Digital Transformation and COVID-19 have Changed Business Forever
Business growth drivers are now more reliant on digital trends and how consumers search and find products online.
The coronavirus is driving digital communications – especially on mobile. Your business growth demands may be pressing the need to pivot and fuel new ways to win new customers and expand to new digital markets. However, before business stability is restored, your recovery marketing plan needs to be approved, scheduled, implemented and paid for. Organizations must look forward, rebuild, and be ready for a restart. When time, budgets, and knowledge as to what to do first are limited, a skilled person who can execute at the top level is your best value.
To obtain business growth you must have a strong Business Plan. The strongest force in building brand personality is the skill to balance consistency with business agility.
What triggers a call for pivot changes to sustain business growth?
It’s all too easy to move off your business goals over time.
Business life may be beautiful but it is also uncertain. Never in most of our lifetime has a world crisis so dramatically called for a pivot change in what can drive – or at least maintain – business growth. Your E-commerce advertising, SEO, and content creation that drive revenue may cost you more if partially dropped while recalibrating. Don’t let your market research lapse and get left in the dark.
Communications that demonstrate support and solutions have topped our marketing strategies. Given our current market upheaval, we’re saying unwanted farewells to some of our favorite family-owned restaurants and local retail stores. Other businesses wonder how to sustain business growth due to devastating financial losses.
Keep your Marketing Wheels Turning
How do businesses prioritize marketing tasks to meet business growth demands?
Multiple elements of marketing are required to rise above your competition to win SERP clicks, and sustain incoming revenue streams. Business closures are unexpected and unwanted during a pandemic or anytime. It is vital to stay in touch with clients while focusing on the aspects of your business that provide stable income. This typically includes:
- Communications that align with business goals.
- Research-backed content creation.
- Audits that catch glitches & opportunities.
- Schema and Search Engine Optimization.
- Sales processes.
- Social media marketing.
- Embrace the digital way of conducting online business.
- Targeted advertising.
- Scale or trim your business reach at the right time.
- IT processes.
Local businesses of every size need LocalBusiness schema to increase findability.
1. Communications that Align with your Business Goals
How do we ensure communication integration with consumer needs and business goals?
Only with a destination in sight and a plan to get there can your business stay on track with vital internal and external communications.
Consumer needs and sentiment may move quickly. Keep a continual focus on what consumers need, how they want it, and how you can provide solutions. A close look at business bottom lines may be overdue and your KPI’s need an update to align to current digital market trends.
Your digital marketing team has the key role in overseeing which communications get produced and effectively reach consumers. Then you need someone who knows how to distribute that information cost-effectively. Our markets will begin the long journey back to a new normal. Identifying how business survival may and does take shape will mean which businesses maintain growth, who wins new market growth, and who rolls out.
The words we choose in business communications matter. We need to stay true to our business goals and core values, but adapt sensitive messaging to build relationally around pivoting consumer needs.
2. Research-backed Content Creation
Evaluate your content creation efficiency. If you’ve been on the content production treadmill without sufficient marketing research, you may need deep data-driven insights. They help shape your data graph and providing more value in the long run – especially to mobile device users. Slowing down has its silver linings, even when forced. High-quality unique content marketing requires thought and close alignment to the new complex consumer journey to purchase.
Check to see if statements made in your content are still accurate. You establish trust with consumers and search engines by incorporating statistical facts and their sources. Don’t make the mistake of focusing your content creation on the current crisis. Rather prepare smartly by publishing content that offers on-going value and inspires. It should support an evergreen sales funnel.
With people spending more and more time online, it’s a perfect opportunity to share relevant and engaging content related to your business. Content that is of value deepens loyalty with existing healthcare patients, buyers, and business partners. Demonstrate that your intent is real, authentic, and transparent about your efforts to serve your customer base as best as you can.
