Post Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses and Startups
You are hit, we are hit, perhaps almost all of us are hit somehow and somewhat, due to the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the following lockdown. Though the lockdown was required for the greater good of the human race, still it has cost us a lot. In fact, we are now clueless, our spirits are down, our confidence level is shattered, we have lost many precious human lives, and many are bedridden. In short, mankind is experiencing a major tectonic shift that our generation had never confronted before.
So in this unprecedented hostile situation, when a great financial depression is just on the verge of hitting us if you are running a business, what would be your post Covid-19 digital marketing plan?
We are dejected. True! But we can’t lose our hope now. Right?
So what are you planning, especially if you are a startup or an SME? Because a big corporate house or a large enterprise may recover from this worldwide breakdown and revive its business, sooner rather than later. But a startup or a small or medium-sized business that is already experiencing a major financial crunch may not be able to rescue it or, in a worst-case scenario, may even collapse.
So we need a cure, a way out that will lead us to a better tomorrow.
And I strongly believe that you will rise for sure, we will rise stronger than ever, and we together will uproot this Corona evil.
So here in this blog post, I am going to put together a roadmap for you to chalk out a post Novel Coronavirus digital marketing plan that will help you devise a better strategy and turbocharge your business. This is not going to be a to-do list of few curated random ideas, but here I am going to compile all those that I have brainstormed, consolidated, and thereafter thoughtfully planned for my business.
So without any further ado, let’s take a deep breath and head straight to the topic.
Don’t Sell a Product, Sell the Solution that Will Add Immense Value to Your Customers’ Life
This is perhaps the foremost important thing that you must revisit time and again. Check whether your products/services are adding any value to your customers’ life, and are they really getting benefitted or not. Different buyers will have different needs, and your products or services should be lined up to provide them with the right solution that will help them deal with their problems successfully.
If you aren’t in the loop with your existing customers or if you don’t care to check with them, you are going to flop at this miserably.
So the question is how you would know whether your products/services are any good?
Though it may largely depend on the type of your business, there are still a few actionable ways that may help you understand the real worth of your products or services.
- Stop guessing and hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Call your customers and clients to know how they are doing in this crisis. Ask them if they are using your product/service and satisfied with it or not. Besides, try to know if there is anything that you can enhance or include to give them a better experience. This will not only make your customers feel good, but you may also end up getting a few key inputs from them.
- Add a customer feedback section right on your website, which your consumers can visit and pen down their impartial opinions about your products/services.
- Use email automation to receive product/service feedback from your existing customers.
- Set up a live chat on your site. It is not generally used to connect with your existing customer base; instead, it is a tool that can significantly increase the interaction and engagement level between you and your website visitors. Live chat not just enables you to make direct conversations in real-time, but it also allows you to know what exactly your prospects expect from your brand.
- Keep your eyes on social media platforms. Create a few alerts and consistently monitor what your potential buyers are talking about. Additionally, you may also use your brand’s social media outlets to communicate with your leads and loyal customers.
Remember, this is not a one-day job. This is something you must continue doing to improve your products/services and increase your customers’ involvement with your brand.
Build Leads through Linkedin
Linkedin is indeed one of the best lead generation tools we have on the internet, which you must always keep at your disposal. It becomes even more powerful when your brand caters to the B2B segment.
Using Linkedin, you can connect with influencers and decision-makers from numerous brands and upsurge your lead generation by manifolds.
If you are not yet utilizing Linkedin for capturing leads and business development, maybe the following statistics will persuade you to explore it in much greater depth.
- Linkedin has over 675 million members. Just imagine what if you can attract a very tiny percentage of this.
- When more than 90 million Linkedin users are senior-level influencers, 63 million decision-makers, and 17 million opinion leaders use Linkedin actively.
- With no less than 94 percent of B2B marketers use Linkedin for content marketing and 89 percent of them use it for lead generation; it is undoubtedly one of the widely used social media tools for capturing leads for brands.
- Linkedin boasts nearly 50 million companies listed on the platform.
- The cost per lead acquisition on LinkedIn is 28 percent lesser than that of Google Ads.
- One strategically crafted and well-optimized Linkedin ad can reach up to 12 percent of the world’s total population.
So by now, if you are excited to use Linkedin to ramp up your lead generation process, let’s see some of its crucial techniques that you must follow to amplify your success.
- Before you start expecting anything rewarding from Linkedin, first complete your profile with all the details, including a compelling brief about you, a headshot, your job experience, educational background, skillsets, interests, etc.
