For many Americans, life under COVID-19 has started to feel normal–not exciting, but after more than two months, at least familiar. Lockdown is just about the only safe bet right now. For many businesses, all bets are off. Some companies are floundering, but some are growing, doing better than ever. There has never been a bigger test of your company’s resilience. At the core of this is marketing. Here’s a three-part checklist to audit your marketing strategy and stay as relevant–and resilient–as possible.
If there’s ever a time to have your ear to the ground, it’s now. Humans are surprising at best, and at times like these, entirely unpredictable. The more you can stay ahead of how people are reacting and adjust, the better.
Listen to customers. Not just your customers, everyone’s customers. Monitor the conversations happening on social media and see what people are talking about – you wouldn’t believe how tired people are of hearing “in these trying times.”
Listen to experts. There are plenty of people giving recommendations on how to react, respond, and move forward right now – start reading advice geared specifically for businesses during this time. Read case studies, news articles, and blogs specifically about marketing right now.
Listen to your competitors. Use tools like Buzzsumo to track what influencers and competitors are doing – and how their audience is responding. Finally, pay extra close attention to the reviews you’re getting from customers to see what they’re happy (or unhappy about).
Once you know what the conversation is like, it’s time to optimizem starting with your keywords. Everyone’s shopping and search habits have completely changed in the past few months, and you need to see if your keyword performance has changed along with it. Tools like Ahrefsand Semrushare your friends – what is getting you more traffic? Where are your competitors dominating? SEO will always be one of the biggest opportunities for growth.
There are plenty of ways to optimize your SEO. Internal website linking is the easiest place to start, along with checking the flow of navigation and loading speed. Conversion rates are heavily affected by how fast and easy it is for users to get where they’re trying to go – if it’s too hard or takes too long, they’ll abandon ship pretty quickly.
Make sure that you aren’t losing out on sales just because you have too many tabs and sub tabs, or you needed to switch web hosts months ago and haven’t gotten around to it.
Once that’s all good to go, it’s time for some external linking – expand your outreach to getting guest posts on other sites. This is the best way to build up your backlinks on other sites and improve your SEO. If you don’t already have one, start building up an outreach strategy: who are you going to reach out to? What topics are in your wheelhouse, and what articles are you going to pitch? Will you accept guest post exchanges? Figuring out your strategy first will help you execute much more effectively.
As the third and final step of your marketing strategy audit, ask yourself this: have you been relying on the same current strategy for too long? If you’re noticing a slip-up, now is the time to try something other than your weekly blog post or daily re-tweet.
Consider the newest platforms and strategies. A lot of businesses are using this time to start a podcast – could you add anything that would provide value and boost your business? What about video? New methods of communicating your ideas can reinvigorate your content and find your audience.
In addition to new methods, check out your social media channels. When was the last time you expanded to a new channel or gave up on an old one? This is the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate. Should you be on TikTok? Should you give up on Facebook? Is there one channel that is outperforming all the rest that you should double down on?
Social media channels are constantly evolving and changing, much faster than ever before. Channels that were white hot two years ago are suddenly abandoned (like Snapchat), and channels that didn’t exist one year ago are suddenly top of mind (like TikTok). Instagram has added buying features; the Facebook Marketplace is more robust than ever. If there was ever a time to explore your social media options, it’s now!
This is the perfect time to readjust your marketing strategy – things are changing all around us, and businesses must adapt. Whether you change your strategy short-term while the pandemic is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, or look at changing your strategy in the long term, it’s time.