3. Audits that catch Glitches & Opportunities
An SEO audit may help you:
- Regain your website’s technical health
- Discover content gaps and possible opportunities
- Identify images needing resizing, compression, updating
- Where to add video media assets
- How to repurpose existing content to better match search intent
- Where your need to strengthen your competitiveness
A gain or loss of online traffic to your business is typically not because of ranking changes. It’s mainly because of consumer demand change. Market changes can almost instantly switch up supply and demand as well as productive. Still, competition for top rankings is ongoing. Often those competitors who didn’t put their efforts on hold but rather intensified them during an economic downturn, are likely to nab the lead in search results. Past sufficient budget margins allow you to harvest benefits to push business growth upward.
For businesses highly dependent on organic search visibility, if you are financially prepared so you can afford it, don’t lapse your long-term SEO strategy during harder times. Improving your site’s architecture can help meet growth demands.
4. Schema and Search Engine optimization
Is SEO vital during intense needs for business sales?
It may feel as if advancing your SEO is pointless when you are riveted on missing sales. However, this is very much not the case. SEO best practices need to be in place, maintained, and built to glean and sustain those sales. SEO seeds commonly need three months for you to see the return. If you are counting on future sales to survive or grow, the optimal time for your search engine optimization is now.
Identify price points and a drop in searches for products or services that classify as ‘discretionary’ spending. This may be getting your nails done, luxury home furnishings, or fancy clothing purchases. Identify consumer needs that will come in the future. SEO marketing strategies need to be very clearly defined by phases and priorities. Only then can they be enacted quickly and rolled out to gain the best SERP position.
While opportunities for schema implementation are rapidly developing, it is very clear: it’s important. Invest in a structured data audit to discover power-packed industry-relevant structured data to your webpages. It helps communicate to Google and major search engines what your webpage is about. Google is repeatedly stating that if you want great earned and paid search results, this is very important. They recently updated their developer guidelines for structured data. You’ll want to stay updated on Google ranking changes and how they may impact your company. Formerly it said:
“Search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways.”
“Google Search works hard to understand the content of a page. However, you can provide explicit clues about the meaning of a page to Google by including structured data on the page.”
BlueArray released details of what it takes to come back in organic search if you drop or reduce your SEO. You can see in the chart above how this increases costs down the road.
5. Refine Sales Processes and Lead Generation
You want your marketing efforts, sales processes, and messaging to be as timely as possible. Look for in-the-moment opportunities for mobile advertising. If you go black, you risk losing more sales, relationship building, and customers’ trust.
You may need to change your positioning to market conditions. Your channel might change to do audience targeting thoughtfully. It’s a tough go to have effective marketing to inspire live leads if you don’t know what market you are really in. When you’re experiencing times of business chaos and complexity, it’s essential to find a balance between leading and learning. Chaos and complexity also call on different levels of leadership for your marketing strategies.
Organic business growth refers to revenue growth that is derived from a company’s existing businesses, as opposed to growth that comes from buying new businesses. Today, adding your products to your GMB profile is free and can drive sales. Organic business growth includes growth over a period that was generated from investments in businesses the company owned at the beginning of a designated time frame.
6. Social Media Marketing to be Present
Businesses that have a consistent, meaningful presence across the web can demonstrate that they are important and provide solutions. Social media channels play a significant role in leading people to your answer-rich content. Sales can be won on Instagram, for instance, by empathetic marketing that inspires positivity and connection. Only by knowing where your target audience hangs out can you best determine which social channels to use. First, know what they are thinking and asking.
Your competition is anyone who solves the same problems. Social listening and data insights can shape your marketing approach and the flywheel you are developing to overcome friction points in business growth. Wherever you are sharing communications, what you say should be valuable to your viewers and followers.
7. Embrace the Digital Way of Conducting Online Business
You may have needed to update business workflows for some time. And now you are pressed like never before to make upgrades to digital e-Commerce. Can you deliver your product or service electronically or remotely?
Have you limped along without launching an eCommerce store? Are you set up to host training, consultations, or workout classes virtually? Can you offer 3D tours or how-to information? Do you have automated responders? If this is new to you, dive into Google Meet, Webex, Zoom, or GoToMeeting. Hire someone who can make the most of Google Assistant to provide answers. Consider setting up an AI Chatbot that can effectively carry on conversations with prospective buyers.
