COVID-19 has forced a lot of companies to temporarily put their core marketing initiatives on the back-burner. However, the beauty of digital marketing is that it can still reach consumers with powerful advertising despite "stay at home" orders, business restrictions and changed buyer attitudes.Of course, paid search advertising is a big part of this. It's important to remember that even if your company can't connect with its consumer base like it used to (at least not yet), those consumers are still surfing the Internet, still scrolling through social media feeds and still searching Google from home. In other words, you still have opportunities to engage with your prospects, turn them into leads and eventually convert them into customers.
Now that you may have a lot more downtime on your hands, don't sit idle! Use this time to work on your to-do list for digital marketing along with your team of specialists. Perform an SEO audit on your website. Offer special promotions to your customers. Review your Google My Business listing for outdated information, photos, business hours, and so on, and then update as needed. And while you are doing all that, invest in your paid search initiatives.
Put Together a Paid Search Strategy
Start with the broad strokes. If you don't have an overarching strategy in place, now is the time to develop one. If you do, now is the time to review and refine it.
Do you have a paid search "footprint" on Google? In other words, have you carved out a niche for your company that allows for paid search advertising to a specific audience or demographic? If you don't already have a paid search account set up, seize this opportunity to do so. Ensure that your strategy revolves around your company's unique selling proposition (USP) — that is, how your business will benefit your target customers, especially in comparison to your competitors.
Of course, you need to ensure that your marketing messages contain an appropriate amount of empathy, considering the tough circumstances in which many of your consumers are finding themselves. "Read the room" by continuously reviewing and refining your approach. Strive for a balance between pushiness and restraint: you want to highlight your product without being over the top.
In addition, always strive for relevance. You'll need a strong keyword strategy to capture search traffic with the highest potential value to your company. Don't forget to branch out with synonyms and latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords to optimize the punch of your paid search. For instance, imagine that you ran a soft drink company. Would your audience also refer to "soda" as "pop" or "coke," and would there be adjacent words in a common search phrase, like "can," "liter," or "bottle?"
Evaluate Your Paid Search Efforts
If you already have a paid search strategy in place, when is the last time you did a comprehensive performance evaluation? Is your current strategy still meeting KPIs? You may not need to start from scratch, but perhaps it's time to tweak some techniques and tactics as you keep one eye toward a post-COVID world.
How can you optimize your efforts now without a complete renovation of your strategy? Each business is unique; however, here are a few suggestions that you may want to consider:
- Audit your ad schedules, and adjust the timing and/or the order of releases according to current projections
- Review your ad copy, and double check that your messaging won't come across as insensitive or uncaring
- Check your bidding strategies, and adjust them to focus on the highest performing keywords since COVID-19 broke out
It's true that there are a lot of moving parts to any decent paid search strategy. Fortunately, there is also help available to steer you in the right direction. Check out our Inbound Marketing 101 Guide to get ideas for your next steps, or reach out to schedule a free marketing consultation with our President.