- Connect with people you think would be profitable for both of you. Remember, Linkedin is a professional social networking platform; hence don’t use it like Facebook.
- Join various Linkedin groups of your interests, and actively engage there.
- Link your website and other social media profiles from Linkedin.
- Recommend others, and also ask for testimonials.
- Set up your company page on Linkedin. Make sure to keep your Linkedin company page URL as short as possible. Besides, don’t leave anything missing while filling in the details.
- Encourage your staffs to join your Linkedin company page.
- Consistently post relevant content on your company’s page, as well as on Linkedin groups.
- Publish high-quality content on Linkedin Pulse and promote them even beyond LinkedIn.
- Create and run Linkedin ads. Select from its five different ad types: LinkedIn sponsored content, text ads, sponsored InMail, programmatic display ads, and dynamic ads.
Now that you know why and how to use Linkedin for your business, you shouldn’t waste any more time, but visit it and create your professional and company profile on Linkedin.
Focus More on Inbound Marketing, Especially Building Content Assets that Your Customers Will Find Useful and Aligned to Their Needs
Inbound marketing or pull marketing is the way to attract audiences and prospective leads to your website by creating valuable resources, including articles, blog posts, infographics, video contents, white papers, podcasts, etc.
According to Hubspot, 71 percent of companies across the globe prefer inbound marketing over outbound. This is because inbound marketing is less interruptive yet more engaging in nature, and 62 percent less costly than its counterpart outbound marketing. Additionally, inbound marketing works at its best when it is coupled with remarketing techniques.
When you create an insightful content, or an infographic, maybe a video post, or a valuable podcast targeting your customers’ needs, they may discover it through search engines, social media, YouTube, or other platforms. And a large percentage of those searchers will visit your website. Although they are not yet ready to purchase or subscribe to your products or services, still essentially, they will come to know about your brand.
When you continue doing this, in the long run, this could be the best way to entice and pull in relevant visitors to your site, which thereafter could be nurtured through email newsletters, multi-step forms, call-to-actions, etc. and converted into potential leads.
So what would be your inbound marketing strategies amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, especially if inbound marketing is relatively new for you?
Well, let’s see them below.
- Your first step towards inbound marketing should be closely knowing your customers, finding their pain points, and creating an audience persona.
- Next, when you identify who your ideal customers are and what exactly they need from you, you should focus on creating valuable contents aligned to their needs, which will empower your prospects and lure them to your website. This is called content marketing.
- Create a treasure trove of blog on your website and start publishing content in accordance with the buyer persona that you have created in the previous step.
- Design infographics and presentations on how-to topics and to-do lists, which will help your prospects do something efficiently.
- Host videos on YouTube or other platforms, and drive visitors to your website.
- Air podcasts that will delight your audience, and in return, yield traffic to your site.
- Create clear and persuasive call-to-actions on your landing pages to sway site visitors to take the action you want them to make, and convert them into potential leads.
- Nurture your leads through personalized content, emails, discounts, and tailored services that they seek.
- Finally, close a deal and convert a top-of-the-funnel visitor into a paying customer successfully.
Inbound marketing isn’t a sprint; instead, it is a marathon. So, you must have patience and continue indulging in content marketing to confirm a steady cash flow to your business.
Invest More in SEO and Your Personal and Company Branding
While creating content for blog posts or landing pages, always keep their SEO in mind. Contents without proper optimization will forever remain buried under tons of other content on search engines, which makes it impossible for your prospects to discover yours. And I am sure you will never want that to happen.
Besides, no matter what form of marketing you are doing, if you want to sell your products/services online, SEO is imperative and inevitable, period. Sparktoro, an audience intelligence and market research company, found that Google generates around 92.96 percent of global traffic. Incredible! Isn’t it? But apart from traffic, when it comes to lead conversion rate, again SEO wins, leaving almost all behind – it has as high as 14.6 percent close rate.
So what would be your best SEO strategies that will limit the impact of this crisis on your growth during this prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Well, let’s break it down into actionable steps so that you can implement them effortlessly on your content and website and start getting traffic and sales leads quickly.
- Do thorough keyword research for each of your content, be it a blog article or landing page content.
- Develop long-form content around the relevant keywords with supporting data insights and in-depth details.
- In case you are using WordPress, optimize it to improve your search engine ranking and increase organic traffic.
- Optimize page metadata and other important on-page SEO elements, including page title, meta description, H1, paragraph headers, etc.
- Never forget to optimize the image you are using on your content. Optimize image size, file name, alternative text, title, etc. to rank on Google image search.