8. Targeted Advertising
Set up your revenue models for PPC management via direct Line video consultations to meet business growth demands.
Realigning your objective: When facing serious life issues, pushing retail sales and services can come across as insensitive. Offer support and assurances may mean stepping back up the purchase funnel. Promote brand awareness by offering needed messages that show consideration and being available to help. This may generate future leads with potential net new users at the top of the funnel. You can expand your retargeting opportunities when buyer sentiment heads that direction.
Update messaging to your target audience: Perhaps it is ways to use a purchased product, tips from your brand on the latest ways to stay safe when dealing with COVID-19, and how to make do without replacement products in the interim. Consumers may resume purchasing from your brand if you can keep the relationships strong. I know one business that consistently posts helpful videos to demonstrate how people can use their medical devices safely.
Good reasons are surfacing for programmatic advertising to anticipate stability and a return to economic stability. Programmatically transactable digital media – and the companies behind it – suggest it may fare better in challenging times. Advertisers should take note. Ultimately, during times of instability, we see a flight to accountability, agility, and continuity. Understandably, healthcare businesses bear the burden of patient safety as sites reopen; it is vital to review your healthcare marketing strategies.
Know what consumers are looking for: At-home shoppers consumers shift their shopping behavior due to the pandemic or for other reasons all the time. Keep a daily snapshot of what peoples’ shopping behavior looks like – for those who are looking for what you offer. Leverage search data and Google datasets to reach targeted audiences. Empower your go-to person who explores rising retail searches by category, location, and time of day. Whether you’re a retailer, manufacturer, healthcare facility, or service provider, you need accurate knowledge to spark inspirations for content, product promotion, or service ideas.
9. Scale or Trim your Business Reach Safely
Knowing the right time to reach new digital markets for business growth opportunities.
Discover and reach your local markets before attempting to go big. Avoid making drastic emotion-driven business objective changes or market expansions too fast. Before taking your business to new brick-and-mortar locations or states, know how effectively you are reaching local consumers. Only after you have reliable market data plan expansions that could otherwise put you at risk.
10. IT Processes that Sustain Your Business
How do businesses recover IT infrastructure and critical data?
Identify your IT functions that are essential for daily operations. Have these resources in place before a critical need surfaces.
- Restoring Internet and telecommunications access.
- What it takes to provide uninterrupted customer service.
- The means to engage with local, regional, and national government agencies.
- How IT helps you adapt flexible order fulfillment.
- What it takes to communicating with customers, prospects, employees and contractors. (Telemedicine, remote workers, podcasting, etc.)
- Maintaining your lead generation infrastructure.
Initially published August 16, 2018, Bojana Dobran says that “75% of small businesses have no disaster recovery plan objective in place”. That was before COVID-19 started testing business growth capacity – or even survival for many companies. The 2020 Disaster Recovery Statistics That Will Shock Business Owners article also found that:
- Hardware failures cause 45% of total unplanned downtime.
- A loss of power (35%)
- Software failure (34%)
- Data corruption (24%),
- External security breaches (23%)
- Accidental user error (20%)
How Should Marketing Strategies Pivot for Post COVID-19 Shopping?
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo reward sites providing a great search experience – all marketing is focused on the user. This requires a new way of thinking, planning, and execution. It requires being people-focused and helpful at every turn. When digital marketing changes beyond anything that we’ve known, it’s the perfect opportunity to dive into new market research. Many are temporarily holding spends on paid advertising, to do what will sustain their business in the long run.
From a management perspective, it may mean outsourcing more work to effective remote workers who skip some brick and mortar office costs. It may mean reshaping your digital marketing plan with more diverse offerings. Providing secondary services may potentially help some businesses avoid similar situations like our COVID-19 crisis in the future.
Although consumers may be more guarded with their shopping dollars during the coronavirus outbreak, they are also spending more time online gaining information. Rather than simply shuttering everything in hard times find ways to pivot. It may be working on building a new and better website or increasing the quality of your offerings. But first, step back, make a plan, understand your customers, and addresses their needs and pain points. We recommend that every online retailer add at least the essential schema markup types to help get your products found.
