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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way consumers shop for products and services. Here’s how to create a digital marketing strategy as the economy recovers.

Over 100,000 businesses have closed this year due to COVID-19. It how it is affecting businesses.

That’s why you need to a marketing strategy for the present that will serve you well as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. The key is implementing programs that will help you connect with audiences who are staying home during the pandemic.

Every business needs to create a digital marketing strategy today to help them right now to recover if their business is down and keep it from getting worse. They also need to figure out how to still maintain a relationship with their customers even though they may not be physically shopping at their store.

Here’s a guide on how to create a digital marketing post-COVID-19 for your business.

What’s Happening to Businesses Right Now

During COVID-19, businesses have been forced to close or adapt and needed to adjust to lockdowns, social distancing, and other health care measures.

When the lockdown was lifted, businesses were forced to open curbside only. They had to figure out how to serve customers with masks and other restrictions.

With so many businesses closing during the pandemic, it’s some failed simply because they failed adjust their marketing strategy.  Don’t be a statistic, take action!

As businesses slog through the next few months with a raging pandemic ever possible, owners need to look ahead and consider how what is put in place now can help them emerge faster and stronger from COVID-19.  Think of it as helping you survive now while setting your business up to quickly recover profits post COVID.

That means using what for many may be new marketing strategies that rely on heavy use of social media, website search ranking and marketing messaging that is more effective than anything they ever thought about.

Here are some of the best digital marketing strategies to consider.

SEO

With more people than ever shopping online, you must have an online presence that is designed to make it clear what problems you solve or needs you fulfill and give prospects the confidence you are their best choice.

After your website has been tuned up to meet those two essentials, you next must attract prospects.  On a highway, you might count on drive by traffic and signage.  Online, you rely on people finding you via Google, Bing or other search engine.  That takes optimizing your site so it is seen as an authority or leader in your field.

That is where the topic of Search Engine Optimization or SEO comes in.  In addition to many “technical tactics” you will need to create SEO optimized content for your website’s blogs.  That is one of several things that will make your site become more visible, which means it can rank higher on Google in the first few pages. Myth-buster: There are no “tricks” that magically will put you on page one of a Google search result. It takes time, work and sustained effort but it does work.

Blog Content

One of the best ways to optimize your web content is creating regular blog content. It is one of the key activities that helps you rank higher on Google.

Be strategic when you write SEO content. Ideally, your topic will include keywords that aren’t competitively rank high, and you want to choose keywords that have a high search ranking.

In other words, you want to choose keywords that people are commonly using in their Google searches but not the most common ones.  For example, if you sold shoes and wrote an article with the keywords “Eco Friendly Shoes” you’d rank poorly as about 60,200,000 other sites use these keywords.  But if you wrote the article for say “Recycled Shoes” you’d rank against only 128,000 other sites.

If you add keywords naturally to your content, Google will see that but it can be overdone and lower your ranking. Google pays attention to the quality of the content too. That means writing content that explains the topic fully. You want to write content that gives a detailed explanation of whatever you are talking about. Some SEO companies believe that to show real mastery of the subject, blog posts of 2000 words are a must.

When you write high quality content combined with good SEO keywords, you can give your website a better online presence so your website will appear higher in a Google search.

Facebook Ads

Another part of your digital marketing strategy is Facebook ads. With more people online, especially on social media, it’s the perfect time to create a Facebook ads strategy.

Like social media or Facebook in particular, or not, Facebook has the data to narrowcast your ad to an amazingly small audience.  That makes it a key strategy to show them your brand, generate leads, and increase your conversions.

However, before you create some Facebook ads, you should consider everything that goes into them. You should consider the copy and the audience.

Facebook Ads Copy 

When it comes to writing a Facebook ad copy, it should be like any other good ad copy. That means it should be crafted to get the viewer to act, i.e., give you their email contact information so you can market to them directly; buy now; book a time for a discussion, etc.

Use a strategy that elicits emotion from the audience. There is an old wise saying in sales that people buy with their heart and justify the purchase with their head.  Motivate them to take action. When you write a Facebook ad copy, you should be concise in your writing and show the benefits of your product.

It is especially important because you must consider what people dealing with COVID-19 are thinking about. Until things change, they will be concerned with how well you’re setting and following safety protocols and cleaning. They may well be buying more online as well because they may be afraid to shop in stores.  Make your pitch “online with us is even better and more convenient than in person”.