- Link your pages internally and contextually to boost user experience and search engine crawling.
- Don’t hesitate to link other websites if that adds value to your readers. Though be careful while externally linking pages – link to the known and authoritative sites only.
- Add powerful and compelling call-to-action buttons on your content to increase lead/sales conversion rates.
- Optimize your website and contents for mobile and voice searches.
- Build/ acquire/ earn backlinks naturally from relevant and high-quality websites only.
- Author content as a guest contributor on good websites that accept guest posts.
- If you are a local business with one or multiple branches, you must focus on your company’s local SEO. List and verify your business on Google My Business tool and start building NAP citations.
- Use SEO tools like Google Search Console and Analytics to analyze and measure your website’s performance on Google.
In addition, when it comes to SEO and ranking, content is one of the predominant deciding factors. Thus, your maximum focus should be centered on consistently developing breath-taking content that your readers or customers would love and share.
And when you do that in the long run, your prospects will know you and your company by its name, and you will become a brand, an influencer.
So if you don’t want to step back just because of the Coronavirus pandemic and, of course, if you crave to boost your business, start acting on the aforesaid SEO strategies right from today.
Build Remote Teams to Significantly Cut Down the Digital Marketing Cost
When many large companies worldwide have been adopting remote working culture since the last few years, small businesses and startups are still hesitant to embrace this new way of working. But the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, quarantine, and afterward, the lockdown has forced many of them to build remote teams to stay up and running and productive.
If your business is still not working with a remote workforce, then you are already missing out on a lot of new business opportunities that, if you had a team of remote staffs, could easily be managed and delivered. So stop living in a cave, be mentally ready, and allow your teams to function remotely from their home.
Your primary goal should be delivering the job on time and providing excellent after-sales support to your customers. So even if a few of your efficient employees work from their home in their pajamas and slippers, that shouldn’t be a big deal as long as they complete their jobs on the dot.
You may think that work-from-home culture would drain your productivity and kill your time and money, but in reality, several research found that working remotely boosts the productivity of an individual. See what TED is saying about remote-working here in this video.
But it’s not only about productivity, but the question is, can you retrench your digital marketing cost adopting the remote working culture?
The answer is yes; you can significantly.
To understand this, you need to first know the skillsets you do require while marketing your products/services online.
In digital marketing, we need SEOs, Facebook and Google Ads specialists, email marketers, content writers, graphics designers, and social media experts. Now, if you see the nature of the jobs these people do, you will easily understand that most, if not all, of them, could be done from anywhere.
So this means if you can hire a few remote content writers or graphics designers or social media experts who from their home will support the rest of your digital marketing team, you can save a lot of bucks. Because most of the time, remote workers get paid on a per-job basis, which will be much lesser than that of a full-time employee of the same caliber.
So if not the entire workforce, but split a few of your teams into several smaller groups, and allow them to operate remotely from their home. Monitor the individuals’ performance using tools and technologies, and if all goes well, then during the Covid-19 pandemic hire a few qualified remote-working individuals for different jobs, and substantially shrink your digital marketing costs.
Utilize Technologies and Tools That Will Enable You to Run Things Remotely With Less Human Involvement
Now, more than ever, you need tools to manage jobs, monitor performance, and optimize teams’ productivity, especially when you are kind of forced to adapt to the remote-working model.
Digital marketing requires a lot of tools for SEO, social media, paid campaign management, email automation, etc. Plus, as your team is now divided into small groups and working from home, you need remote working tools for project management, team collaboration, and client interaction.
Utilizing these tools, your team can significantly elevate their daily performance, and you will be able to oversee and watch everything from one place.
However, you should also know that most of these tools are not free, though a few may come with a limited-feature version or free trial period. But the good thing is, a couple of these tools enable you to do jobs of multiple people, and in that way, they can save your money. For example, Hootsuite allows you to manage multiple social media accounts of your clients and manage everything from one place. So if you know how to use the tool at its fullest, you can significantly save time and money that you would have otherwise invested to complete the same volume of work manually.
So the bottom line is, use the tools that you must need to streamline the entire work from home operations, boost the team spirit, and at the same time, retain the productivity.
Collaborate With Other Companies, Which Will Offer Win-Win Benefits to Both
Value-added collaboration always benefits all parties. So what if you can join hand in hand with another company of professional and cross-promote each other?
Wouldn’t that be great?
