Shaun Jackson

April 23, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted us all -- it has changed how we work, how we live, and many parts of our day-to-day routine.  For many businesses, this has meant a slow-down in sales activity and a slower pace.

 

When business is slower than usual, whether it is because of a pandemic, the holidays, or the off-season in a highly seasonal business, it's a great time to focus on some digital marketing housekeeping. 

This downtime provides a chance to tackle those tasks that are continually put on the back-burner when business is booming.  If you find yourself with a little extra time, take this opportunity to dive into these oft-delayed projects.

 


 
1. Blogging

Enrich your search engine visibility and better serve your customers by creating some fresh, relevant and useful content for your website.  Start with the questions your customers or prospects often ask you, and use those as prompts for new blog articles.

 

If you sell battery-powered lawnmowers, your customers may frequently ask you how long the mower can run on a single charge, or what the long-term cost savings or environmental impact is for your mower vs. a gas-powered mower. If you sell replacement parts for sports cars, and your customers are repair shops, you may get asked whether your parts are better than parts from the original manufacturer, or what kind of warranty you offer on your parts. Whatever questions you hear most often, write blog articles answering those questions, and then when someone searches that question on Google, you’re much more likely to be found than before. 


2. Video Marketing

We may not often think of it, but the fact is that YouTube is the second largest search engine, after Google.  Consumers frequently will search YouTube for reviews, product demos, or instructions before buying a product. 


If you have a product or service that can be demonstrated or explained better in person, then you should create videos and upload them to YouTube. Then when a consumer is searching for ideas or products that will fill a need they have, your video can help them find what they are looking for.


Videos on YouTube don’t have to be produced with a high budget, or really any budget.  First, you need to plan out what you will say and how you will demonstrate your product or service. Then you need to find a video camera - a  higher-end cellphone camera will work - to capture your video, and you can have it up on YouTube in no time.

 

3. Review Your Online Reputation

Online reviews can be a big blessing for a company or an enormous curse.  Either way, they are impossible to avoid in today’s digital age.  As consumers, we’ve grown used to hopping online and looking up the reviews of local restaurants when we’re in a new city, or checking the ratings of a product on Amazon before clicking that Add to Cart button. 


Even though we’re used to checking out online reviews before making a purchase, we often forget to check what people are saying about our own business. When things slow down at work, it is a great time to run a few Google searches on your own business or product to review your own ratings.  One trick is to search your company or product, and add the word “reviews”, “ratings”, or even “scam”.  This will help uncover not only the positives, but also the negatives. If the reviews are on a platform where you can respond, it is good practice to thank them for the positive feedback. If it is negative feedback, it is good practice to try to get information to connect with them offline to see how you can make things right.


This process may also help you uncover new places where you are receiving reviews that you were unaware of before.  Besides Google Search, you can also be looking for reviews on Yelp, Foursquare, Trustpilot, Glassdoor, Amazon, YouTube, and Google Maps.

 
4. Grow Your Database

The ability to communicate with your customers is crucial in today's world with so many voices vying for our attention.  If you’re not already collecting email addresses from your customers, now is the time to start!  If you are already building your customer email list, when is the last time you evaluated how and where you are gathering those email addresses?


The most natural point in most businesses is to gather emails at the time your customer makes their purchase, but what other areas could you be gathering emails?  Do you have a prominent email signup on your website?  Have you offered a discount to customers that join your email list?  Have you tried running a contest or virtual event like a webinar, where you could collect emails to add to your list? Have you tried driving traffic from your social media outlets to a landing page that can collect emails?


Look for various places you could collect your customers’ email addresses, and then be responsible and treat that list with care!  Don’t sell or trade it, and don’t wear your customers out with too-frequent emails. But, don’t ignore the list and never use it either.  Keep your customers informed with content that they would find helpful and relevant, like the blog posts you wrote for point #1.  

 

5. Dive Deep Into Your Analytics

Chances are that your website has Google Analytics or some other analytics package installed.  If you don’t already know how to access your analytics, get access ASAP!  Then, take some time when business is slower to dig into your analytics and see where your users are coming from, both how are they find your website (coming from links on other sites, or from search engines, or social media, etc) and also where they are geographically (how much of your traffic is from a geographic area you would never have guessed would be coming to your site?). 


Also, look at what pages are getting the most traffic, and what pages are users not visiting, but you thought they would?  How many of your users are visiting from a mobile device, and when is the last time you checked your site from a mobile device to see how it looks?   


If you recently ran a promotion or ad campaign, or attended a big trade show, look at your site traffic around the dates of your recent promotions to see if there was any discernible effect from your efforts, to help decide if it’s something that is worth repeating.

 

 

When business slows down, and you know that it’s only temporary, seize your opportunity to make some lasting improvements like these mentioned here, so that when things recover, or start returning to normal, you’re positioned well to leapfrog the competition and be stronger than ever!

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