The COVID-19 pandemic has affected individuals and businesses across the world. It is for the first time that almost 70% of the countries, including developed, underdeveloped, and developing nations, went into partial or total lockdown. Even now, a significant portion of the Western world is reeling under the fear of a second wave.
Businesses across the world had to adjust their operations to keep up with the changing times. Digital transformation is at an all-time high, and businesses are adjusting their digital transformation plans to stay relevant in the current and post-pandemic world.
According to a TechRepublic survey, almost 60% of businesses worldwide have altered their digital transformation strategies due to the pandemic. But a global event of this scale, which has already been around for several months, would require businesses to do more than just tweaking or adjusting their digital strategies.
Here is how the pandemic has changed the search and digital marketing trends with tips for businesses to come to terms with the ‘new normal’-
1. Search Marketing is More Important than Ever
As the digital channels are growing in popularity due to the pandemic, search marketing has become more important than ever. However, many businesses have either paused or stopped their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or SMM (Social Media Marketing) activities citing the rising health concerns of the staff.
But if you’ve ever used SEO or SMM, you might know that these are long-term marketing strategies. Unlike paid campaigns, they cannot provide overnight results. Pausing your SEO or SMM activities could have long-term consequences not just now but even in the post-pandemic world, including reduced online traffic, conversation, engagement, sales, and lower search rankings.
While the health of your staff is vital, it is the job of the employers to adopt WFH (Work From Home) policies and keep the team motivated.
2. Changing Consumer Behavior
The pandemic also has significantly impacted consumer behavior in many different ways across the world. For instance, as per a report by McKinsey & Co, around 91% of the Indian consumers changed their shopping behavior due to the pandemic. As the shopping behavior changes, so does the market that businesses want to target and serve.
Unfortunately, there is no single SEO or digital marketing strategy that’d work for every business. Marketers should focus on a flexible strategy that could be altered according to the situations. Focus on understanding the audience and assessing the demand for the product to create a short-term strategy based on which the market conditions could be measured.
Adjust the strategy as per the outcome of this short-term strategy and keep enough room for future alterations so that your business could survive any situation.
3. Empathy As a Means to Grow
From job losses to fear and anxiety, people across the world have been through a lot in the last six months. Apart from the fellow citizens and the government, people are also expecting some action and empathy from the brands they deal with. Something as simple as a free consultation, discounts, free sanitization products, or masks could help improve the public image of your brand.
Use social media and search marketing as your means to reach your existing and potential customers. Listen to them, share informational and positive messages, and reply to their comments so that people feel that you are with them through these testing times. Rather than the brand, people want to interact with individuals behind the brand.
Empathy and giving back to society is always good, especially at times like these, when millions of people are struggling financially and emotionally. Indirectly, this will also bring in a lot of exposure to your brand.
Surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic
Several businesses across the world collapsed in the last few months. There can be others if the pandemic continues. But with an effective vaccine only a few months away, businesses should focus on their recovery and adjusting to the post-pandemic world, hoping that the worst is already behind us.
Digital marketing would play a vital role in the coming years, making it an absolute must for businesses of every size from every industry. Tips like the ones discussed in this post can help businesses not only recover from the pandemic but also grow and reach a newer audience.