The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted the lives and businesses of so many worldwide. Times are uncertain, and while daily life has slowed down to cope with the realities of our new normal, many business owners now have a lot of time on their hands.
One of the best things you as a business owner can do right now is to look for ways your company can improve. Now is an opportune time for strategy, growth, and preparation so that you’re well positioned when life and business go back to normal.
With so many people at home (and naturally online!), take an honest look at your digital presence and make sure it’s as productive and powerful as it can be. Review your website and digital marketing strategy and find ways it can be elevated. This pandemic will not last forever, so maintaining visibility and presence in your space is crucial to the long term success and vitality of your company.
Once COVID-19 slows down, and businesses move into the clean-up/response phase, you can be comfortable and confident knowing that your digital footprint is strong in the marketplace. Your actions now will undoubtedly affect the fate of your business once normalcy is regained.
HERE ARE FIVE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE RIGHT NOW
1. Check out what your competition is doing.
A huge part of running a successful business is being knowledgeable about who your competitors are, what they’re doing, and how they’re doing it.
Most businesses have an online presence, so keeping tabs on their activities has never been easier. Through your research, here are a few things to take note of:
✔ Products or services
✔ Overall marketing strategy and tactics
✔ Branding and design
✔ Customer loyalty programs
✔ Media activities
You can then use this information to be strategic about your marketing and pricing, and take advantage of the deficiencies you see in your competition. Where they seem to lack is how you can differentiate your business.
From a digital perspective, here are a few ways you can easily keep tabs on your competition:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms are an excellent way to see what type of content your competitors are sharing and how they are engaging with customers. You can also get other valuable insight such as what content gets the most engagement, the size of their audience, and the types of promotions they run.
A company’s website is their public face 24/7, and will give you valuable insight into how they position themselves. The same way you’d check out a brick and mortar store, a website is no different. Compare your website to that of your competition, paying attention to things such as what you like/dislike, the user experience, the content, and how they are positioned in the marketplace overall.
Google Alerts are an incredible tool for you to stay abreast not only what the marketplace is saying about your company, but your competition as well. Set up alerts for other players in your space, and whether it’s a new promotion, special event, or big sale, Google Alerts will allow you to monitor the web for new content.
2. Create content for your brand
If you haven’t taken the time to develop content for social media, your blog, or email newsletters, here’s your chance. Take this time to create a content strategy for your business or enhance what you have planned.
Not sure what to write about? Check out Hubspot’s free blog topic generator.
It’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day business management activities that we neglect the importance of creating compelling content for our customers. Great content should be part of your overall brand strategy because it…
✔ Builds brand awareness
✔ Establishes your expertise
✔ Deepens your relationships with customers
✔ Introduces ‘conversational keywords’ for your SEO efforts
✔ Drives traffic to your website
✔ Generates leads
Even if you’re in the practice of content development, how often are you scrambling to come up with ideas, and then have ample time to write them up?
Here are some ideas to get you going:
✔ If you don’t already have one, create an editorial calendar taking into account things such as holidays, seasonality, and major industry/marketplace happenings. Slot in relevant themes for your business, and from there develop ideas for each of your existing marketing channels.
✔ Don’t have a blog? Now is the time to create one, and get ahead of the writing for your posts. Blogging not only establishes your credibility and provides valuable content for your audience, but is valuable for SEO.
✔ Use your editorial calendar to create a corresponding social media calendar. Look ahead to the upcoming months and plan promotions and content.
✔ Consider the power of evergreen content. Named for a plant that retains its green leaves all year round, evergreen content is not based on trends, news, or timing, and will always be relevant to your audience. Think “Why Your Website Should Be Updated Regularly!” or “How To Lose Weight Easily & Effectively.” Unlike outdated content which won’t rank in search, evergreen content will be a valuable SEO tool in your digital marketing arsenal because it will continue to drive traffic to your site.
3. Update website copy, pictures, and graphics.
How many times have you looked at your website and thought, “We should update that.”? Now is the time to make sure that all elements of your website are exactly how you want them to truly represent your brand.
While digital products and trends come and go, nothing will ever change the importance of your website. Your website is the constant face of your brand in this digital world, and thus should be updated frequently.
Let customers know about any changes to your business due to COVID-19 in the form of a popup, banner or blog post. If your website was built with WordPress, this is easier than you may think. If you’d like a step in the right direction, email firstname.lastname@example.org, I will walk you through it.
The eCommerce Foundation says that 88% of consumers research company information before making a purchase online or in the store. This research undoubtedly includes your website.
Take a discerning look at your website and ensure that it is memorable, modern, and connects with your audience. Seek the opinions of your trusted circle about what works and doesn’t work. Freshening up headlines, content, and other visual elements will breathe life into your website and do wonders for your online presence.
4. Don’t ignore SEO.
Over 40,000 Google searches are submitted every second, which means that having a strong search presence is key for your brand.
Search engine optimization will ensure that your website is:
✔ Useful and relevant for your audience
✔ Delivering a positive user experience
✔ Growing organic traffic – unlike paid advertising, you don’t pay for organic search engine clicks
✔ Leveraging existing traffic by knowing what and how to present content so that your users will respond and convert
While some of your competitors might be taking a step back from these efforts in the wake of COVID-19, remember that optimizing your web presence takes time and consistency. Abandoning your SEO marketing plans now could negatively impact how your business ranks and connects with customers in the long term.
Take a leadership position by thinking ahead and remembering that this pandemic will not last forever. By staying focused on optimizing your SEO and working through this period of uncertainty will prepare you for more favorable results later on.
Take a look at how SEO-friendly your website is with our free website audit tool, and how easily people can find you. Consider restructuring your content so that it speaks to your target market and your ability to reach new customers.
5. Check your online listings throughout the internet…and we don’t just mean on Google.
In today’s competitive, technology-driven landscape, you’ve likely had your business listed in all of the major online directories such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Yahoo.
While the major players are a must, don’t underestimate the importance of some of the less popular directories, many of which might be local to your business. Listing your business in as many online directories as possible can help strengthen your digital presence and visibility.
Having your business accurately and consistently listed on a variety of local business directories is valuable for SEO, as it helps search engines confidently show your profiles more often for keyword searches.
In the wake of this pandemic, take the time to check your online listings and make sure your information is not only accurate, but also stands out from competitors on the search results page. This means going beyond just listing your company name, address, and phone number.
Put yourself in the user’s position and provide all the info that would be helpful when conducting a search. If you’re a restaurant, what type of food do you serve? If you’re a retail clothing store, what type of clothes do you sell?
Here are a few other items to consider including in your online listings:
- A detailed company description and why your business stands out from the rest
- Link to your website – massive potential to drive traffic!
- Hours of operation
- Calendar of events
- Pictures & videos
DURING & POST COVID-19, WE’RE HERE FOR YOU!
Life and business may feel unstable right now, but at a time when so much has come to a standstill, business owners must continue pushing forward to ensure the future vitality and success of their company.
Now is not the time to step back from digital marketing efforts. People are hunkered down at home, fully engaged and immersed on their devices. Take hold of this opportunity to lead your business through this crisis and connect with your customers.
Our company, Aspire Digital Solutions, is here to alleviate some of your overwhelm so that you can focus on other development areas of your business. Whether it’s website redesign, SEO management, or content creation, let us be your ultimate digital partner.
While the COVID-19 crisis has likely brought you some worries about your business, connect with us today to schedule a complimentary 20-minute call so that you can feel confident and well positioned for growth post pandemic.