Taking a glimpse at the performance of 10 different websites in 10 different industries since the COVID-19 virus changed our lives, it’s clear that some businesses (i.e. essential services) are thriving, while many others – especially small- and medium-sized businesses – are seeing performance drops averaging 20% in just a couple of weeks.
In many cases, this has forced business owners to have tough conversations about how they can rethink their investments and get the most out of any advertising budgets they may have.
But even with these unforeseen changes and the uncertain economic landscape we’re facing, you can still get positive results from your current digital marketing endeavours, as long as you’re adapting to consumer needs and adjusting your strategies on the fly.
Here’s how some industry professionals are maximizing their digital marketing results and keeping businesses afloat in these precarious times.
First, get the right data
Before we dive into how you can improve results in specific digital marketing channels, you’ll need to make sure you’re tracking the correct data in your Google Analytics.
Brett Patterson, digital analytics lead at Siteimprove, summarizes this best:
“Internal traffic is not internal! With so many employees working remotely right now, this may influence your digital analytics data! Your typical filter won’t catch workers working remotely, unless they are possibly using a VPN or other remote network connection. This means your employees might be counted in your analytics metrics, even though you had previously created a filter for this.”
Keep this in mind when you’re looking at your analytics, or the analytics report from your digital marketing agency. To ensure you’re getting the correct data, have your digital marketing agency add an annotation to your analytics to account for these potentially skewed metrics.
Not sure how to use Google Analytics to measure the performance of your website and digital marketing campaigns? Download our free Google Analytics Beginners Guide for Business Owners.
Paid search and social media are still strong marketing channels – with consistent management
Generally, search demand is down across the board. So, if you’re not a business that provides an essential product or service, you may want to reduce that ad spend for the time being. If you leave things as they were pre-COVID-19, even your top performing campaigns may eventually have a negative return on ad spend (ROAS).
On the other hand, if you do have an essential product or service, or are still able to keep your business running at this time, bids in paid search are lower than ever. Therefore, this can be the best time to maximize your ad spend – as long as you or your digital marketing team understand the importance of shifting budgets, changing bids, and adjusting campaigns every day.
For social media, there are more users on social platforms at all times of the day, so now would be a good time to invest in and expand your visibility and reach online.
Email marketing is your best communication channel
Email marketing has always been one of the best digital marketing channels in terms of value-spend ratio. If you’re decreasing paid search ad spend, you may want to reinvest those dollars into more email marketing campaigns.
They don’t have to be anything cutting-edge – you’ll be surprised at how effective consistent emails to your audience saying ‘our physical location is closed, but everything you need is available online’ can be at this time.
Just be sure you’re sensitive to the times with your messaging – don’t go for hard sells or promote ‘COVID-19 discounts’. You’ll want your emails to provide both value and reassurance to your subscribers.
Even if you don’t see immediate results, staying top-of-mind and earning trust from your customers now will pay off when everyone’s lives become more stable.
Continue moving forward with SEO and content marketing strategies
Organic search isn’t immune to the drops its paid search cousin is experiencing, as the decrease in search demand affects both channels.
Unlike paid search, however, you should continue moving forward with SEO and content marketing, regardless of your industry.
According to Search Engine Land, while websites are experiencing lower organic traffic, keyword rankings remain flat. Therefore, SEO and keywords rankings aren’t being affected by lower search demand during COVID-19.
Reducing spend in these areas can negatively impact your rankings and organic traffic when things turn around in a substantial way. Search demand will eventually stabilize, and when it does, you won’t get the same traffic if you cut SEO and content at this time. In fact, it’s best to put more efforts into these channels if your budget allows for it.
From The Future CEO Nick Eubanks summarizes this best in his blog:
“I personally believe that companies that continue to execute on their planned digital marketing campaigns, and more specifically, on their planned content and conversion strategies around SEO as an acquisition channel, will be poised for faster (and more effective) recovery when we come out the other side.”
We hope you’re all staying safe and looking out for others during this time. If you’re unsure how to go about keeping your business afloat, the Eden Advertising team is working remotely to assist small- and medium-sized businesses in Vaughan and Toronto.
If you need assistance in adjusting your digital marketing strategy for these times, get in touch with us today.