Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Amidst the 2019-2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, CDC guidelines are rapidly evolving, stay at home measures vary by state, and almost all businesses are impacted in some way. As a small and local Portland business, the Avenue team is constantly adjusting and refining our tactics internally. Virtually every business has a digital footprint of some sort, and it is important to be communicative, respectful and strategic in all external communications with these tools. To serve our clients, partners, and small businesses alike, we’ve put together a list of 6 recommendations that every website owner should consider in light of COVID-19.
1) Utilize Google My Business and social media
If you have a brick and mortar location, update your current store hours as well as any policies that have been implemented in accordance with state orders. Utilize the “From [Your Business]” section on Google My Business for any messaging that relates to COVID-19 updates. Proactive messaging will provide your audience with the reassurance that your business is prioritizing transparency and accountability.
2) Create a dedicated landing page with all COVID-19 info relating to your business
If your landing page is well optimized for SEO, this is a great tactic to ensure that anyone who may be organically searching for “[your business] covid-19” will be able to quickly find your response, rather than having to dig through your site. Ensure that your business name, “covid 19” and “coronavirus” are keywords utilized in the page title, meta description, and body copy of your landing page, and be sure to fill the page with valuable, real-time information.
3) Write a blog post ensuring your audience knows how your business is responding to COVID-19
This step is supplemental to step #2 as this information lives as a static update in the blog that can link to the COVID-19 landing page. It also allows the business the opportunity for more personal messaging, directly from the CEO or other leaders in your business. Ensure to link both pages to each other so they are easily located between the two and promote via email, social channels and personal outreach as needed.
4) Use the “Banner” feature on your website development platform
A banner can provide a quick link directly to your COVID-19 landing page from anywhere on your site. This will ensure that the most timely information gets to your website users quickly and with ease.
5) If your business is utilizing paid advertising such as Google Ads or Paid Social: consider updating messaging or temporarily pausing
Ensure all messaging is appropriate and strategic given the current climate. Take a look at any scheduled social media posts, digital advertising campaigns, website promotions, and automated emails and consider pausing or editing them, particularly those that may come across as promotional and self-serving.
Note: Facebook and Instagram have seen an approximate 40% increase in usage during this time, be sure to not leave your followers in the dark. With increased digital traffic, continue engaging and sharing valuable and worthwhile content tailored for your business’s response and audience.
6) Adjust your goals to fit the new climate
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost all industries in some way, as purchase behaviors changed seemingly overnight, and people are generally spending less on goods and services outside of necessities. Our strategies must adapt to the rapidly evolving behaviors we’re witnessing as a direct result of the pandemic. On Google Ads, for example, benchmarks for metrics like CTR and CPC have shifted depending on the industry. For some industries, you might be able to get a better bang for your buck. In others, now may be a good time to rethink your bidding strategy, downsize your budgets, or pause campaigns to wait for the market to stabilize.
Avenue is here to help
As rapidly as we've moved into the current landscape, we are continuing to help support our clients in thinking ahead about how to spin up digital and social media strategically and tactfully as we emerge from COVID-19. Although the "new normal" may be far from what we were used to before the COVID-19 pandemic (and we anticipate that the likely next phase will be a recession and post-recession reality), it is our responsibility as marketers to stay in tune with industry trends in insights in order to best serve our communities. Be on the lookout for more as Avenue keeps a close eye on what these changes mean for the industry, namely in SEO, Google Ads, paid media, and paid social advertising.