6 Avenues for Marketing Your Business Online Amid COVID-19

Essential businesses remain open and more companies join them as regulations ease up. For example, all provinces in Canada have eased COVID-19 restrictions to allow curbside pickup for some retailers. While reduced regulation is good news, businesses still need to reach customers during COVID-19 and consumers aren’t spending as much right now.

Thankfully, we have the Internet, so you can affordably market your products or services online. Plus, Internet usage is up since many of us are stuck at home. So the real question is, where do you start?

We answer that question in this article, discussing several avenues that you can use to promote your business and why they should work.

1. Social Media

More people are using social media because of COVID-19. Major platforms like Facebook and Twitter are experiencing a surge in usage. However, their advertising revenue is taking a hit amid the coronavirus pandemic. While that is a problem for social networks, it’s a potential opportunity for your business.

Right now, organic (naturally occurring) reach is most likely better because more consumers are spending time on social networks. The cost of ads should also drop since fewer companies are advertising. So consider using paid or free promotion on social media to drive customers to your business.

top social media apps worldwide
Source: Social Media Today

Social media can be a great avenue to reach customers, but the platform you use and overall strategy matters.

Think about the kind of audience you serve and consider the social networks they may use. People use a social network for various reasons and you need to identify them.

For example, Facebook has the most massive audience of all social platforms. You can reach almost any kind of audience segment, but most people don’t go on Facebook to buy something. They go there to socialize. As a result, many ignore ads unless they trigger an emotional response.

Let’s look at one more example. People use LinkedIn to advance their careers and socialize with other professionals or like-minded individuals. So the ads that work best on LinkedIn are career-related.

Trigger a response with emotion

Focus on triggering an emotional response with your social media ads and posts because it should improve performance. Do this by identifying the emotional needs behind your product and conveying that in your messaging.

Here’s an example from Entrepreneur.

Most entrepreneurs or business owners want to level up.

The ad is an excellent example of how to generate a response by using emotional needs. People buy educational products so they can feel a sense of achievement, and feeling smarter provides a sense of importance. The logical reasons come after they can meet those emotional needs.

The term ‘level up’ implies that taking the course is an achievement that will make you smarter. Then the outrageous discount drives the ad copy home.

Focusing on the emotional needs behind your product is how you engage plus sell on social media. Social channels can increase brand awareness and sales if approached the right way.

  • Share content that is useful and relevant to the target audience.
  • Be authentic and resist the urge to promote your offerings all the time.
  • Find the emotional reason people buy your product and exploit it.

2. Become a Publisher on Your Website and Others

Now is a great time to become a content publisher. Content marketing can drive significant traffic to your website and starting a blog is one way to begin. The benefits include the following.

  • A blog can help you attract organic traffic from search engines.
  • You can repurpose the content on your blog for other activities, such as social media marketing, eBook publishing, etc.
  • Blog content lives on the web and remains accessible to consumers 24/7. As a result, you can keep generating traffic; providing your website never goes down.

Keep in mind that there’s more to content marketing than blogging, such as organizing online discussions, sharing event videos, podcasting, etc. However, starting a company blog is still one of the most effective ways to attract online consumers.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is probably a good strategy for marketing your business right now because Google is experiencing a surge in searches.

SEO targets consumers that are already either on the market for what you sell or have an interest in your products. A great SEO campaign can meet consumers at every stage of the buyer’s journey (awareness, interest, shop, and buy). That’s why SEO is a great way to market your business during COVID-19.

The marketing discipline is technical, but understanding the basics can help you gain traffic from search engines. Use the general SEO guide from Google to learn the basics and start optimizing your website. The ongoing process of optimizing a site demands plenty of work, so hire expert help if you can.

4. Use Live Video Marketing

Live video isn’t saturated yet, so it’s pretty easy to reach consumers on platforms that support it. YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and LinkedIn Live are good options. These networks can notify your followers whenever you go live. People can also discover your live content providing the broadcast is well optimized for discovery.

The video is typically saved to your social profile after live streaming so you can download the content and repurpose it for other activities.

5. Start an Affiliate Program

Working with affiliates can drive sales. Affiliate marketers are people that promote your products or services for commission.

Here are the basic steps to get started.

  • First, develop your affiliate program.
  • Second, figure out how you’ll track the origin of incoming sales or leads and pay affiliates.
  • Third, recruit the right affiliates.

You can also partner with popular affiliate networks rather than build your own tracking system. Popular networks like Commission Junction or ClickBank or Shareasale allow you to use their systems at a cost. These platforms provide most of the tools you’ll need to run an affiliate program.

6. Use Email Marketing

Email marketing can be used to engage existing customers and reach new prospects in the following ways.

  • Cold email potential customers – This can be effective when done correctly. Take the time necessary to find qualified prospects and reach out to them with a great offer.
  • Nurture prospects – You can use email to send valuable content to your subscribers regularly. Each material should move them closer to becoming paying customers.
  • Engage existing customers – Use email to stay in touch with past customers or clients, so your brand remains top-of-mind.

For cold email outreach, you can use Snov, and if your goal is to nurture or engage an existing list of contacts, consider Mailer Lite.  All in all, how you use email will depend on your business situation and its offerings.

Better to Start Now

COVID-19 has forced many of us to rethink how we reach and serve customers. Consider the opportunities available to your company and take the necessary steps. No matter what you need to do for your business, start now. Good luck.

Useful resource:
RCC’s curbside pickup cheat sheet for retailers.

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