In the midst of a global pandemic, it is an uncertain time for many businesses. That’s why a crisis response plan that includes your digital marketing is more important than ever. Putting an adaptive digital strategy in place to respond to the changing environment can help safeguard your business. So, we’ve gathered together our expertise across analytics, SEO, content, and paid media to provide simple tips and advice to action during the COVID-19 disruption.

Use analytics to understand user behaviour during the crisis

  • Understand what content people are interested in or trying to find.
    • Use Google Analytics to look at the pages that are spiking in views compared to normal days/weeks.
    • If your website allows internal search, review this list of search terms to gain insight into what your website visitors are thinking.
    • Follow up by creating clearly signposted content, whether static information pages or blog posts that address these questions.
  • Use form tracking and form validation errors (if implemented) to identify issues with customers getting in touch with you – people will be most frustrated if they are trying to contact you and the contact form doesn't work properly!
    • Look at the completion rate from viewing forms to submitting them.
    • Break down these completion rates by device/browser to identify potential issues.
    • If any issues are identified, do usability testing, whether by yourself or using usability services/tools such as SessionCam.
  • Identify what social platforms people are using and talk to them there. A lot of people in a crisis will be talking on social media.
    • Look at your traffic sources for a spike in traffic from a social media network or any referring website.
    • Once you have this information, get on those social platforms to communicate directly with your customers.
    • The earlier you can get in the conversation and to learn people's concerns, the better.

Perform SEO-led content analysis and ideation

  • Google Search Console (GSC) provides a large sample set of queries users are asking to either find your website or others. This data can be harvested and segmented via categories (Coronavirus for example) to understand the content driving clicks and impressions.
  • Use this data to help drive content creation ensuring that the content on the website matches users' intent. For example, during a crisis, users want to know what you’re doing as a business and how it will affect their relationship with you. What measures are you taking to stay safe? How are your services affected? Communication is key, and creating dedicated content to answer these questions and queries should be a core consideration.
  • This method of content analysis can be used to solidify brand messaging. For example, segmenting by ‘query contains’ brand name + disaster name we can understand the information that users expect to find around the brand, and can, therefore, create content to satisfy this need.

Check out the competition

Using a tool such as our in-house tool, Ayima ART, it’s possible to use market intelligence reports to understand which competitors own organic space for a selection of pre-determined keywords. Keywords that have been previously identified using GSC can be input into the ART to understand where your brand sits in terms of market position against competitors. This data can then be used to lead competitor insights to identify:

  • Content gaps between competitors and your brand.
  • Structural examples - are competitors presenting content in a more useful way?
  • Website hierarchy and structure.

Don’t forget technical support

While the creation of content around an event and/or disaster is important, that is not where SEO support should end. There are a number of SEO practices that should be involved in this process to enable content to be as ’search-friendly’ as possible, these include:

  • Schema implementation.
  • Content structure (to enable SERP features such as quick answers).
  • Internal linking recommendations to ensure the content is discoverable for users and search engines.
  • Reporting and continued analysis.

Stay up-to-date

When it comes to paid media, it is vital to monitor trends during this period as user behaviour is changing rapidly and could continue to do so.

  • Keep an eye on your bids and how they are changing, and make adjustments where needed to account for these changes.
  • If you are selling products that are in extreme demand at the moment, such as cleaning products, ensure your stock information is up to date so that you don’t risk people trying to purchase items that have sold out.

Focus on your primary campaigns if others are being affected

In cases such as brick-and-mortar businesses, it may be best to adjust your paid media strategy by reducing spend on some of your non-essential campaigns and rather focus on branded terms to continue to drive high-quality traffic. However, as always, it is entirely dependent on the business and vertical.

Top tip: If you are running paid campaigns, be sure not to make any claims about curing, preventing, or treating COVID-19 as Google and Facebook are blocking ads intended to exploit the current situation!

People are at home on their computers, speak to them!

In terms of ecommerce, you may have already seen a lot of sales and offers popping up online. For people with disposable income, now is a great time to shop online as people have the time to browse and will be at home to receive deliveries. A sale promotion could be a great way to boost purchase volume during this time where it might have otherwise dipped.

Think ahead

For the travel and tourism industry, while things might look bleak at the moment it is expected that there will be a big bounce back in the coming months. It’s important to anticipate this, and so now is a great time to focus more on longer-term brand-building and lead generation. This will ensure that your brand is front of mind when the time comes to customers booking holidays and travel again. Capturing leads now will enable you to speak to potential customers when the time is right – setting yourself up for success post-Covid-19.

Business-to-Business

While many offices and businesses are closed, there is still a need for products and services. This might not look like business as usual but rather than shut up shop, consider what activity you can still effectively run. All the above advice is just as relevant for B2B brands as it is for B2C.

We hope you found these top tips and advice useful. If you have any questions or would like to chat with us about how we could help, do get in touch.

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