Covid-19 has changed how we operate our businesses. With physical distancing and other health and safety measures, home services and renovation companies have had to adjust. Reinventing how we do things to serve customers is essential for public health, but it is important to remember that how we market our businesses needs to adjust too.
The digital landscape is different than it was pre-pandemic. In case you didn’t know, online traffic has surged since the start of the pandemic, In fact, web traffic to RenovationFind.com has doubled since Covid-19 arrived and it continues to go up daily. We are seeing record numbers in web users. Consumers have changed how they interact with businesses and it is predicted that these behaviours and online patterns could be permanent.
Having a digital marketing strategy is no longer a take-it-or-leave-it option. To survive in the ‘new normal’ it is a must-have. You may have developed a marketing plan for 2020, but if it was done prior to Covid-19 it will need major adjusting.
Even with restrictions lifting across the country, no one can predict when or if things will ever be back to business as usual. ‘Business as usual’ will be very different than what it was pre-Covid. It’s vital for your business to plan and execute digital marketing strategies and campaigns that will set you up for success in this ‘new normal’. We are still operating with uncertainty, but digital marketing efforts will help you survive and thrive as we learn this new way of doing things.
Here is some advice for developing a post-COVID-19 digital marketing strategy:
Stay the course and don’t freeze digital marketing spending
Business is struggling in all industries, including the home services industry. Things will not be so bleak forever and business leaders and consumers will all learn how to adjust. Now is not the time to cut back your digital marketing efforts. Because of stay-at-home recommendations and social distancing, your customers are online now more than ever. They use the internet for all their shopping, entertainment, news, and social interaction. You want your business to be a part of that too.
Plus, it’s likely that some of your competitors have frozen marketing spending to make up for lost revenue. This gives you a competitive edge for your demographic’s attention online. It will also mean that you can end up spending less on digital advertising since fewer competitors are after your target audience.
Instead of cutting out digital marketing, think about how you can become memorable to your current and potential customers online. If you have the financial resources, invest it in expanding your online brand image. You can grow, extend your reach, expand your social media followers, and gain new customers. Keep in mind that your marketing campaigns need to have a purpose and enhance customer experience while delivering your brand image.
Be current and appropriate with your messaging
If you have been scheduling your social media posts far into the future, its time to stop doing that. Things are constantly changing, including restrictions on how you are able to run your business. Something you’ve scheduled two weeks from today can be totally inappropriate by the time it is published.
You can do a little pre-planning, but only a few days at a time. You don’t want to be posting content if it’s irrelevant. Changes to restrictions, public health recommendations, a potential second wave of coronavirus outbreaks, and other factors can change in a day. Be prepared to align your social media activity with the most current events.
Instead, learn how to publish content on the fly. That might mean checking newsfeeds on a daily basis and creating content that is relevant to that day. We can’t guess what will happen and we can’t assume what content our audience will want from one week to the next. Your digital content needs to be as current as possible, showing empathy to the most current updates in the pandemic and afterward.
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Have a plan for the stages of economic re-launch
Remember that things are constantly evolving as businesses adjust to the various levels of government re-launch plans. The federal and provincial governments have laid out their plans for re-opening the economy, although some dates have not been set. That means you have an idea of what they have planned (keeping in mind it could change or be disrupted in a moment’s notice) and can create a campaign calendar accordingly. As restrictions are removed, your marketing strategy can change to accommodate the new recommendations.
Create and share compelling content
With everyone spending more time online, they are also spending more time-consuming content. While it is likely that many of your competitors have cut spending on digital marketing due to financial constraints, your content will still have to compete.
We have seen a lot of organizations do a great job of adjusting their content to meet people where they are at in this unprecedented situation. For example, restaurants promoted gift cards for take-out and delivery. Fitness studios offered online classes and brick-and-mortar stores have started selling online. When things do return to normal, their customers will remember them. These strategies change as businesses start to open to the public again, little by little. What can you promote online that is relevant to your business during and post-COVID-19?
Make known your commitment to public health and safety
Everyone has a different stance regarding restrictions on business and different tolerance to risk. Some customers might be okay with you entering their home to offer a service, while others will feel very vulnerable and stressed about it regardless of meeting the current health guidelines. Either way, it’s important to make clear your commitment to health and safety in all your communication. That includes the health and safety of your customers and your employees. You should have this message on your website and periodically through content posted on social media and sent in email campaigns.
You might have created and released an official pandemic response when the crisis first emerged. With restrictions lifting and people heading back to work, it’s time to adjust that response. Share on your website, social media, and other digital streams what your company is doing to meet or even exceed public health requirements. Put your customer’s minds at ease, so they can be certain that you’re considering their health and safety as well as your own, as we enter a post-COVID world.
Ensure your website design is updated
Your digital marketing strategy’s aim is to increase traffic to your website and improve search engine optimization for your website. Is your website up to date? Now is the time to ensure your website is modern and that users can easily find the information they’re looking for. What is the point in investing time and money in social advertising, content, and digital marketing if leads are dropped as soon as they reach a bad website?
