The COVID-19 virus has had a huge impact on every part of society. Nonessential businesses are being forced to close, people are being laid off, public schools are closed, travel is limited, and the list goes on…
Of course, the first thing we need to focus on is the health and wellbeing of everyone around us.
From a business standpoint and marketing in general, however, offline and online businesses have had to adapt to survive the pandemic.
Not only have a lot of businesses had to shift their offline marketing efforts to a digital marketing strategy, but they’ve also had to find the most effective channel to reach their target audience.
Here are five pandemic-proof marketing channels to explore if you want to make the most of the money you spend on digital marketing channels and reach a large number of your target customers.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Even if you start implementing an SEO strategy today, there’s no guarantee that it’ll start paying off before the pandemic ends.
Or, at least, before it’s back to “business as usual.”
However, while no one knows for sure how long this pandemic is going to last, it always makes sense to pay attention to SEO best practices when creating content.
If your business has an online presence, you should always be trying to increase your organic footprint in the search results. You should also strengthen your brand recognition and grow your online audience to expand their customer experience.
Organic traffic is one of, if not the most, valuable forms of traffic. It’s highly targeted because users are finding you through typing in search queries. If you’re selling products or services, a lot of that traffic will be “warm” and ready to buy.
If you’ve not been focusing on SEO to this point, now is the perfect time to start. There are a number of SEO tools that make it easy to understand where the best opportunities lie and which keywords to focus on.
If this pandemic has taught us one thing so far, it’s that we can’t be sure what the future holds. But setting up your business with a strong SEO backbone is a smart way to develop a reliable marketing channel whatever the future may hold.
With most of the world in lockdown and social distancing now the norm, most businesses embrace the use of video conferencing software to communicate with each other.
Not only businesses but also families and individuals are using video chat services to connect, making now the perfect time to host a webinar to reach your customer base.
Webinars are not new, and they’ve always been effective in certain industries when targeting specific demographics.
However, with people stuck at home and a greater number of people now familiar with video conferencing software, webinars have quickly become one of the marketing channels to rise in popularity during the pandemic.
If you already have an audience you can engage with, then it’s easy to sign up for a free trial from one of the best webinar software tools and send out the details to your audience.
Doing it cold, you’ll need to spend some money on advertising or leverage industry relationships to get the word out – both of which I’ll go into more detail below.
The best thing about webinars is that they’re highly engaging. For the duration of the webinar, you’ll have a live, real-time connection with your audience. You can communicate with them in person and live chat.
You can also make it available to watch as a replay to those who couldn’t make it. Add that to an email drip campaign and you’ve got the makings of a strong lead-acquisition machine.
Facebook and Instagram are, by far, the two most popular mobile platforms. Now’s a perfect time to use ads on these platforms to reach your audience, especially if your audience is primarily on one or the other, or spread across both. Usage and engagement on these platforms continue to rise since the onset of the pandemic.
Plus, for those who were not aware, Facebook acquired Instagram for around $1 billion in 2012. As a result, there’s some crossover and ways you can advertise across both platforms seamlessly.
Some of the key benefits of using paid ads on these platforms include:
There is a global audience of more than 2.89 billion Facebook users and 500 million Instagram users
You can target exact demographics and groups of people
It’s one of the least expensive forms of marketing for the reach it has
A large number of users trust these platforms and are likely to buy
You can build your community at the same time for future marketing campaigns
The interesting thing about advertising during a pandemic is that ad spend has dropped significantly. Meanwhile, the use of social media platforms and online shopping has increased.
This means that if you’re in one of the industries that are booming as a result of being locked down, such as online entertainment, home improvement, or education, it’s a great time to use paid ads on Facebook and Instagram.
Partnership marketing has long been an effective form of online marketing. If you don’t have the budget or resources to fuel your marketing campaign or you’ve spotted a good opportunity, partnering with one or more businesses can springboard your marketing plan.
Forming partnerships is an effective form of marketing right now. Due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in organic search. Yet, businesses have had to slash their advertising budgets due to managing employee costs and uncertainty about the future.
So, if you can form a strategic partnership and leverage their audience, it may be one of the most inexpensive and effective marketing strategies right now.
Some tips on how you should approach this form of marketing include:
Identify your strengths and weaknesses
Identify what it is you want from a partner and what you can offer in return
Formulate your content marketing strategy around other pandemic-proof marketing channels
Don’t compromise on your values and beliefs
Don’t look to profit from the pandemic, rather look to provide value based on the current market needs
Don’t make any rushed decisions and get everything put in writing and made official
With a clear picture of the areas you need help with and what you can offer a partner, you should reach out to businesses that meet your criteria.
Chances are they’ll also see the opportunity to leverage free advertising and a share of skill sets at this time. To add value, or as an alternative e to the partnerships you do gain, consider affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is similar to forming partnerships with other businesses.
The main difference is that you have a lot more control over how you market another company’s products. Or, as a supplier, you can reach a much wider audience with minimal risk and investment.
Typically, the company supplying products or services to affiliates creates a program and provides some marketing materials. They will then pay a commission for every sale made by their affiliates.
The reason why affiliate marketing is booming during the pandemic – for both affiliates and retailers – is because you can handpick the products you’re marketing.
There are some big winners due to the pandemic, such as companies selling online resources, home improvement goods and services, and essential goods, to mention just a few.
There are also some industries hit very hard by the lockdown, such as travel companies, all forms of outdoor entertainment, the restaurant and hospitality industry, and so on.
The key here is having an audience to promote products or knowing how to market products and services online.
Even if you’re in one of the industries hit hard by the pandemic, you can pivot and offer products or services to your audience from another company and make sales.
Likewise, if you’re a small retailer in an industry that’s in huge demand right now, using affiliates is essentially a way to cast a wider net and have companies promote your products for you.
Affiliate marketing has always been a win-win. As long as you can find the balance between your marketing spend and paying a commission that’ll attract affiliates. It’s one of the best forms of marketing right now.
Despite the personal and professional challenges we’re facing during the coronavirus pandemic, we are still collecting large amounts of data.
As marketers, data is our best friend.
We know that screen time has increased with officials telling people to stay indoors. We also know that consumer spending is up in certain sectors.
Now, more than ever, you need to be deliberate with the multiple channels you use to reach your audience to maximize your conversions.
I hope the five pandemic-proof marketing channels I’ve covered in this article give you everything you need to formulate a successful marketing campaign during and post-pandemic.
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