Everyone’s talking about how weird these times are, so I’m not going to say it. I think you get it.
What you may not get, though, is how to quickly pivot your business model to accommodate these weird times.
Not only are in-person shopping methods changing, but how people act online is also shaking up. According to Harvard Business Review, e-commerce is facing more demand, consumers are spending more time on social media, and people are changing the way they pay to avoid contact with others.
In other words, consumers are adapting. Your business needs to adapt, too.
These five marketing channels — webinars, SEO, partnerships, affiliate marketing, and Facebook/Instagram ads — can help you reach your target audience even during a pandemic.
With so many people forced to stay home, it’s no wonder that webinars are getting more popular. They are also a great tool for growing your email list.
One of the great things about webinars is that they don’t have to be super polished. Especially if you run a very small business, people expect you to do webinars casually from your home. In the current climate, that works out perfectly.
These are the five stages of creating an effective webinar:
Just like any marketing campaign, you have to make a plan. What topic(s) will your webinar cover? What social channels will you use to market it? Will you spend some money on ads, or will you keep it organic? Make these decisions before you start telling your audience about it.
You have plenty of options for webinar software.
If you’ve never hosted a webinar before, review the process for the software you chose, most of them offer a free trial.
Create a signup page
Your next step is to create a webinar signup landing page. This is usually easy to do from the webinar software tool you select. Use a clear CTA inviting users to enter their emails to register for the webinar. It should also include the topic of the webinar, a short explanation of what participants will learn, and the date/time of the webinar.
Don’t forget to set up an automatic email trigger for the CTA. The email should thank the participant, reiterate the info on the signup page, and provide a link to the hosting platform. Also, use email to remind registrants to join the event on the day of.
Spreading the word
Brand your webinar and keep it consistent across all platforms. The title, topic, and imagery should have the same theme as your signup page.
To get the right people interested, start with organic platforms — send out emails to your email list, post in private Facebook groups, and highlight the webinar on the social accounts you usually use.
Webinars shouldn’t live in a vacuum. You’ve managed to capture an engaged audience with many possible leads — so keep them engaged! A great way to maintain that connection is with an email drip campaign.
Consumers will never stop searching for things online. Optimizing your website for search engines is always a valuable investment, and it’s definitely pandemic-proof.
Here’s are some tips for your SEO strategy.
Good SEO starts with good research. Use a reputable keyword research tool like GrowthBar to find keywords relevant to your niche.
GrowthBar can tell you how difficult it is to rank for a keyword with a simple Google Search. It can also generate keywords suggestions when you find a phrase you want to rank for. Some other tools to consider are SEMrush vs Moz but they can get much more expensive.
This kind of information is invaluable — it’s the base on which you can build an effective SEO strategy.
When researching, it’s also important to look at what competitors are doing. How are other sites ranking for the keywords you want? How can you do it better?
Spending some time reviewing your competitors’ pages can give you a lot of insight into what works and what doesn’t.
Start creating content on your site based on the keywords you want to rank for. Use the main phrase along with some latent semantic indexing terms (LSI) that relate to the keyword.
Avoid keyword stuffing, though. If Google (or Bing, or Yahoo) sees that you’re constantly throwing the keyword around, they’ll think you’re trying too hard.
That’s why it’s important to write SEO content naturally. Write as if you’re explaining it to someone in person, not like you’re trying to impress the listener with a specific phrase.
Static content eventually falls out of favor with search engines. It’s essential to update your blog posts and web pages with new information and links. Try to maintain a regular schedule of “watering” content with new info that can boost its performance.
You likely manage most business partnerships from a distance, anyway. Keep collaborating with businesses and influencers. Now is the time to experiment with collabs, create new content with partners, and even foster new connections. Try these three ways to enhance partnerships during the pandemic:
This is a simple way to show that you value your partners. Send them a short email to ask how their business is, see if there’s anything you can do to help, and explain any changes to your own business operations.
Switch up your usual content by trading with a business partner. It will put fresh ideas on your feed and reinforce the bond between your businesses.
Simple webcam videos are more popular now (partially because they’re the only videos people can make from home). Ask a partner in your niche if they’d like to create a video with you. You could also collab on a webinar!
Just like partnerships, most affiliate relationships are already managed online. Now is the perfect time to focus on affiliates since there are so many more consumers online.
Create new affiliate content
Say you already have five software reviews for your various affiliates. But things have changed. How do these tools hold up during a pandemic? Use a new angle to write about your affiliates.
Boost affiliate content you already have
Like I said, there are so many people online right now. Putting some money behind ads for your affiliate content (or even just putting it on the homepage of your site) can get you more traffic.
Writing a quick article about an affiliate and writing an optimized article about an affiliate are two very different things. Use your SEO strategies to give your writing a fighting chance of ranking for your affiliate’s keywords.
Although conversions are down, there are more eyes on social media than usual. Putting money behind ads optimized for leads instead of conversions can help you build your audience.
During this pandemic, focus on doing two things with your ads: empathize, and experiment.
Be sensitive with the content of the ads. You don’t want to seem like you’re an opportunist taking advantage of a bad situation.
Instead, empathize with your audience. Focus on using relatable content that’s true to your brand. Acknowledge the situation — everyone is stuck inside, people are facing health issues, and there’s an overall feeling of fear — but don’t dwell on it. Consumers are on social media for an escape right now, so you have to strike a balance.
Try optimizing the target audience for your ads in different ways. For example, you can optimize for LTV to get a high-value lookalike audience. Whichever method you try, remember that conversions are down right now, so it’s best to focus on leads.
You can also experiment with a little humor. I know, I know — I just told you to empathize with your audience. But there are plenty of people dealing with this pandemic through humor, and as long as you are sensitive about it, your ads might even benefit from a little sarcasm.
Other ideas for ad experiments include recording videos from home, sharing general information about caring for yourself during this time, and creating your own fundraising campaign for those affected by the virus. All of these show that your business cares.
These five marketing channels are the evergreen all-stars of online marketing. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, you can put them to work for you.
Suddenly shifting your marketing strategy can feel overwhelming. But we don’t have much of a choice right now. Even though the world feels like it stopped, your business has to keep going.
With webinars, SEO, partnerships, affiliate marketing, and Facebook/Instagram ads, your marketing strategy can keep on keeping on.