If you’re savvy on the computer, use a DIY website builder like WordPress. If you are not confident in your skills, hire a web development company to create an eye-catching, easy-to-use, website for your company. Recommended companies include Funnel Edge Marketing.
Keep your web content current
If your website design is professional and attractive, but the content itself is dated, you will lose converting those hard-earned visits into customers. You need to have a response to the Covid-19 pandemic visible on your website, so customers know what you are doing to ensure public health. It will also inform them of how you’ve adjusted the way of doing business because of the pandemic. As the economy relaunches phases by phase, you should update your web content to inform customers how this will impact the way you do business and offer your products and services.
Even if you weren’t trying to run a business during and after a global health emergency, you should still commit to updating your web content periodically. Go through every page and make sure information on your company, team, services, and contact pages are current. Investing money in a digital marketing strategy will have a higher return on investment if people are getting the correct information after reaching your website.
Review all your online profiles and listings
When you Google your company name, what is coming up? All online profiles, including the Google business listing, social media profiles, review site profiles, and other listings should be updated. Review each one and make sure the right contact information and your web address are on there. Remember, the more links you have back to your website the better. While you’re at it, read your company descriptions and make sure they’re still accurate and search engine friendly. For those listings that allow photo uploads, be sure to upload a recent logo and a few photos relevant to your business.
Having complete profiles and listings online can help with search engine optimization. They can also give potential customers a good first impression if they stumble upon your business online.
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Did you know Google released a stat indicating users check out 10.4 sources before purchase.
Use Pay-Per-Click advertising
As mentioned before, Pay Per Click (PPC) online advertising is most affordable than it was before Covid-19. Because online ads function as auctions, and many businesses have pulled away from marketing spending during the pandemic, winning those bids is less expensive. Not only are ads cheaper to run, converting those online users into leads and eventually customers are cheaper too.
While advertising on platforms like Facebook and Google is less expensive and less competitive, that could change. Keep in mind that the entire landscape is unpredictable because of the pandemic. Thankfully, digital advertising comes with a huge amount of data in real-time, so you can make adjustments as things change. This makes online advertising flexible, affordable, and the results are easy to track. PPC ads are easy to keep on top of. You can adjust your ads and their targets for the best ROI.
Find a Customer Relationship Management System that offers marketing automation
There are many tools available that can help you plan, execute, and better manage your customer relations and digital marketing strategy. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can help you organize leads, conversions, and other essential customer relationship activities. Having a good CRM in place will make sure a lead or customer request never gets lost. You can track everything from one dashboard.
Plus, most CRMs come with marketing automation features. If you’re looking for a CRM for the first time, do some research on what marketing features would work best for your company. You can use their content management systems to create, plan, and schedule your digital content. There is good feedback from companies that have used CRM software like Pipedrive and Hubspot.
Start using your email list
If you already have a CRM in place or have a contact list that is compliant with the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), start utilizing it! Email marketing is a great way to connect with your customer base and it can cost nothing. It is an effective way to keep communication open with your contact list. With email marketing, you can send campaigns to your valuable customers and reach existing leads that are not customers quite yet. Send that compelling content you’ve created, share special offers, information on your response to Covid-19, and show empathy to your leads and customers.
There is online email automation software that can help with this. Most will offer free accounts if your contact list is under their minimum amount. Some email marketing software companies are even offering price relief to help businesses navigate these challenging times. Most email tools are user-friendly and provide templates and visual email builders to help you create professional, visually appealing email campaigns. Recommendations include MailChimp and Constant Contact.
Utilize web analytic tools and search engine optimization
If you are serious about a successful digital marketing strategy, you need to invest in web analytics and search engine optimization (SEO) tools. These tools show you how your marketing efforts are performing, so you can understand how users are consuming your content, how leads are coming in, and adjust for the best return on investment possible. SEO can be a time-consuming task for a business owner. If you have the resources, hiring a third-party company to help you attract the right audience using SEO and web analytics is worth the cost.
If you haven’t done so already, set up your website with Google Analytics. This will allow you to see and track web visits, traffic sources, user behaviour, conversions, and provide more useful data. Knowing how your digital marketing efforts are performing can help you evaluate and adjust, as necessary. Learn how to set up Google Analytics.
Businesses have been through a very challenging time, and challenges will remain post-COVID-19. Your first priority should be the health and safety of yourself, employees, and customers. When that’s taken care of, utilize some of these ideas to effectively market your business through these uncertain times.
RenovationFind is an established digital marketing company that specializes in marketing trades, home services, and home renovation companies. Companies that are on our website benefit from our professional and original content, brand awareness, lead generation, and search engine optimization efforts. If you haven’t already started executing or boosting your digital marketing efforts, we can help you adapt and navigate in the new way of doing things. Please connect with us.
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