The aftermath of Covid-19 on the U.S. small business economy has yet to be accurately measured.
This is forcing many entrepreneurs to hunker down into survival, seeking to deploy the best marketing practices to stay afloat, and perhaps strategically pivot into a more lucrative model.
Sean Cotton is the president and co-founder of Coegi, His company has worked with more than 450 brands in creating streamlined digital marketing solutions. Coegi enables marketers to become digital heroes by empowering them with best-in-class strategies, technologies, and expertise through simplified partnerships.
Cotton, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri, where he teaches interactive and programmatic techniques to the next generation of marketers. Whether you're a digital venture or a brick-and-mortar, Coegi is ready to school businesses of any size and budget on how to leverage the effectiveness of digital marketing to reach their target customer, and do so on a budget.
But for those new to the world of digital marketing, Cotton says it is first very important to understand your overarching marketing objective: “Of course, the ultimate objective is more customers, but how will you achieve that? Is it through more foot traffic at your brick-and-mortar location, high-value web site visits, increased awareness of your product or service, or some form of lead such as a request for more information?”
Once you establish the key marketing objective, he says you should direct all of your marketing tactics to reach that goal, and the measurement strategy can be aligned to follow.
Here, Cotton lists the top 3 effective digital marketing tactics a local business should use during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1) Search Marketing Tactics: Optimize your website and local listings for search. Optimizing the website, initially, does not have to be expensive, but ensuring that your content speaks to the unique value of your product or service and highlights the local availability is important. Additionally, local listings are table stakes for successful local businesses to capture customers who are actively searching for their services. Identify the most valuable search terms for your business then secure paid listings for them at key times of the day.
2) Social Advertising: You can create a business personality for local customers through your social media presence. The granular targeting available for advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn enables local businesses to control their budget while still attaining reach to potential customers.
3) TV: With people spending more time at home due to the pandemic, TV consumption has increased, especially streaming TV, or Connected TV(CTV). While TV can often be expensive, CTV offers local advertisers the opportunity to use digital targeting across the big screen, Additionally new ways of TV buying are emerging that capitalize on in-market rates for unsold inventory.
In addition to the three proven tactics above Cotton says this is a time to get creative when trying to connect with their respective communities. For example, he encourages business owners to host webinars via Zoom or some other platform. “This gives local advertisers the means to connect in person with their customers, even when they can’t come to their actual place of business,” he says.
The marketing industry veteran predicts these steps will work for all types of businesses in the long term. “All of these tactics were effective before the pandemic; therefore post-Covid-19, those who have adopted them more fully will continue to see success.”
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