Like every digital marketing agency around the world, Covid-19 seemed to sneak up on us out of nowhere at all. One minute, we were sitting in the office, discussing search engine rankings, content marketing and SEO results for clients, and the next we were all apart from one another waving tearfully from Zoom.
Working from home became the new reality, and there were a few weeks where clients had an understandably knee-jerk reaction, wanting to fully pause all digital activity across search engines and social media platforms.
It was not only understandable, but seemed the sensible thing to do as the world changed overnight. Digital marketing campaigns were thrown out the window and traditional marketers had an abyss open up beneath them.
In some cases, entire marketing departments were forced to rethink everything – from customer experiences to customer service and more. All of this was suddenly and fundamentally altered as no in-person experiences could take place.
Many of us remember these crazy times. Australia shut international borders to a couple of countries, and then suddenly all Australians abroad were scrambling for seats on increasingly limited planes.
Consumers flocked to supermarkets – who can forget the ? There was no long-term planning, but rather a sense of impending doom. , leaving retail and other service industry workers out of jobs and left to rely on Government payments.
Then, however, something else happened and a digital marketing strategy suddenly became as necessary for survival as baked beans, toilet paper, masks and hand sanitiser.
To businesses of all kinds that were previously reluctant to head online, the pandemic pretty much forced their hand.
Businesses wanted to save jobs, stay alive and continue selling their products or services. Very quickly, digital marketing channels became the way ahead. Many were quickly looking for ways to run their business model online or in a socially distanced way. The move online was already in process, of course, but the pandemic accelerated it wildly.
From restaurants who quickly set up delivery models, employing those who had lost their jobs as drivers to entire companies that moved meetings to Zoom and employees to their homes. The best place to reach potential customers was online.
That’s not to say it was easy – and many businesses and business owners say they were simply during the worst months of lockdown. In Victoria, the Australian state that experienced the longest and harshest restrictions, there are still real fears that many businesses have yet to experience the worst of it.
Of course, we are acutely aware that here in Australia, we are very much the lucky ones. The vaccine roll-out has begun in an orderly fashion, and the economy is performing better than many forecasted.
there are still valid concerns that this performance will be revealed as inflated. This is particularly acute for parts of the country which rely heavily on international tourism or sectors which need international students – like higher education.
. The shift online became necessary for initial survival – and it seems like it will be unlikely to reverse.
This is particularly apt because recent months have shown that there still remains a likelihood of further short and hard lockdowns as repatriation flights continue to introduce positive cases to Australian soil.
The odds of moving to a complete pre-pandemic ‘normal’ have been repeatedly recognised as impossible. The shift to more flexible working arrangements and the likelihood of much less international travel means businesses must focus their efforts in the digital sphere.
Brick-and-mortar companies that rely on foot traffic as their sole customer base are no longer viable options as
Similarly, as people spend more time at home, traditional marketing methods and forms of advertising alone will no longer provide as much return on investment as focusing on both would be. You need to be where your target audiences are – whether that’s digital channels or social media.
All good marketing teams would tell you that no matter what form of marketing you prefer, being visible across social media platforms and search is suddenly vital.
As well as an online presence itself, optimising for user experience alongside all other SEO techniques is vital. After all, people who are spending more time than ever before on the Internet will most definitely be inclined to purchase products or services on a site that is friendly and easy to use.
The same goes when optimising for mobile devices. We are all spending a lot of time on these little black boxes, and platforms like Facebook are making it easier to buy directly from them. Digital experiences, whether on mobile apps or browsers, need to be seamless.