For the last few months, for many, life has become about staying home, limiting travel, scrolling through social media and binge watching favorite shows. With millions of people looking for entertainment as well as shopping online due to COVID-19, total internet usage is up by 50 percent. With more consumers online (and more competition in some instances), it is important brands are seen and heard. To help, the GRIT team is offering tips and tricks small businesses can implement to improve their digital presence during and even after COVID-19.

Make Your Website A Priority

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, most brick and mortar businesses have seen a drastic decrease in foot traffic. In March alone, store visits were down 90 percent from the previous month. This change opened the eyes of many small business owners about the importance of having an online presence to continue making sales. Some organizations were able to quickly get online ordering and shopping up on their websites in response.

Now is a great time to review your current website strategy and determine how you can potentially conduct business and offer your services online. Review the platform the website is on and its capabilities and adjust where necessary. Although the site does not need to be complex, having an appealing homepage, strong keywords and a user-friendly ecommerce system are essential.

Remember to also review your website and clean up the content if necessary. Some items to consider include removing any events that were cancelled, updating information for any events that were rescheduled, removing products from the site that are sold out and closing any promotions that are no longer active or viable during this time.

Remember Keywords are Key

Not only does the design of a website play a vital role in online presence, but so does word choice. To improve a website’s digital presence, it is critical to incorporate trending keywords. Currently, in the midst of a global pandemic, terms such as COVID, coronavirus and lockdown rules have spiked in online searches. As news breaks and trends arise, remember to stay up-to-date on current search trends and keywords so you can adjust or add content to your website that incorporates these words.

Using these terms along with other keywords related to the industries the company serves in headings, throughout copy and in meta descriptions on the website will help boost the SEO score. Having a strong SEO score improves a brand’s visibility in search engines and improves organic search results. For more tips on SEO and updating your website content check out our 3 Tips for Updating Your Website Content blog!

Conquer Digital Communication

According to Campaign Monitor, more people are opening emails during the COVID-19 pandemic than ever before. In fact, between February and March, email open rates increased by 16 percent. This demonstrates that consumers want to hear how brands are responding to the crisis and what changes they are making to their business operations. It also shows email is still one of the best ways to reach consumers with messaging.

Although email open rates have increased and it may seem like the perfect time to send several emails to your consumers, it is important to think twice before hitting send. It is imperative the emails are insightful and give value to the receiver. When businesses send multiple emails that are not unique or covering topics important to the audience, they risk having individuals unsubscribe. As always, it is critical to monitor and then optimize emails. Test different layouts, send times and subject lines to see what the audience responds to best. Then, use this information to make changes moving forward to increase open and click through rates.

Stay Social on Social Media

Even though we are facing a global pandemic, it is important to not go silent on social media. Loyal consumers check social media accounts for the latest updates regarding business operations and hours and to stay connected virtually during this time. Although it is critical to be sensitive to the crisis, posting behind the scenes content of employees working from home, ways the business is helping fight the pandemic and even business updates will help increase the digital presence.

With over 70 percent of the U.S. online population on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, Facebook advertising is a great way to get in front of an audience. Using Facebook ads allows businesses to reach a diverse group of individuals at a low cost. To learn more about social media campaigns and advertisements, reach out today.

Update Google My Business

As stay at home orders are lifted and counties begin to move to different phases, consumers will search Google to determine which businesses are open and if they have special hours. Having a Google My Business account is essential to helping consumers find this information. Google My Business displays the phone number, address, hours, photos and even reviews. If a company already has a Google My Business account, update the information to reflect any changes in operation due to COVID-19 is critical (but also remember to change it back when normal operations resume). To learn more about Google My Business check out our blog!

We are here to help your business succeed during these unprecedented times! With experience in website design and development, social media marketing, crisis communications and branding, our team is ready to help get your brand recognized online. Connect with us today to learn how we can help!