“The current reality has forced marketers to be far more driven by what people need rather than broadcasting to them in a predefined moment we choose. Throwing out the playbook has demanded that we be more fluid, dynamic, and grounded in data to tap into real-time consumer intent. And that’s a good thing for the long run.” – Joshua Spanier, Google’s global marketing VP for media*
How Business Growth Occurs on Key Ecommerce Marketing Channels
Your retail marketing strategy shapes how you promote your online store through various marketing channels. This typically includes organic SEO, maps marketing, Google Business Listing optimization, social media marketing, and paid campaigns – really what we mean, is everything that you choose to boost brand visibility and sales.
The following list covers possible channels and strategies that bring business growth. Digital marketers have the enormous responsibility and are the ones best skilled, to assess trends and customer acquisition channels alongside business goals, bringing it all into a single sales funnel.
- Competing in Google’s Space: Both organic and paid search remain the most powerful traffic drivers in eCommerce, but how consumers use them has changed. Also, the Amazon Marketplace, Facebook, Instagram, and Bing are surfacing as strong, competitive channels for web traffic, like Pinterest, and TikTok.
- Amplified Diversification: With more marketing platforms, and the need for brand discovery in knowledge graphs, often you have to do more than Google and Facebook ads to see the same results. Ecommerce strategists are pressed to know what is occurring on specific indexes, especially the local index. For example, Google is adding new features to its maps and GMB platforms.
- Meeting Escalating Consumer Expectations: The consumer demand for immediacy now means see more requests for two-day shipping, free delivery, more abandoned shopping carts. This coincides with a steep increase in overall digital marketing costs and time investments.
- More Online Competition: The predictions for accelerated digital spend adoption online are proving correct. Blending both online-and-offline marketing is crucial for scaling your brand. The pandemic has forced change at a rapid pace; more retailers and consumers have come to rely on the ease of e-Commerce online shopping.
- Expanding Customer Acquisition Opportunities: With many brands pressed for new revenue streams, getting in front of new potential is a lifeline to survival. Reassess and update your customer acquisition strategies to show up in immediate SERPs and featured snippets.
So, how do we put all these great ideas into practice?
Ways to Grow Your Business
We can help you meet business growth demands and discover new digital markets.
One of the things that I am most passionate about is helping B2B businesses find ways to grow your business. After evaluating what currenting is working for you and what is not, we’ll craft a customized plan to meet your business growth demands. We’ll evaluate the market size you are in and the market share that you may gain with the right business strategy.
Every business is unique. It may improve the following:
- Customer service
- Leveraging augmented reality
- Leveraging influencer marketing
- Leveraging semantic search
- Including messaging apps
- Strategies for Voice Search
- Updating your business goals to include new digital markets
- Increasing your video content creation with live video
- Plans for short-term and long term business acceleration
- Monitoring your growth rate
- Improving your website’s performance
Below are some real numbers for you from a recent study on Agile Marketing for business growth.
The Pandemic Highlights how Agile Marketing Supports Business Growth
Just published: “Merkle Q2 2020 Customer Engagement Report finds 88% of marketers practice some level of Agile Marketing” ***. Kite Hill, who runs PR for Merkle, also stated that 85% of digital marketers intend to expand their adoption of agile marketing practices and 57% have a formal plan in place already. As local shops reopen, that typically includes understanding local market segmentation and supporting efforts to get in the SERP’s local pack.
Business growth isn’t a given – it’s typically hard work!
Building a strong and sustained business reputation and client relationships takes time. Success will require company wide marketing alignment; you’ll find that it is rich with answers. Be visible, be helpful, be positive, be remembered. Carefully review your SEO and Digital Marketing Progress Reports.
Hill Web Marketing builds businesses’s online visibility; we loves building meaningful relationships with people passionate about their careers and business growth. As we all face an uncertain business future, ensure that your digital presence is on top of its game. Start today!
Call Hill Web Marketing at 651-206-2410 and ask Jeannie Hill to help you discover your low-hanging fruit and Business Growth Drivers that Engage More Site Visitors