Small businesses are looking for the right opportunities to stay afloat due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the current lack of physical options and more reliance on the digital landscape, digital marketing continues to provide value to small businesses looking to expand their reach and revenue.
At the start of 2020, it was reported that businesses would spend $1.3 trillion on digital marketing this year. The impact of the coronavirus makes this likely to change, however, because businesses are cutting costs.
During this downtime, small businesses have the opportunity to figure out what works with their marketing strategies and channels. Although it is a chaotic and challenging time, it could be a good time for business leaders to take a hard look at their digital marketing techniques.
1. Build a Strong Social Media Presence
As the opportunity for direct face-to-face communication is currently limited, small businesses should take to social media to reach their customers.
Social media is part of the majority of small businesses’ marketing plans. Almost all small businesses (88%) invest in social media.
Social media has become a functional aspect of many digital marketing strategies for different businesses and generations.
Business Owners Value Social Media, No Matter Their Age. The majority of all generations rely on social media for their business: Millennials (91%), Generation X (91%), and baby boomers (85%) use social media for their business.
How Different Generations Use Digital Marketing Channels
Outside of social media, each generation plans to invest more in the following channels:
Millennials: Email marketing (80%), video marketing (75%), and website marketing (50%)
Generation Xers: Email marketing (73%), video marketing (57%), and website marketing (59%)
Baby boomers: Email marketing (65%), video marketing (46%), and website marketing (52%)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses are looking to try new digital marketing strategies, but why is social media one of the more effective tools?
With the amount of social media channels out there (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), there are more chances than ever to better connect with your audience.
According to BigCommerce, 72% of customers say that positive reviews and testimonials make them trust a business. Having a well-thought out social media strategy can facilitate that trust.
Social media encourages engagement, transparent communication, and brand exposure. These elements create a level of personalization and trust with your customer base.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses leveraging social media can attract customers while they spend an increasing amount of time at home and online.
2. Use Email Marketing Campaigns to Connect With Customers
While some may argue that email marketing is outdated, most small businesses still use email to facilitate personal connections with their clients.
According to HubSpot, 80% of business leaders believe that email marketing amplifies customer retention. Nearly 60% of respondents of its State of Email Marketing survey say that marketing emails influence their purchasing behavior.
The impact of email marketing goes beyond a cluttered inbox. It’s a key digital marketing tool for small businesses looking to expand their brand’s reach and influence.
A lot of things aren’t going as planned for businesses during this time. Using older staples such as email can provide a sense of stability while remaining an urgent communication tool.
3. Expand Website Marketing Efforts
Online visibility is extremely important for businesses in this day and age. If your business doesn’t have a website, your presence within your market is essentially nonexistent.
Small businesses need look no further than their own web platforms to increase their knowledge of website marketing.
Web marketing is a more focused digital effort through in-house resources. By building online relationships, website marketing is one of the most measurable tactics.
With online preferences changing frequently alongside the growing digital market, small businesses can add variety to their websites by producing timely content with a personal touch.
Small businesses can study their site’s traffic and engagement levels, finding areas to grow their success. This is a quick way to find what works and what doesn’t.
4. Start Using Video Marketing
The use of eye-catching videos can help small businesses dominate the digital marketing circuit because videos make the average user spend 88% more time on a website.
Despite over half of consumers wanting to see more video content from brands they support, only about one-third of small businesses (32%) plan to invest more in video marketing this year.
Although creating an engaging video involves more of a time commitment, different businesses are using video marketing as a resource for exposure during this period of time.
More people are working remotely and spending their free time with their laptops. A visually appealing, short video can do wonders for your engagement rate.
More small businesses should consider the interactive and engaging value of video marketing.
5. Use In-House Digital Marketing Resources
Small businesses use internal in-house resources who provide their company with creative digital marketing ideas.
The majority of small businesses rely on in-house employees who work on digital marketing services in addition to other responsibilities.
In our current landscape, recruitment and hiring are on pause for a majority of companies, so many companies are relying on the skills of their own employees for digital marketing or outsourcing the services.
6. Find More Outlets for Print Marketing
Businesses aren’t only focusing on digital marketing — most still use traditional marketing techniques such as print marketing.
About two-thirds of small businesses still use print marketing as part of their marketing strategy. This includes direct mail, flyers, and banners.
In times of social distancing, print marketing can add a deeper connection to small business marketing plans.
7. Determine Your Small Business’s Main Goal
Having a main goal to measure the success of your digital marketing efforts might be the most beneficial digital marketing tip of all. Before starting their small business marketing plan, companies must determine their primary digital marketing goal.
Currently, more than 75% of small businesses believe their digital marketing efforts are effective in achieving their company’s goals.
Starting with a concrete goal and executing on that is one way to structure a small business digital marketing plan.
Each business is different. No matter your goal for digital marketing, the primary concern during this time is holding your business together.
The impact of COVID-19 will be long-lasting, so businesses need to plan long-term digital marketing goals to set them apart from others in the market.
Almost all of them invest in social media, while more small businesses are looking to grow their digital marketing efforts through website marketing, email marketing, and video marketing.
While this is a time to try something new, there are still valuable and effective digital marketing strategies that small businesses can explore to increase their customer base and market presence.