As a full service marketing agency, we have provided clients with a wide range of services over the years ranging from graphic design to photography, web development to copywriting, SEO to PPC, social media to business development.
Typically we have seen a fair balance of demand between each of these services. Our past work has been a combination of traditional marketing – brochures and flyers, signage and event marketing – alongside a range of digital marketing projects too, from paid advertising to social media campaigns, for clients in a range of industries.
Since COVID-19 struck in 2020, we’ve noticed a dramatic shift in our clients’ attention towards their digital marketing strategy. Perhaps it is inevitable and unsurprising, given that during lockdown, the only outlet we had for communication and human contact was online. Our digital world became our only world.
E-commerce sites sky-rocketed in popularity, as we saw when we launched the BoxFood website and products were selling out on a daily basis within hours of being re-stocked. In 2019, Shopify announced that global B2C ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, and that was before the impact of COVID-19 was felt.
With more time away from the office and an increased focus on digital presence, businesses have had time to address their websites and online communication strategy, readdressing their understanding of successful lead generation within the ‘new normal’ post COVID-era.
We’ve also found an increased demand for paid advertising services – whether this is for pay-per-click advertising or YouTube advertising, LinkedIn ads or boosted Facebook posts. Businesses are now moving their event marketing budgets and traditional marketing budgets into the online sphere, recognising how fantastic paid advertising can be for demonstrating measurable marketing, valuable data insight and return on investment.
So why do we think digital marketing is crucial in the post-COVID ‘new normal’?
Increase your customer size safely
Unlike a physical store, a pandemic cannot shut down or restrict your ability to run your business online quite so easily – and nor can it limit the amount of people who can shop at any time. If you can run your business through your website in any way, even if it’s just to market yourself, you should seize the opportunity. There’s a huge audience out there waiting to find you. Many will prefer the safety it brings, without the need for masks or queues, and the risks of catching the Coronavirus while out.
The world wide web is a marketplace that is visible to an entire world of people, quite literally, at the click of a button. This means you’ve got millions of potential customers at your feet from all over the globe. This shouldn’t be taken as a given though; you still need to work for their attention and ensure your site is providing enough detail and opportunity to convince them to buy from you. This means addressing things such as your page loading speed. According to Portent research in 2019, the first 5 seconds (yep, you read that right!) have the highest impact on conversion rates. Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time. It’s critical that you get your website working effectively at a time when web browsing is at all-time highs.
Learn more about your customer base
PPC advertising allows you to learn what keywords your audience are using when searching for you. Without paid advertising, Google Analytics will simply use ‘not set’ for the keywords, meaning you can’t glean valuable data about your audience and lead generation strategy.
By having access to a list of search terms that your website users are using to land on your site, you can get a comprehensive understanding of how your business is being found, what people are specifically looking for, and which search terms are converting into paying leads.
This is particularly useful if you see a spike in sales, for example, due to a pandemic, as you can respond quickly and proactively, ensuring you understand exactly what it is that is driving this behaviour and can react accordingly. This will thus allow you to optimise your ability to sell more effectively.
Gain measurable data to grow your business
Every business right now needs sales. How can you increase your lead generation? By knowing more about your customers. How can you know more about your customers? Through having valuable data and insights. Therefore, following on from the point above, paid advertising is critical because it means you can get measurable data. With a leaflet that is posted through someone’s front door, for example, there are techniques you can utilise to try and track the success of this. For example, putting a discount code on the leaflet with a specific code to quote.
However, there’s no guarantee someone will use the code, or it will be passed on to someone else who didn’t get the leaflet, or it might be kept for months to come until used at a much later point. In simple terms, it’s not a simple marketing strategy to measure. However, with paid advertising, you get very clear and concise metrics that can be measured, analysed, tested and refined for optimal sales generation.
Customer behaviours are changing
Humanity is particularly special thanks to its ability to stretch and pull, change and morph, grow and develop, at all times – even when in danger – to evolve our species further than ever before. Needing to do things differently isn’t always a bad thing and is why so many lifechanging inventions have come about through history.
There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic will have led to customers changing their familiar patterns and behaviours, and businesses need to react accordingly. Customers will have got more used to shopping online, using their mobile phones and relying on voice-enabled devices while living and working from home more often.
In 2018, 65% of 25-49 year olds already spoke to their voice-enabled devices at least once a day according to PWC research. It was estimated by OC&C strategy consultants in 2017 that nearly £4 million in the UK would be spent through voice commerce by 2022. This will no doubt have been elevated even further thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic – just think where these statistics will actually be by the end of 2020. There’s no question that digital marketing will have just got 10 x more important and valuable.
Are you keen to develop new digital marketing strategies for your business in the post COVID-19 era? Get in touch with us at Aphra today on 01206 912914 or via e-mail [email protected]. As a digital marketing agency, with social media, SEO, PPC and web expertise in-house, we’re here to help!