Three digital marketing trends to focus on during the COVID-19 pandemic

First, let’s take a deep breath and take comfort in the fact that everything in life is temporary. We are not trapped in our current circumstances forever. However, when things slowly begin to return to normal, the business you have at the end of lockdown will depend on how you act today.

The way you have operated your business previously is now unrecognisable. What do you do at this moment in time? It’s very tempting to see the current situation as an excuse to take a break. After all you’ve worked your butt off for your business and now you are being forced to pause: why not make the most of it? However, every small business is in exactly situation as you right now. I really do believe that small business owners can still power forward and improve their brand, marketing and do all those tasks that you have never had time to do. Until today!

One key saviour in modern times that has not been available in previous pandemics is the internet. The internet has allowed us to remain close to our loved ones during lockdown and is enabling a lot of businesses to continue operation, albeit while having to majorly adjust their strategies.

Minimising the economic impact through every method available to us could be the difference between going under or staying afloat as a business. That’s why Barker Brooks Creative have put together a list of three strong digital marketing trends that are worth focusing on amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Whether you are still managing to provide a service in these challenging times or are feeling completely stuck, the following guide will help you strengthen your online brand and allow you to come out the other side stronger than ever.

We could write a book on the amount of marketing you could do for your business. So we are going to focus on just three powerful digital marketing tools that you can work on right away. Make a positive difference to your business today.

1. Interactive content on social media

Interactive content marketing involves using content to engage consumers based on their participation. A well-known example of interactive marketing is insurance companies that offer free, instant quotes. You visit the site, fill in the requested information and then your quote gets emailed or texted to you.

A whopping 90% of consumers want more visual and interactive content.

It encourages consumers to compete, compare, test themselves, consume information faster and get results almost immediately. Here are some examples of how you could use interactive content for your business:

Create a quiz on your Facebook Page

Quizzes have been a favourite engagement tool online for a long time, particularly on Facebook. They can vary from a simple outcome-based quiz (for example, what is your Hogwarts House?) through to quizzes that are full blown assessments. It’s a good idea to play on people’s vanity by stating that the quiz is difficult but then make it easy! You could have a title like ‘how many of you can score 100%? We all love a bit of friendly competition.

Don’t forget to make it relevant to your business where possible. If you are an estate agent you could have ‘Can you guess the price of all these houses correctly?’ With pictures of current houses for sale with correct answers coming within the right 10k price bracket. Or a baker could have ‘Do you know what cakes these are?’ These quizzes are a fun distraction for your followers and the results are very shareable on social media – giving you more brand awareness.

Make interactive and live videos

Sharing a live broadcast with your audience on Facebook and Instagram can help consumers feel much more connected to your business. The key is to not just show the event but to let your viewers be a part of it. Think about being your audience’s eyes and ears. Live viewers of your video will be able to comment on it in real time so make sure you keep an eye on these and reply to them verbally while live where possible.

During lockdown live videos are a fantastic way to keep your followers engaged. You could talk them through some of your products or do a make-up demonstration for example. You could even show how you create one of your products or host a live lesson or training session.

Don’t forget to advertise that you are doing a live video a few days before to get a higher number of people tuning in to see what you have to offer.

Create ‘shoppable’ posts

On Instagram you can create something called a ‘shoppable’ post. This means you can label or ‘tag’ products in the photo you are sharing on Instagram. For example, a retailer can tag each item of clothing in a model’s entire outfit, linking the customer to the product on their webpage.

With the added ability to send traffic directly from Instagram posts, businesses can easily connect their audiences with the products and services they sell — and ultimately offer another buying journey to their customers. People can now go from product inspiration to product information in just a few taps, rather than having to go to the business’s website and find the product that way.

It certainly makes the customer journey much easier, in turn increasing sales!

2. Optimise your website with strong SEO

SEO (search engine optimisation) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

It’s so important to make sure your website is fully optimised to be as high up the list as possible in Google and other search engines.

The reason why other websites are ranking higher than you on Google is because they are making a conscious effort to improve their SEO. It’s that simple. Fortunately, it’s not too late for you to get started. Below are just a few of the ways you can improve your SEO ranking and there are many more out there too!

Produce high quality content

How often do you update your website? If you haven’t touched it since the day you built it, you probably don’t have a great SEO ranking to be honest. To drive more traffic to your website and increase its popularity, you need to give visitors a reason to keep coming back. Your content needs to be high quality, recent, and relevant. Update the wording on the key pages of your website regularly and keep them relevant. Another excellent way of helping with this is to start a blog. Read on for more information on blogging.

Optimise your images

Pictures and other images are great for your website, they make it more engaging for visitors. However, you need to make sure they are optimised properly if you want these images to improve your SEO ranking. Factors such as the file format and image size need to be monitored. Huge images can slow your page loading time, which like said previously, hurts your ranking. You will need to resize or compress your images to optimise them. There is a fantastic free tool for this online called TinyPNG. Click here to try it out!

You can also use your images to sneak in keywords by naming them accordingly. For example, if you have a business that sells wedding cakes, instead of naming the image ‘cake1’, you could name it ‘red velvet buttercream wedding cake’. You can also strategically use keywords in the title of your image as well as the caption and description. All of this will help towards boosting your SEO.

Start blogging

Blogging is simply fantastic for your business. It’s an outstanding tool for lead generation and helps you engage with visitors that come to your website. But what most people don’t realise is that regular blogging massively improves the SEO ranking of your website.

As I have already mentioned, producing fresh and relevant content can drive people to your website and give them a reason to stay for longer. Blogs are the perfect channel for you to accomplish this. If you can establish a large amount of loyal readers, you can get lots of traffic to your site daily.

You can incorporate other things we have about into your blog posts too. Optimised images an, improved header and image titles relating to your business and keywords throughout your blog. These things will all help strengthen your SEO, allowing you to continue climbing towards the top of Google.

3. Collect customer reviews

90% of consumers reading online reviews before using a business.

It’s incredibly important to collect and showcase customer testimonials online. During lockdown more people than ever will have the time to turn to the internet to decide which businesses to use. The more positive customer reviews you have, the higher your business will appear in search engines like Google and the more likely a customer will trust your business in these uncertain times.

Use this quiet time to invite previous customers to write a review of your product or service on either Google or Facebook.

Google customer reviews

In order to get a review on Google for your business, you must be registered with Google My Business. But don’t worry if you’re not, get in touch and we can set that up. If you have Google My Business, click here to find out exactly how to invite customers to leave you a review on Google.

Facebook customer reviews

In the meantime, you can still invite customers to leave a review on your Facebook page. Simply go to the review tab on your Facebook page and copy the link in the address bar. You can now send the link to previous customers and ask them if they would be so kind to leave a review for you.

The added bonus of collecting customer reviews is that you can use them content in their own right. A glowing customer testimonial as a social media posts is a nice ‘feed good’ story. Let’s face it, we could all do with a nice story at the moment!

Trustpilot and others

There are many other review platforms out there that help businesses collect customer reviews. Barker Brooks Creative have extensive experience of working with Trustpilot, Feefo and others. Get in touch and we’d be delighted to help get you started on these platforms too.

Keep calm and corona on

I hope you have found the above article helpful during these challenging times. I strongly believe that you can still make a positive impact to your business during lockdown. Digital marketing is a great tool available to all businesses right now. All you need is a computer and a good internet connection to take advantage of it. If you need further guidance or help with anything relating to marketing or design, get in touch for a friendly chat today.