Be ready to pivot once the pandemic subsides, people will want to shop more in person because they haven’t been comfortable doing so for quite a while.  So, promote the experience of your store with a “back to shopping as usual” with a “welcome back, discount coupon” for example.

Keep in mind, people buy solutions to the problem they have now.  So, write about the problems your audience has. Be sure to clearly identify the problem you solve in your Facebook ad and then present your business as the perfect solution.

Custom Audiences

Another benefit of Facebook ads is that you can create custom audiences.

You can create audiences based on their interest, their age, their demographics, and where they live. It allows you to create audiences based on their interests.  This of course means you need to understand your different types of buyers.

Few businesses serve one type of customer. They usually have several types of buyers. For example, casual wear, business casual and formal business wear.  Create a rich picture of a typical person in each group that pros call an “avatar”.  Make your description as rich as you can when you describe that prototypical buyer. What to they want to get out of buying what you sell? What are they worried about in the buying process? (CarMax based on people’s fears and experiences in buying a used car). How old are they? Gender? Income? Lifestyle? Homeowner or no? etc. Do they have hobbies, causes, religions, political beliefs… whatever helps you communicate with them effectively.

That rich picture will give you deep insights on not just how to write and ad directly targeting the person (don’t forget, you can use these avatars when writing your blog posts too). It will also give you great insights into how to target them using Facebook’s ad platform.

You can also retarget audiences with Facebook ads. It allows you to retarget people who watched your videos, clicked on your ads, or visited your website when they visit other sites which may be just the psychological encouragement they need to buy from you now.

Email Marketing

Another digital marketing strategy is email marketing. You may have some subscribers who have been on your list since the beginning of COVID-19 but haven’t made a purchase.

Using your email marketing list to send emails about business updates or promotions can be a great way to spark a desire for your products.

Email puts you in control of when you reach them because your email shows up in their inbox. You don’t have to wait for them to find you on Facebook or do via Google.  Having their email, you can send email sequences that take a cold audience and warm them up. They tell stories about the customers and their experiences. Help them visualize how they would feel after buying from you.

Another benefit of email marketing is that you are staying in consistent communication with your subscribers. A monthly or bi-weekly email newsletter can leverage your blog articles to help build your image as the expert and keep you top of mind.

You don’t want to see your competitor’s truck out in from of one of your customer’s home just because you failed to stay in touch and top of mind!

Overall, email marketing helps you stay connected with your audience. You can see how they are doing besides trying to sell to them. Send surveys and ask them what they need and make them feel a part of something.

Social Media Presence

A social media presence is critical, with more people hanging out online. You must have an online presence on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

By being a participant on these sites and posting each week consistently allows people to understand how your business is doing and gives you yet another way to connect with people and show them that you’re still operating and providing solutions to problems and needs they have.

When COVID-19 ends, you’ll already have a social media presence to boost awareness of your business. You want to post videos and pictures of your business, showing people new products or introducing them to your employees.

Another strategy with social media is getting your consumers involved. You can offer giveaways or do contests on the best picture or video. When you get your consumers involved, they feel a part of your brand.

It excites people to be a part of a business and tagged in a photo. It makes them feel included. This “belonging” is critical in the present COVID-19 epidemic when people feel lonely or trying to adjust. Being a part of something may excite them.

Figure Out How the Target Market Has Changed Post COVID 19

Your target market may have changed a bit post COVID-19. They may have changed their shopping patterns.

For example, if some people were regularly going into a brick and mortar business, they may now be almost exclusively shopping online.

That is why it’s important to engage with your current audience. Send them surveys to see how they are shopping differently.

You should also look at the analytics behind your website. You can see what page they are visiting most and if you have more traffic than before COVID-19 or less. Keep a close eye on how behavior changes as we come out of the pandemic.  Your website may give you insights before others see what is changing so you can have take advantage of your differential knowledge.

The more you know about your audience how they are shopping differently, the more you can help them solve a problem and the better you know how to market your product.

Now You Know How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy

Learning how to create a digital marketing strategy post-COVID-19 will take a lot of work, especially if you haven’t already done a lot of work on your website or are using Social Media.

Even if your business suffered during the pandemic, the strategies in this article can help your business adapt to what your audience is doing and help get you growing again.

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