12 Online Marketing Tips for the Coronavirus Economy

As it becomes increasingly clear that the global coronavirus pandemic is likely to linger for several months (and possibly longer), topics like web design and online marketing might be the furthest things from your mind. However, this global health crisis is also putting the business world in a pinch. The companies that fail to adjust their strategies today are going to be hurting tomorrow—if they don’t disappear altogether.

So, while you shouldn’t spend all your time thinking about your website, it’s a good idea to explore some options to keep your business running in the coming months. And, with opportunities for meetings, conferences, and even simple one-on-one interactions being limited, the internet unquestionably is your strongest remaining sales and marketing tool.

With that in mind, let’s look at a dozen ways you can use digital strategies to keep moving ahead in the coronavirus economy…

#1 Adjust Products, Services, and Pricing

Most economists expect that current conditions will lead us into some sort of recession, at least in the short-term. At the same time, many of your customers or clients are probably feeling uncertain about their futures.

Knowing that, you might want to adjust your product and service offerings to fit the current times. Shorter contracts, flexible orders, and low-cost solutions might all be in steady demand. This will vary from market to market, of course, but your goal should be to give your buyers what they want. Now is the time to look ahead and adjust your website and social messaging accordingly.

#2 Install or Upgrade Website Ecommerce Features as Needed

Health officials are advising against unnecessary trips to the store, and particularly to crowded spaces. That means fewer shoppers and a big hit to retailers everywhere as customers either put off purchases or order online.

Depending on the products and services you sell, this might be the perfect time to improve your eCommerce game. Just because buyers can’t come see you in-person doesn’t mean they won’t want to order. Consider setting up faster shipping, online purchasing discounts, or even carryout-style service for those who are trying to practice social distancing. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to keep buying from you.

#3 Add Online Demonstrations to Your Website

Boosting online orders can be difficult if you are used to closing sales based on the strength of live presentations. One way to overcome this challenge is to film yourself (or salesperson) giving a great demo and then putting it on your website.

This might not be quite as effective as letting a customer try out a product themselves, it can go a long way towards answering the questions they have on their minds that would otherwise stop them from finalizing a purchase. And, shooting, editing, and posting online demos is easy. You can even make customized clips for special clients or individual buyer types.

#4 Increase Customer Engagement With Online Chats

The one thing that’s normally missing from eCommerce is the ability to ask good questions or get personalized advice like you would from a live salesperson or business owner. You can solve that issue and make the buying process more seamless by implementing online chat tools.

You’ve undoubtedly seen in use these already, but you might not realize just how valuable they can be. Not only can you use them to let buyers know when you are or aren’t at your desk, but you can even program automated responses to simple questions. If you want to boost online sales and conversions, integrated chat software could be the perfect solution.

#5 Improve Your Hosting and Web Security

Given that your website is about to get a lot more traffic and become an even bigger part of your sales and marketing plan, it makes sense to upgrade your hosting and cybersecurity plans.

Better hosting make your pages faster and more reliable. Improved backups, encryption, and monitoring all make it harder for online thieves to break into your site and get access to data they should. These are smart upgrades in any economy, but will likely prove to be especially crucial during the coronavirus outbreak.

#6 Fire Up the Home Office

The realities of social distancing mean that up to half of all Americans are going to be working from home for at least the next few months. Contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t necessarily need to involve a loss of productivity.

Besides setting a firm schedule and minimizing distractions, you can get more from your work-at-home time by utilizing remote access software such as TeamViewer and group chat services such as Slack. These tools let you tap into desktops and workstations from anywhere. That way you and your team never have to worry about missing out on important files or applications.

#7 Embrace Virtual Meetings and Conferences

At the time of this writing, thousands of local, national, and international meetings and conferences have been canceled in a period of 10 days. It’s uncertain when these activities will resume, but the smart money suggests it won’t be for many months.

If your business or industry is dependent on these types of sales interactions, then it’s up to you to replace them. That’s where online meetings, videoconferences, and online presentations come into play. With the right software, some good microphones, and nice lighting in a conference room you can host all kinds of virtual events. They might not be as effective as face-to-face interactions, but you can still use them to maintain relationships and close deals.

#8 Review Your Spending on Digital Ads

When times are good, you may be able to get away with setting your pay-per-click ads and forgetting about them. For the next few months, though, you would do well to keep a close eye on your spending and ROI.

