Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has created a landscape that no one could have predicted. Businesses of all kinds have had to adapt, embrace new practices, and change their techniques to retain customers and continue to thrive through one of the most difficult experiences we will have in our collective lifetime. With most people throughout the country spending almost all of their time at home for the first half of 2020 and beyond, digital marketing has served as a vital tool and will continue to do so as the months pass. Although we cannot predict the future beyond COVID-19, it is clear that digital marketing will continue to grow in importance as the way the United States functions continues to change. Keep reading to learn more about why the COVID-19 pandemic has made digital marketing more important than ever, and what business of all kinds should consider when thinking about digital marketing strategies moving forward. 

COVID-19’s Impact on Digital Marketing

Before diving into consumer behavior and marketing strategies that have proven to be essential during and after COVID-19, it is important to get a concrete idea of how the pandemic has impacted the actions of brands and companies when it comes to their digital marketing. Influencer Marketing Hub surveyed over 230 brands to see how they have coped with COVID-19. Some of the most significant takeaways include:

  • 65% of brands reported a decrease in revenue
  • 25% of brands plan to increase their marketing activities
  • 34% have shifted their social media marketing efforts from Instagram to Twitter (likely due to Twitter’s primary focus on news)
  • 74% of brands surveyed have slowed down their social posting
    • This may not be the best move – early estimates stated that media consumption was expected to increase by as much as 60% during the pandemic.

How Has Consumer Behavior Shifted Due to COVID-19?

In May 2020, Google released research that highlights five key trends that showcase how consumer behavior, interests, and actions have changed due to the pandemic. The main trends outlined in the report include:

  • Increase in content consumption on multiple devices
  • Increase in searches for critical information
  • Increase in the formation of “virtual relationships”
  • Growth in interest in “internet-first” routines (ex: altering regular activities to be conducted from home)
  • Higher focus on physical and psychological self-care

Every business has been affected by the pandemic in a different way, depending upon the business’ services, target audience, and other factors, but being aware of the ways that consumer behavior has shifted is crucial for formulating a digital marketing strategy for the rest of 2020 and beyond. 

Improving and Growing Your Online Presence

For businesses that did not have an optimized and regularly active online presence, the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a wake-up call to show just how important an online persona and digital marketing really is. The height of the pandemic saw very little in-store activity or opportunity for businesses throughout the United States and although businesses in many states are slowly beginning to open their doors again, activity is limited, making this the ideal time to continue reaching customers through digital channels, such as your website, Google My Business listing, and social media profiles. This is especially true for smaller businesses that may not already have a thorough digital marketing strategy in place. Small businesses who are offering delivery services and more to their customers should ensure that this is clear in every corner of their online presence, so customers can easily find updated information on services, operating hours, and more. 

Since customers have adopted new practices for engaging with their favorite stores, restaurants, and more, it is safe to assume that certain behaviors may stick over time, rather than serving as a short-lived trend. Ensuring that your online presence properly reflects the current status of your business is one of the best ways to promote continued engagement with your consumer base. 

Engaging with Customers at Home

Moving through the COVID-19 pandemic is more about adopting a new normal than expecting things to suddenly revert back to the way they were in 2019, so it is crucial for businesses to use digital marketing to engage with customers where many of them are still spending the majority of their time – at home. This can include informative (or even lighthearted) social media campaigns, informational videos, or even livestreams held through a business’ Instagram account or website to reach customers and re-establish the connection that is not currently possible in-person. Google’s recent report encourages businesses to clearly identify the audience they are aiming to reach, and then establish a connection with that specific audience rather than focusing on generalized digital marketing efforts. With customers now using multiple devices to spend time online, there are more ways than ever to engage with those who benefit your business the most. 

Refocusing Ad Goals and Targets

Digital ads are one of the many ways businesses draw in new customers, especially in 2020 when there is very limited in-person purchase activity. Businesses have needed to adapt their digital ads to the times, in order to get better results and focus on their most valuable customers, whether this means targeting new groups or changing traditional ad formats to focus on new offerings or updated services based on current needs. Google has offered a number of suggestions to help businesses improve their ad impact moving forward, including switching to bidding strategies that make conversions more cost-effective, adjusting audiences to prioritize those who are most likely to convert, adjusting ad scheduling based on business hours, and updating ad creatives to reflect business changes. 

Personalized Digital Marketing Services from Today’s Business

At Today’s Business, we have been working with clients in a variety of industries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, helping them gain and retain customers through personalized digital marketing strategies. We offer services geared towards Social Media Management, Affiliate Marketing, Website Development & Maintenance, Digital Advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and more. We have the expertise needed to move clients to the forefront of their industries even during the most unprecedented of times. Please contact us today to learn more about our digital marketing services and everything we can accomplish for your business.