5: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest), having this additional presence online increases the amount of Google results associated with your business.
Often your social media profiles will appear above your web listing in search engines as they can be more active and engaged with. Your social indicators, for example Facebook likes and shares, or Twitter retweets and followers, are noticed and counted by the search engine algorithms, in turn boosting your SEO scores. So, detailed information and regular posting of sharable content about your business helps to generate awareness, build trust and an understanding of what you do, provide customer interaction, direct traffic to your chosen place, and boost SEO. Not something to be sniffed at!
A little FYI for you too, always have your keywords and phrases in mind when writing captions and content, and what hashtags do you want to align with? Food for thought.
Influencer Marketing is a bracket within the social media realm; individuals with a certain following promote and endorse certain products and services relevant to them. For example someone who uses their platform to showcase all things arts and crafts might be sent various paint supplies to review and discuss with their fan base.
Your social media marketing strategy is as important as your traditional marketing strategy, having a cohesive amalgamation of the two will pay dividends.
There is an abundance of available index listings out there for you to promote your business; local, regional, national and international ones. An e-replacement if you will for the business directory phone book - remember the Yellow Pages?.
Often they’re free, with options to pay for a more premium listing if desired, but whichever you choose it’s a great idea to invest some time into sourcing and inputting your brand.
Be sure to register the correct address, business details and a keyword enhanced summary of the services you provide in order to get the best possible return from these listings. A few to get you started: Yell, Yelp, and Google My Business.
Sourcing products and services online somewhat limits the interactive nature of “shopping around”; without seeing a person or item face to face it can be difficult to form an opinion of them. Your reviews and customer feedback therefore are crucial to a customer’s first impression of you and your brand. Facilitating reviews on platforms such as Trust Pilot (which has a free starter package), Facebook and Google not only affirms faith in your individual products but also in the business as a whole.
Google reviews also count towards the overall SEO ranking of your site, so well worth entertaining!
If your business has an ecommerce site, there are great opportunities to expand your methods of selling online. You’re no longer limited to optimising your website only, there are many off-site ways to sell your products too.
One of the fastest growing and widely accepted ways of funnelling to your website is with social media. For example, Instagram and Facebook now offer instant shopping by integrating ecommerce websites and platforms like WooCommerce. You’re able to tag your “shopable” products within your posts to boost sales directly and create social network specific offers.
It’s also worth considering where else your customers are likely to instinctively shop; for example, ecommerce giants like eBay, Amazon, Etsy and DePop. You can create seller accounts within these sites to broaden your selling horizons and tap into their massive markets. Start thinking about all the potential places your shop could “pop-up”...
The aim then is to win repeat business directly through your own ecommerce site to cut costs. This is done successfully with follow up offers included in confirmation emails and shipping materials.
Search Engine Optimisation is an on-going and ever-evolving part of running a business; part of your every day. If you’d rather someone who already knew how took the lead and was in control of your online success, get in touch with The Goldilocks Creative via email@example.com.
Social Media Trends for the second half of 2020
So, what's happening in the Social Media world right now and what should we be on the look out for the remainder of 2020?
Stories and reels, These are becoming the most popular trends in Social Media marketing, and since the launch of Instagram's 'Reels' feature to rival TikTok anything that you can do to look fun and cool is going to be a win.
Most of the top social media platforms have already incorporated short stories into their posting options, also known as ephemeral content, ephemeral content is something that is only available only for a short duration and disappears afterwards. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat Stories are perfect examples of this type of content.
So, make sure that you're benefitting from all of them, and you can use the same story for all the platforms out there, so it'll just be more efficient in the long run and get your message across.
Stories focus on the storytelling aspect of social media. They allow you to use photo, video, text, emoticons, and tags to create both long-form and short-form content.
So, what else is important to focus on for the remainder of 2020?
It's more important than ever to also focus on Niche Social Media platforms, as mentioned in other blogs, why blogging is so important, when you create a blog, you should try and replicate your blog across as many relevant marketing platforms as possible. Although some of the other platforms don't yet rule the social media world, they are likely to capture other audiences that you are not reaching by just posting on the 2 largest platforms shall we say.
However, do ensure you are using marketing messages in the correct way for the different platforms, some are more aimed at B2B, others will be a more informal and more of a friendly audience.
Let's use Pinterest as an example for a niche market, Pinterest would be a more informal platform, although not as big of a social network platform for marketing as others, it would be an ideal platform for targeting the female demographic that may be interested in home décor products for example.
Whereas LinkedIn is a business platform and you would use the LinkedIn platform to make connections, generate leads, improve brand awareness, foster business relationships and partnerships, share content, and drive traffic to your website.
Social media platforms in order of popularity include:
We would like to take a moment to talk about TikTok in particular, why is this you ask? The reason we would like to talk about TikTok, is because TikTok is noticeably becoming more and more popular in the Social Networking world. However, it is just one to watch closely at the moment, as although it's becoming increasingly popular, the demographic in which it seems to be popular with right now is between the ages of 15 & 24 based on statistics measured In March 2020, with the UK being 3rd country for the increasingly popular app to be downloaded, expecting to reach 10 Million users in the UK by 2021.
However, all that being said, it could be a handy platform to keep an eye on to monitor content and trends that may be relevant for your other more suitable platforms.
What is Social Commerce?
Social commerce is one of the most exciting trends in social media today, and it looks to have an even bigger impact in the months ahead.
Social Commerce is different than social media marketing, where you might try to drive referral traffic from social media to a website or online store. With social commerce, the store is within the app itself, and does not require you to link through to the website to purchase a product for example.
removing the need to bring up a separate webpage and therefore leaving the app you are browsing in.
You can learn about a product in a tweet and purchase within Twitter itself.
Three social media sites that are owning the social commerce space: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
AR (Augmented Reality)
Oh, how we get excited about this one…
Augmented Reality has been around for a little while, you may be familiar with filters on Facebook or Instagram that overlay silly faces or backgrounds to your live photo, we would be surprised if you or your family have not yet discovered these.
AR is evolving fast and we are seeing more and more businesses including this functionality into their website to view products in which they are browsing in situ in their actual home. Real life size! I recently decided to purchase a mirror in fact, using that functionality.
So how Is this going to be used more within social media in the months ahead?
Be sure to watch this space…
Lastly, we would like to talk to you about this last Social Media trend, and that is the use of videos in your social media marketing.
According to recent studies, internet video traffic is in increasing exponentially, so if making live videos on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or any other video relevant platform is not yet in your marketing strategy, now is the time to incorporate it for that extra boost to your brand awareness.