How to Maintain Online Business Growth in Uncertain Times

The world seems to have come to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two-thirds of all Australian businesses reported negative impacts to cash flow due to the virus and two in five have needed to rethink how they deliver their services.

Between figuring out how to continue your business operations, securing applicable government assistance  and keeping tabs on the latest news, marketing may not be top of mind. In fact, it’s more important than ever to shift your focus and aim to strengthen your digital and content marketing efforts.

As restrictions tighten and mobility is limited, your regular advertising may no longer be relevant. With most transactions occurring online, your brand’s virtual visibility is key to maintaining the growth necessary to survive post-pandemic.

Here’s what you can do to improve your digital and content marketing and sustain growth online.

1.Refine your Digital Strategy

Evaluate your current marketing strategy. Identify which platforms you’ve established strategies for and whether you’ve applied best practices for each of them. Platforms will include your official website, social media platforms and industry-specific online platforms. If you regularly create reports on digital marketing performance you can use them to see what works for your business and what doesn’t.

Here are two things to keep in mind when realigning your online strategy:

  • Understand the impact of COVID-19 on your service delivery. If you can no longer promote the same delivery processes as before, for example you cannot serve food or coffee directly at a café, promote alternatives instead.
  • Adjust to your target audience’s new online habits. Your prospective customers may now be accessing your profiles differently. Double-check to see whether any specific pages have had a spike in views or whether the times customers are online or on social media have changed.

2.Create a Pool of Great-Looking Marketing Assets

Driving online growth needs strong marketing and that means that you need professional, trustworthy, brand-appropriate images. Whether your business has a casual, friendly vibe or a stoic, cool image, never underestimate the benefits of great visuals. In fact, 32% of marketers say that visuals are the most important form of content.

Creating and sharing high-quality visual content is one way to ensure marketing activities stay on track during this crisis. What makes good brand visuals? Easily shareable, emotionally impactful and simple images are best. Follow these research-backed tips from the Content Marketing Institute:

  • Customise images for each social media platform.
  • Create images that inform, not just promote. Informative images like data visualisations are three times more likely to get shared on social media than pure text.
  • Include clear calls-to-action in promotional posts.

Take the chance as well to invest in creative tools that allow both photo and video editing to spruce up your content.

3.Formulate a Content Plan

Even if business slows down, don’t choose to abandon your online platforms completely until the situation stabilises. Loyal customers want to stay in the loop and find ways to support you. Without great visuals, you also miss out on expanding your online audience to a wider demographic.

You don’t need to post content each day. Just be sure to keep a consistent schedule and create a content plan to match. You can use this to inform your audience about any changes to your business operations, such as whether you’ll be able to operate in another form, such as through delivery or e-commerce, and what products you’ll be carrying. Communicate empathy and your audience will give it to you in turn.

4.Improve your Work From Home productivity

Many entrepreneurs’ lives revolve around their business. If you already  work from home, you might find that you put in 60+ hour weeks. There’s a tendency to allow work to bleed into your personal life, especially if your work and home spaces aren’t physically separated. Not surprisingly, you will need to be fresh and well rested to work most efficiently and grow your business.

Follow these work-from-home tips to keep yourself productive and mentally healthy:

  • Keep a strict work schedule. Incorporate small breaks throughout the day.
  • Separate your work area from the rest of your home. This means no working in bed—you want to avoid blending work and relaxation.
  • Remember to socialise during work hours, whether on the phone, face-to-face with your roommates or by chat.
  • Use forms of communication other than e-mail.

COVID-19 has posed an unprecedented challenge to businesses but opportunities to grow still exist. What’s most important is to keep the business running and make bouncing back afterward swift and painless.

By Denise Langenegger