As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, evidence shows that the virus has spread to even the furthest reaches of the Earth. In an effort to contain the disease, the majority of the world has implemented social distancing practices, effectively limiting the amount of contact people have with one another. In most areas, this involves stay at home orders as well as the shuttering of businesses of all types.
Unfortunately, small businesses around the world are experiencing a significant drop in sales as a result. Unless you have a business model that adapts easily to pivot to strategies like delivery or curbside service, you may be wondering how you can continue to increase your sales and engage with your customer base. During the COVID-19 pandemic, your digital presence is more important than ever.
Why Should You Cultivate a Strong Digital Presence?
In the wake of social distancing measures, people aren’t able to access businesses to shop for products and services as they normally would. In particular, small businesses without a large online presence have experienced a sharp drop in customer engagement. Why is it so important to invest in digital marketing now?
Consider these research-backed reasons you should be devoting attention to your digital presence during this pandemic:
- Increased internet usage. Internet traffic has spiked around the world as the result of social distancing requirements. In some places, overall web traffic has increased by over 40% as people strive to work, entertain themselves, and achieve the necessary activities of daily living from the confines of home. Employing a strong digital marketing strategy geared towards capturing the attention of these new users is an essential tool for increasing your current customer base during these times.
- Booming social media use. As web traffic continues to increase, it’s especially important to note just how people are utilizing their internet time. More than 62% of people say they are spending more time on YouTube and Facebook than ever before, with Instagram and Twitter hovering close behind. Capturing the attention of this built-in audience is a crucial key to maintaining customer engagement during COVID-19, and your digital marketing efforts should reflect this.
- Transforming shopping habits. In most areas, consumers are limited to in-person shopping for only the most essential products and services, including groceries, medications, hygiene products, and the like. However, online grocery store visits increased by over 146% between February and March of 2020, showing that consumers, at least, prefer to do their shopping online during the pandemic. If you offer a B2C or a B2B product or service, you’ll want to capture this surge of new shoppers looking to complete more of their business online.
- Rise of virtual events. As organizations worldwide continue to shift in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more of the world’s largest events are facing cancellation; among them are the 2020 Olympics, the 2020 NCAA winter and spring sports seasons, the South by Southwest conference, and many more. To prevent adding to the over $1 billion in losses caused by these cancellations, others have shifted focus online, hosting digital-only or virtual events aimed at providing a similar customer experience as their in-person events. No matter who you’re targeting, focusing on your digital presence through online marketing events could be your only chance to engage with new customers for the foreseeable future.
- Transition to virtual meetings. A few steps short of a virtual event – but just as important – are the virtual meetings, webinars, and other online interactions that have shown a sharp increase since the onset of the pandemic. Services like Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom, and others have experienced a 500% increase in demand during the outbreak as more people work from home. Whether you’re releasing information about your products and services via a virtual meeting or engaging in a targeted PPC campaign aimed at capturing online workers, the online face of your business should shift to capture the boom in this market.
- Increase in desktop searches. For years, the search engine powers that be have stressed the importance of optimizing your webpage for mobile searches, allowing you to capitalize on on-the-go consumers looking to access your brand in your brick and mortar location. With most people accessing the internet from home these days, even Microsoft reports that desktop searches are on the rise, highlighting the importance of increasing your online presence. Consumers want to access your brand in a way that allows them to engage with you 100% online, and your digital presence should reflect that.
Of course, the isolating impact of COVID-19 won’t last forever. However, marketing experts believe that the pandemic will continue to push consumers online long after its end. Even after the lingering effects die down, the digital age will continue to grow, and online marketing efforts you undertake now will have a long-lasting, positive effect on your customer engagement long into the foreseeable future.
Need more insight into how you can continue to grow your brand through COVID-19 and beyond? Imagine Monkey’s web design and targeted, local SEO services can help you optimize your digital presence and gain business during this crucial time. For more information about our offerings, call (949) 742-2156 or request a quote today.