It’s a virtual certainty that buying patterns are going to change in a lot of markets and industries. And at the same time, the potential for recession could cause the returns for certain types of campaigns to diminish. You’ll want to save every penny you can, so don’t waste any of your marketing budget on underperforming online ads that can be turned on later.

#9 Stay Ahead of Supply Chains and Schedules

Some businesses are already feeling the pinch in terms of incoming inventory, particularly if it arrives from China. Whether yours is one of them or not, it’s important to update your website as details change. The last thing you want is to make a bad situation worse by taking orders that can’t be fulfilled in a timely way.

The same goes for working schedules. You and your employees might be forced to miss time because of illness or a need to care for others in the household. Take advantage of file-sharing apps, slack chats, and other tools for work-at-home opportunities. And, be careful not to offer customers deadlines that can’t be met.

#10 Use Email to Keep in Regular Contact With Customers and Partners

Email marketing is always a crucial part of the online marketing mix, but in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s an important lifeline to your customer base. Let them know how you’re doing, offer helpful tips, and alert them to any opportunities or disruptions.

Email is fast, affordable, and targeted. Use it as your primary means of communication when you need buyers, vendors, or the general public to be alerted to changes in schedule, policy, pricing, etc. and you can avoid the kind of uncertainty that might otherwise hurt your sales and marketing efforts.

#11 Maintain a Strong Social Footprint 

While email might serve as your primary means of communicating directly with individuals, this is a great time to keep your company active on social media. Not only is it completely free, but your profiles can be used to state in front of the public at a moment when they might not be hearing from your competitors.

Feel free to share tips, success stories, and personal anecdotes. Don’t forget that you can lift spirits (and help your brand) by posting positive messages and updates from time to time, too.

#12 Don’t Overcommit to Plans or Campaigns

Our final note of caution: preparation has to do with the unknown future. Events are unfolding incredibly quickly, especially when you consider that few could have anticipated exactly how sharply life and business would change in the matter of a few short weeks.

Keep that in mind as you think ahead to future plans and tactics. Until the economy stabilizes and it’s easier to see what medium or long-term outcomes will look like, you don’t want to make big decisions or investments. Your main goal for the next two months should be to look after your loved ones and keep your company moving in the right direction. If you manage that, you’ll have done enough to make bigger plans later.

Need Help Formulating Your Company’s Game Plan?

With new developments and information coming so quickly, it’s easy for business owners and executives to get overwhelmed with the confusion surrounding the current pandemic. This is no time to panic or take your eye off the ball, however. The future of your business – and the well-being of your customers, employees, and vendors—is on the line.

COVID-19 Email Scams

During this rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, when we should be coming together as a people, others have decided to use people’s fear for their malicious benefit.

There have been clickbait emails circulating. Clickbait is designed to attract your attention and entice you to click on a false link which is very deceptive. Some emails are disguised as coming from WHO, World Health Organization, and the CDC, Center for Disease Control. Others emails are promising vaccines, the cure, and securing donations.

You can take these measures to protect yourself and your emails from being hacked.

  1. Mouse over any links being sent to you and see if you are being directed to a non-credible website. 
  2. Check the email for any typos or spelling errors.
  3. Act as if you are going to reply to the email. Notice that the reply-to email address may not be from who you thought was the original sender. This is a good practice for testing if a suspicious email is really spam or legitimately from someone you know.
  4. Don’t open attachments. The attachment may contain malware.
  5. Use your auto-updates. This will ensure that your mobile, tablet, and desktop have the up-to-date antivirus software.
  6. And of course the safest action to take is to simply delete the email.

5 Reasons Not to Move Your Website to a DIY Template

You’ve seen the ads on TV and online that promise that you can create a brand-new website in under an hour for one amazingly low monthly fee. Sounds like a great way to upgrade your business web presence, doesn’t it? Sign up to make your own DIY templated website and visitors will instantly come to your website. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

Unfortunately, the bargain probably isn’t all it’s promised up to be.

Don’t get us wrong: DIY website templates certainly have their place. If you are a solo-preneur or the owner of a startup with no budget, then crafting your DIY website is better than not having one. However, if you have an established company, or want to build one, then these services aren’t going to be a good solution.

To help you understand why their low fees for web design and hosting don’t translate into real value, let’s look at five reasons you shouldn’t move your website to a DIY template…

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Should You be Worried About WordPress Security?