Well, yes, this could be a real game-changer for your business, especially at this Coronavirus crisis.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are an interior decoration company severely hit by the pandemic and the following lockdown. What if you collaborate with a real estate company and jointly hold a webinar on how to set up a home-office without hurting your pocket during the Covid-19 breakout? While you are showcasing your fresh home-office designing ideas, the real estate company can demonstrate the sneak peek of one of their upcoming projects.
Both of you get benefited, maybe a few good leads in the queue, and indeed win-win for both.
You want another example?
Okay, let me try.
If you are a website designing agency, you can team up with a local digital marketing company. Both of you can cross-promote each other on social media, blog posts, etc., even can run a few compelling Facebook Ads to generate leads.
Yet, another example.
If you are a small travel agency, you might be facing a real hard time. But did you explore YouTube yet? I am sure; you have a ton of mind-blowing destination videos of amazing places, which you perhaps have only shared on a few Facebook and WhatsApp groups. But, have you ever thought of partnering with a vlogger who has a much bigger and relevant audience base? Yes, you can connect with a vlogger, make a viable deal with him where he would use your videos, and in return, promote you as a one-stop tour planner. This strategy may not give you any immediate cash-flow as the situation is still not in control, but when things get normalized, you may acquire a lot of leads from those videos.
So what did you get from these examples?
It’s simple! The possibilities are endless.
In this economic slowdown, when perhaps every business is suffering from a drop in their income, the more you strategically collaborate with others, the more it will benefit you.
Offer Calculative yet Irresistible Discounts to Hook Your Potential Prospects
How many times we click on ads seeing the “cashback offer”, or “cash discounts”, or “giveaways”, or “free gifts”, or “by one get one free”, or “redeem your coupon” ? Perhaps innumerable times. Right?
Because free things and buying during offers excite us, this is human psychology.
But now, when the Coronavirus has crumbled up the entire world economy and eroded our purchasing capacity, getting an excellent discount on products/services would definitely make it a real hit.
So, it’s time to restructure your pricing table.
Do you have a product/service that is too pricey for most of your potential customers? Can you rework on it and make it a little more approachable?
Because if you can, you can next promote it through your content, SEO, YouTube, social media, and increase your lead generation and sales conversion rates.
But while doing this, don’t create an offer like “digital marketing course at Rs. 99” or “e-commerce website at Rs. 999”. Because it’s clear from the ad-copy and pricing that the product is not at all designed to add any value to any of its customers’ life.
So instead of misleading people, reduce the price of your products/services while offering the same value to make it well worth the money spent on it.
Treat Your Customers as King and Support Your Employees as If They Are Your Generals
It’s time for all of us to be more empathetic and grateful to others.
Amidst this Covid-19 crisis, when an ordinary person is purchasing something from us, he is doing that because of his needs, and not for the luxury. And as a business, it’s our responsibility to value their emotions and needs, and more importantly, their contributions to our business.
Thank them for their purchase and treat them as king. It is because of them we are still doing the business.
And how can we forget our real heroes, our employees? It is them and their relentless efforts that gave us the courage and allowed us to run our business during the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. So thank them too. Thank you, my team. I am glad you are there for me.
Side note: We also need to stand next to those people who lost a lot in the Novel Coronavirus disaster. If we can do something physically for them, we should. Otherwise, at the very least, we can indeed contribute money to our PM or CM relief fund to help our government provide the food, mask, sanitizer, and other essentials to those people who are in real need.
Can we uninstall 2020, heal it, and reinstate it once again?
No, we can’t. But what we can do is keep our action plans ready with us so that when it gets over and becomes normal, we can dive deep and give our best shots to reinvigorate our business.
So, make no mistake and follow the digital marketing plan post the Covid-19 pandemic, and you will see consistent growth in your sales and bottom-line.
Yes, we are despondent as to what’s there in our future. But remember, we always have a choice. Either you chose to forget everything and run, or decide to face everything and rise. It’s on you.
So which one do you want to pick?
Do you want to follow and apply these digital marketing ideas after the Coronavirus pandemic? Or do you have your own set of digital marketing strategies ready to be put into action right after the Covid-19 crisis is over? Or is there anything I missed, which, if gets tied up, could make this plan even more foolproof to withstand the pandemic aftershock?
I would like to know them all. Your plan may make mine better and help millions of small businesses and startup companies that aren’t yet aligned with digital marketing but are ready to embrace it in the coming days to face off the tremor.
Good luck and Godspeed.
An advanced All-in-One Digital Marketing Course.
Mentored by Mr. Soumya Roy, the Founder, CEO of PromozSEO Web Marketing Academy.