A quick spread of COVID-19 has disrupted economies around the world changing the way businesses reach and interact with customers.
As lockdowns are slowly lifted across multiple countries, business owners are discovering that things are not quite going back to normal.
In fact, there’s probably a new normal being created right now, the new way we are going to operate our businesses and do marketing from now on.
COVID Marketing Trends
Is your business ready for that new normal? Here are three key trends you can start adapting to today:
1. Comply with Tightening Safety Rules
Across the globe new workplace safety rules are being created to ensure no further spread of coronavirus.
Business owners are expected to comply with safety and health standards and regulations in order to be able to reopen their operations.
Lots of countries around the world have put together comprehensive safety guidelines for re-opening businesses to reopen, including:
- Interim guidance for businesses and employers by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States
- Risk mitigation tool for workplaces / businesses in Canada
- COVID-19: Back to the workplace: Adapting workplaces and protecting workers in the European Union
Guidelines vary slightly from country to country but the basic principles remain the same:
- You need to keep an eye on your employees’ health more than you ever did
- Your business operations should be adjusted so that person-to-person interactions can be avoided when possible
- When remote operations are not possible, you need to ensure that employees and / or customers are able to maintain proper social distancing
The good news is, you are not alone in figuring it out. Already there are platforms providing businesses with tools to easily integrate safety mechanisms in their operations.
Yelp is offering business reopening tools enabling local businesses to communicate updates and important safety information to customers.
The small business management platform vcita has developed a suite of products for businesses, both online and brick and mortar, to comply with safety guidelines. These include symptom questionnaires, health declaration checkbox, reservation management, touchless transactions, and more. The new scheduling tools vcita added make sure that the capacity of customers is limited based on the new health restrictions, so that your business is never overbooked.
2. Make Your Products Available Everywhere
COVID-19 has accelerated digitization of global businesses across lots of niches. Online shopping has grown at an unprecedented rate, and there is a good reason that it is here to stay, even when the crisis is over.
And it is not just about making your products available through a web browser. Online shopping behavior is becoming more diverse.
Spending more time and home and even working from there, consumers are forced to discover new shopping channels, including product comparison apps, voice-assisted devices, etc.
This may actually be good news for most businesses, as more channels means more opportunities to diversify your customer acquisition sources. Here are a few steps in that direction:
- Think “mobile first”: This includes having a mobile-friendly website as well as creating more mobile assets to better serve customers. These include mobile apps, in-game mobile marketing, location-based mobile ads, SMS marketing, mobile-focused CTAs, etc. For example, Nike’s digital sales in China increased by 30% after the company launched home workouts via its mobile app
- Have your products listed in Google’s shopping actions, Google’s platform bringing your products in front of shoppers across multiple platforms, including smartphones, voice-activated devices, Google search and more. As shopping becomes increasingly automated, smaller retailers risk getting cut out as bigger brands go directly to consumers. IoT commerce may eliminate the consideration/research phrase for consumers completely making it next to impossible to compete with “default” choice. Google’s project is a solid way for smaller businesses to provide consistent cross-device shopping experience.
3. Make Your Products Findable and Shoppable by Voice
COVID-19 has been speeding up the adoption of variou technologies, including smart voice assistant usage and consequently voice search. Tom Taylor, senior vice president of the Amazon Alexa unit, has shared that they have seen a huge spike in users of voice commands.
If your site and/or products cannot be discovered by search, you are missing out on a huge market share which has been increasing for several months and shows no signs of shrinking.
To make sure your business is findable by voice, here are a few voice optimization tactics:
- Since most voice search users are searching for local-based queries, get your local listing in order, i.e. keep it clean and updated. Monitor media and reviews that are being added by your consumer.
- Optimize for non-branded queries: Over two third of impressions on local searches come from “discovery” or non-branded searches
- Optimize your site for featured snippets as these are what smart assistants will often read in response to a voice search query:
- Embrace good old long tail search: Optimize for long-tail queries because they are more likely to trigger featured snippets
- Add product Q&A and FAQ sections to have your product pages appear in Google Also Ask and Featured boxes
- Participate in Google’s projects like Google Speakable that allow you to record an audio version of your content for Google to give voice-assisted searchers to get more detailed results.
- Focus on intent optimization: Voice searchers are usually on the go or in the middle of the task. Unless you give them immediately what they came for, they are likely to move on to a more fitting result. Text Optimizer breaks down what search intent is and help you create a better-optimized copy that prioritizes search intent over keywords:
It is a most challenging time for all kinds of business, regardless of size, type or nature of operations. The future is still uncertain, and as smart business owners we have to be prepared for the worst.
Digitalization and embracing new technologies will help your business survive, so use the trends and tactics above to give your company a competitive edge and survive during times of uncertainty.