2020 will be remembered for many things, but becoming more reliant on digital marketing strategies will be one of the most important takeaways for businesses that survive the COVID-19 Pandemic. B2B companies that normally work with in person networking and relationships have had to adapt especially, as their normal recruiting and networking is done in vendor conventions and exhibitions.
Smaller businesses have struggled especially, especially small retail companies that previously had not offered shipping methods. Large companies have also had to boost their digital marketing strategies, although major companies like Walmart, Amazon, Target, and others have had plenty of success through the pandemic.
A key attribute of a successful company is adaptability. For companies that are B2B and typically work face-to-face with customers, they’ve had to take advantage of the virtual channels available. These channels include Zoom or Skype or Microsoft Teams, but channels such as LinkedIn have also seen large jumps in users and engagement since the beginning of the pandemic. While engagement has increased, revenue hasn’t grown at the same rate. LinkedIn reported a 26 percent increase in LinkedIn sessions, but ad revenue only rose by 21 percent. Users interacted less with paid ads, but engaged more with users on the platform.
For small businesses, survival is on the mind of owners. Outside of digital marketing, it is difficult for small businesses to afford marketing, especially when revenue is already low. Some options include consultants, such as The OCEO that offer free initial consultations. These free consultation services can help small businesses make quick plans to stay afloat.
In a survey run by Search Engine Watch, more than 4500 digital marketers responded. Unsurprisingly, 63 percent of those that responded said they reallocated budgets to activities that bring short term results. “18 percent of respondents noted an increase in sales, 27 percent reported an increase in traffic, and 12 percent received new customers.”
Businesses have also had to adapt to state mandates on group size limits. In the same aforementioned survey, 64 percent of respondents said they started to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state mandates. 40 percent of respondents said they had their salary cut due to the pandemic.
Some CEOs have said that working remotely has led to their companies launching new social media campaigns and new e-commerce channels targeted towards home-workers has resulted in a spike in revenue. These CEOs have attributed this to marketers having more time to work on digital strategies rather than being on the road with vendors or at events.
For small businesses, creating paid ads and increasing their online and website presence in their area is vital for them to stay in business during the COVID-19 pandemic. With online sales being key to encourage social distancing, it makes it important to have a strategy and make your company “seen” in the area. Paid ads on social media platforms and constantly creating and publishing content to stay at the top of a customer’s news feed and most relevant in the mind of customers and potential customers.
Engagement on social media is important in growing your social media presence. Engagement is a two-way street. You need people engaging in your content, but you also need to be engaging on the public’s content. Finding micro influencers in your area and interacting with them can lead to them encouraging their followers to shop at your business. Additionally, micro influencers can be a low-cost strategy for reaching more people than you normally would. Some micro influencers charge very little for their posts, but with their help, small businesses can get more eyes on their product and more visits on their site.
With the pandemic continuing into December and into 2021, small businesses must take advantage of the opportunities around them to stay in business in the coming months and years. The technology, the opportunity, the customers and the advisors are there for small business if they seek them out.