As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, people everywhere are learning to cope with a new way of living. While brick-and-mortar retailers were already losing favor among shoppers, stay-home orders have all but crippled the market.
The companies that are best positioned to survive in this environment are those that had already begun to pivot to a digital marketplace. But having a functional website and ecommerce presence is only half the battle. Just as important is the ability to get customers to those product pages.
The Growing Role of Digital Marketing
As more businesses enter the online marketplace, the competition for traffic becomes even greater. Against powerhouses like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, smaller brands face a challenge in being found by online shoppers.
For this reason, digital marketing is critical in building brand recognition and increasing traffic to business websites. A comprehensive digital marketing strategy starts with creating a search-optimized website and includes an active social media presence.
While many small companies focus on organic marketing efforts like social media and traditional outreach, paid media is becoming more important in the fight for customer attention online.
This includes social media ads and Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns and falls under the term search engine marketing (SEM).
Why Now is the Time to Experiment With Digital Advertising
While it may seem counterintuitive to boost spending during a global crisis, now is the perfect time to experiment. With many companies cutting budgets and reducing online ad spends, CPM rates (the cost paid per 1,000 ad views) for search marketing and PPC are actually quite low in many cases.
By taking advantage of reduced competition and prices, you can test new digital marketing avenues such as paid ads.
Understanding the Basics of Digital Marketing
Before you start creating content for organic search and setting up Google Ads and other paid media, it’s important to come up with an overall campaign strategy.
Define Your KPIsKey Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics used to define the success of a campaign. KPIs can include anything from page views to click-through-rates (CTR), new subscribers, and more. It’s important to establish which metrics matter most to a campaign before you start planning since they’ll help in developing the strategy.
Build Brand AwarenessHaving a stellar product or service is critical, but without brand recognition, you can easily lose sales to more established competitors. Consumers buy from brands they trust, so building that trust through awareness campaigns and testimonials can help establish a strong reputation. Focus more on impressions and views rather than clicks and conversions (although the latter are certainly welcome). The early stages of marketing are all about getting your product or service in front of as many people as possible, so don’t get caught up in the lack of sales just yet.
Optimize for LocalIf you provide a product or service within a specific geographic region (e.g., landscapers, florists, plumbers, etc.), be sure to target those areas to reach people nearby. In addition to creating informative content on your website, consider Google Ads that target localized keywords and audiences.
Create Helpful ContentNobody wants to be pitched or sold to, but most people head to Google to get questions answered. Rather than create a site that reads more like a catalog, create a knowledge base where people can find the information they’re looking for. Become an authority for your niche by maintaining a regular newsletter or blog to share information and establish your brand as a reliable resource. If you create content that ranks highly in search engine results, you’ll be leading more people directly to your site, who may then click around before ultimately making a purchase or contacting you. The longer a visitor is engaged with your site, the better the chances of closing a deal when they’re ready to buy.
Get SocialBuilding a robust social media presence is a major component of digital marketing. You don’t need to have a presence on every platform but know which networks make the most sense for your brand. Identify where your target audience is most active. In addition to posting updates on a regular basis, engage with people and relevant accounts to work toward creating a community (rather than just trying to rack up followers). Once you’ve built a strong base, you can start experimenting with promoted posts and social media advertising.
Taking Digital Marketing to the Next Level
Digital marketing is quickly becoming a must-have skill that employers are looking for. And it’s no wonder, as the market shifts, the gravitation to online business is making it imperative for companies to master digital marketing and advertising. Those that don’t will be left behind, especially during times like the coronavirus pandemic.
Advertising requires a sizable budget to test different options to see what works and what doesn’t. While rates and competition for keywords are at a low due to the economic flux, so are many company budgets. For this reason, it’s a good idea to brush up on digital marketing tactics to build a foundation for success—both as a candidate for a marketing job and a business owner.
Unleash the Power of Digital Channels Today
Simplilearn’s Digital Marketing Specialist Certification Course will walk you through the fundamentals of modern marketing, customer lifecycle stages, and how to target them, as well as the technologies you’ll need to become familiar with.
Equip yourself with the skills, insights, and knowledge to be a highly effective digital marketer and generate a positive and measurable impact on your company’s bottom line.