Business owners are used to compromising and problem solving on the reg, but we can probably all agree that COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges. Over the last 7-8 months, businesses all over the country and across nearly every industry have been affected by the virus in many ways, from economic losses and disruptions in supply chains to the ongoing challenge of conducting operations mostly – and for some businesses completely – online.
According to Business Insider, more than 99% of all businesses are small businesses, and they employ about half the U.S. workforce. That’s a lot on the line! With no vaccine yet and “stay at home” orders still in effect in many states, the stakes remain high. So if you’re a small business owner who wants to not just survive, but potentially thrive and grow your company over the next year and beyond, you’ll need to adapt your business model and practices to fit with consumer behavior in this “new normal.”
For most businesses, it’s time to amplify your digital presence. Today’s consumers were already making most purchasing decisions online before the pandemic, but now some people rarely leave the house – which means businesses that depend on foot traffic and word of mouth are most in jeopardy.
Whether your business has had a digital marketing strategy for years or you’re unsure how to use online marketing effectively, it’s time to dial in because there are several reasons why the importance of digital marketing will only continue to grow during and after COVID-19.
People Are Spending More Time Online Than Ever Before
Many businesses have relied on traditional forms of marketing for years to broadcast their messages to a wide audience. But with people avoiding close contact while sheltering in place, most traditional marketing channels have a much smaller audience than they did pre-pandemic. Even the most eye-catching billboards (Hello, Kris Lindahl!) won’t be as effective when people aren’t leaving their homes very often.
Meanwhile, because they’re not leaving home as much, people are spending way more time online than ever before. Internet usage soared 25% within a few days in mid-March as the pandemic started forcing Americans into lockdown, a Wall Street Journal analysis found, and since then, we’ve been visiting websites, video chatting, streaming, video gaming, and connecting on social media in record-breaking numbers.
Investing in digital marketing – whether it’s online ads, social media, blogging, or all of the above – is a no-brainer when your target audience is spending a large amount of time every day online. (Learn about how much you should budget for digital marketing here.)
Events and Networking Have Moved Online
Hopefully, you didn’t already have tickets to see your favorite artist or sports team in 2020. Other than Sturgis, pretty much every big event was canceled, postponed, or moved online this year, from the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to South by Southwest. More than likely, your company has had to cancel or rethink an in-person event, trade show, or conference that you normally look forward to for growth.
Though it sucks not being able to connect in person right now, social distancing doesn’t have to be bad news for business when it comes to events. Many companies are finding new ways to network and bring people together online, and they’re promoting their events through various forms of digital marketing. Haven’t you noticed the uptick in posts, ads, and emails about Facebook Lives, Zoom classes, and other online events?!
Until in-person gatherings are safe to resume – and even after, because we could be permanently adjusting to a new way of life – event planners will need to invest more funds and resources into digital marketing strategies. When done correctly, digital marketing can actually make events easier!
People Use Social Media for Business and for Pleasure
More than half of the people on earth now use social media, Hootsuite says. And that number is still growing! People are also using a wider variety of social media platforms than ever before, with the latest data from GlobalWebIndex showing that the typical user belongs to almost nine different platforms.
It’s pretty obvious then why more and more companies are prioritizing social – it’s one of the best ways to reach your target audience! Sure, most people sign up for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social platforms looking to connect socially, but they also use social media to look up reviews, check out new products, and see how different brands interact with their followers.
More than ever, it’s important for your company to be active on at least one platform.
The Digital Economy Is Booming
Since the invention of the internet, e-commerce has grown exponentially, putting a strain on traditional brick-and-mortar stores. As we move forward and deal with the effects of COVID-19, the digital economy IS the economy. We don’t want to sound dramatic, so we’ll leave that to Axios, who’s calling the coronavirus a “retail apocalypse.”
“Because of the coronavirus and people's buying habits moving online, retail stores are closing everywhere – often for good,” Axios says. “A research report from UBS predicts that 100,000 brick-and-mortar U.S. retail stores will close by 2025, in a trend that started before the pandemic and has accelerated amid coronavirus-related shutdowns.”
If household names like Nordstrom, Bath & Body Works, Gap, and Zara are shuttering a large number of stores for good, we think it’s safe to say that online storefronts, websites, and social pages will continue to be the new way of life when it comes to shopping.
If you own an e-commerce business, you’re well aware that the quality of your website plays a pivotal role in your success. But even if you’re not selling products, you’ll need a great website and a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to ensure you’re reaching potential customers when they’re looking for brands like yours online.
Let's Revamp Your Digital Marketing Strategy!
Having a digital marketing strategy for your business has only grown in importance over the years as the online world grew. Now with the pandemic, the internet has become a lifeline for most businesses. If there ever was a time for your company to invest in digital marketing, it’s now.
At Triton Commerce, we take care of it all – web design, social media, SEO, online ads, and more! You name it, and our digital marketing specialists will take care of it for you. Talk to an expert and get a free proposal today!