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system, with an estimated 172 million websites running on the platform. It’s not hard to see why web designers, business owners, and marketers love it so much—it’s free, flexible, and perfect for promoting content through Google. And, with tens of thousands of plugins available for customization, you can use WordPress to build virtually any kind of web presence you need.

However, that popularity and versatility also come with a small downside: hackers often target WordPress. The sheer number of companies using WordPress encourages them to look for weaknesses that can be exploited again and again.

Does that mean you should be worried about WordPress security? The best answer is probably a mixture of “yes” and “no.” On one hand, you should definitely be thinking about ways to keep your website safe. But on the other hand, it doesn’t mean you have to continually fret over the idea that thieves are going to steal data, mess with your pages, or install malicious software.

If our double-sided answer seems a little confusing, let us explain… Continue reading “Should You be Worried About WordPress Security?”

The 7 Things Your Business Website Needs to Make Clear

When designing a website, or putting content together, it can be easy to lose the forest for the trees. There are so many apps, design features, and new technologies available to today’s business owners and web designers that they sometimes lose sight of what they really need to accomplish.

Numerous studies have shown that you only have about three seconds or less to impress a first-time visitor to your website. Many of those in our industry point to that figure and remind clients they need to upgrade their web hosting for faster page delivery. That’s a good suggestion, but clarity matters just as much as speed. In other words, your website needs to get certain ideas across to potential customers very quickly.

Which facts or ideas do they need the most? Let’s look at seven things your business website needs to make crystal clear…

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Are You Following an Old Approach to SEO?

Most business owners understand how important search engine optimization (or SEO) is to generating leads and sales from a website. Unfortunately, many are following old tips and best practices that no longer do them much good.

These include stuffing keywords on pages, buying junk links from overseas vendors, and using awkward phrases in marketing copy as a way to draw attention from search spiders. Not only are these techniques outdated, but they can actually work against you and keep customers away from your website, because Google will see them and consider your website to be a low-quality result.

If you worry that you might be following an approach to SEO that no longer works, here are a few things you should know going into 2019…

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The Biggest Trend Driving Online Marketing in 2019 and Beyond

This is the time of year when business owners (not to mention those of us in the web design community) naturally tend to look ahead and think about what a new year might mean for the world of online marketing. That’s certainly the case now, as we are fielding more questions than ever about what to expect in 2019.

There are never certain answers to these questions, of course, simply because technology moves quickly and no one can predict the future. However, from our point of view it’s easy to see that the biggest trend to pay attention to is the one that is already taking place right in front of our very eyes. In fact, it’s so significant that it’s easy to take the associated changes for granted.

We are talking, in this case, about the shift towards mobile web usage.

No matter where you look people are on their phones and tablets. Statistics back up what our eyes see, with mobile web usage approaching 60% of all Internet traffic in 2018. There’s no reason to think mobile web users won’t make up and even bigger percentage of the online market in coming years.

Smart marketers are taking big steps to adjust. Here are some of the tools we are using to help our clients to be ready for the continued growth of mobile computing in 2019 and beyond…

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How to Write Web Content Like a Pro

Given the choice, nearly any business owner or marketer would prefer to have a professional copywriter craft their web content rather than spending hours and hours on the job themselves. However, not every client who needs web design has the budget for a good writer, and in some industries the huge amount of insider knowledge involved in crafting informative pages makes it faster to write than it would be to bring an outsider up to speed.

If you find yourself in either category it doesn’t mean you have to give up on having great web content. You just need to approach the project the same way a professional would. We talked with an experienced web content writer who has written hundreds of across many industries. Here was his advice…

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How to Make Complex Website Development Projects Simpler

Taking on complex web development projects—websites with hundreds of pages, unique apps, and digitized content—can be daunting. Not only are there the normal technical and creative aspects to get past, but the sheer volume of the work can present logistical challenges. Additionally, big web design jobs usually have multiple personalities involved at the decision-making level.

Given all of these factors, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot of complex web development jobs tend to take longer than expected and go well beyond their initial budgets.

That certainly doesn’t have to be the case, though. Today, we want to outline a handful of steps you can take—in conjunction with your web design and development partner—to make complex web design projects simpler, smoother, and more efficient…

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How to Get Your 2019 Marketing Off to a Hot Start

Did you make big plans for your 2018 marketing, and feel like the year got away from you? Are you tired of watching your competitors get more search engine visits or social media engagement?

Successful digital strategies are planned in advance and executed with precision to generate new revenue. If you are ready to make 2019 your best year, here is what you can do to get off to a hot start in January.

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