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Covid-19 and the organic marketing opportunity

The Drum 27 Apr 2020 09:30
By Heather Morris-27 April 2020 10:30am

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Covid-19 and the organic marketing opportunity

In recent weeks, we have all felt the impact of the global pandemic encroaching on both our personal and professional lives. With extensive measures being taken across the globe to enforce social distancing, we are all acclimatising to the new ways of working.

With many marketing budgets under pressure, the challenge is to adapt both paid and organic activity to drive efficiencies that will allow businesses to maximise their potential during the coming weeks and months. In this article, we take a look at some of the steps marketers can consider in relation to their organic marketing activity in particular.

We are seeing a predictable knock-on effect of the social distancing measures on consumer behaviour, with media consumption increasing across all in-home channels, including web browsing (+70% over normal usage rates), traditional TV viewing (+63%), and social media engagement (+61%).

The opportunity

From our observations where we know clients have logistical challenges - from distribution and fulfillment to delivery - rather than focusing on increasing demand, instead this time could prove vital for investing in the backbone of a business’ online footprint - their organic presence.

We know that, traditionally, SEO and content changes take around 2-3 months for their impact to be felt. There is no time like the present to review your investment in these channels, particularly if you are scaling back biddable media budgets in the short term. Whilst you may not see a return immediately, when you do, it will continue long after your initial investment.

Produce content

Now may also be a good opportunity to thoroughly audit any upcoming campaigns you had planned in. If they’re not completely suitable in the current climate - be it the content or the timing - then think about whether they can be re-purposed or tweaked in any way so that it is more mindful of the present discourse.

Speaking of competitors…

You must have wondered what drives your competitor’s success, but have you ever properly researched it? Taking a deep dive into the whats, hows, and whys can provide valuable answers and may uncover tactics you hadn’t previously considered.

Overall this should feed into your strategy for keyword targeting, content development and link building, to name but a few, with the end goal of improving your rankings, traffic and conversions to help you compete more effectively.

First things first - if you have an official policy on Covid-19 activity, or your company has changed the way it is doing business - publish it on the site and ensure it’s clearly visible from the homepage to make your visitors aware. How brands respond to this crisis will influence consumer attitudes - 64% of respondents to a recent Edelman survey said that a brand’s response to the crisis will affect their decision about whether or not to purchase form them in the future.

Maintaining your online presence right now is important, as outdated or incorrect information may confuse consumers and damage brand reputation. Here are a few easy examples:

● Update your opening hours on any citation listings you have such as Google My Business (GMB), Apple Maps or TripAdvisor. Now might also be a good time to take advantage of GMB’s Posts feature to push carefully selected content to consumers through your listing in SERPs.

From the Edelman, Special Report: Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic report: “Around two-thirds (64%) of UK respondents say that how well a company responds to the coronavirus crisis will have a huge impact on their likelihood of buying from it in future.”

If you have any technical projects that have been put squarely on the back burner for a rainy day - now is the time to do them. Traffic to sites is low in many industries, which reduces the risk of losing users when making such changes - perhaps in the event of broken redirects following a migration, for example.

Conduct a full technical audit to assess the health of your site’s technical SEO and start working on the areas that will bring the biggest improvements. These may include internal redirect chains, problems with XML sitemaps, URL normalisation and Page Title optimisation.

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