Shutdown Looming? How To Do Digital Marketing Right During Shelter-in-Place

COVID-19 has transformed the way Americans do business. No matter what trajectory the pandemic takes from here, many of those changes will have repercussions for years to come.

At New York Ave, we’ve had the opportunity to help business owners navigate uncertainty. A managed digital communications strategy is an indispensable asset for local companies: It equips them to stay in touch with their customers and share important information that keeps relationships going.
If your community had a shelter-in-place order or may face one soon, it’s crucial to prepare your business. By communicating with your customer base in real time as changes occur in your operations, you encourage return business and reduce the confusion that can be created by government orders.

Staying In Touch With Your Customers Through Digital Technology
Your website gives you plenty of opportunities for fast, responsive communication.
If you haven’t already, now is a good time to update your website with COVID-related changes, including any adjustments in procedures and hours. It’s especially vital for restaurants, who need diners in their area to know if they are available for curbside pick-up, takeout, or table service.

If you have a company profile on Facebook or Twitter, social media can be one of your most powerful tools at a time like this. Watch your posts for questions from your customers and respond as soon as you can. Use hashtags related to your local area to raise visibility and let people know you are still in business.

Do you use email marketing? Your subscriber list gives you opportunities to connect with your most motivated supporters. Maintaining a regular email newsletter will help you stoke customer interest and launch timely messaging.

As a rule, keep going with digital marketing that focuses on organic search and managing your local reputation, even in shelter-in-place. If you use pay-per-click online advertising, however, it’s time to take a second look to decide whether it’s providing the ROI you want under these new circumstances.

Update Your Google My Business Page To Improve Local Visibility
Today, sharing accurate information with your customers isn’t just part of a marketing strategy – it’s a matter of safety. Local brands should update their free Google My Business entry to provide insights at a glance about how COVID-19 is affecting their work.

In September, Google My Business rolled out special safety attributes for food, retail, and service businesses.

These are:

  • Masks required (either customers or staff)
  • Temperature checks required for customers or staff
  • Appointments or reservations required

If you aren’t using GMB as part of your local SEO strategy, now’s the time to get started. Claiming your listing is free, and updating it with your phone number and other details makes it more likely you will show up in those all-important “near me” searches by local customers ready to buy.

A Digital Marketing Partner Helps You Stay Relevant And Top of Mind
At a time when customers are skipping even essential purchases because of uncertainty about the future, business owners need to think strategically and creatively. That’s a tall order when keeping your doors open, staying safe, and caring for your family take up every ounce of energy you have.

At New York Ave, we understand that compassion is the key. Now’s no time to pretend that “normal” is just around the corner. But you can still deepen your customer relationships, even when you are not directly selling.

During the first wave of shelter-in-place orders, our team sent tens of thousands of emails responding to our clients’ need to disseminate information to their customers quickly. Since then, we’ve built up marketing best practices for the COVID era that can help your business stay connected to the community.

Let’s look at a few of the initiatives:

1. Coloring And Activity Sheet Downloads
Kids have had their lives and routines disrupted, too. Many of your customers are putting family first at a time like this, and a little care on your part goes a long way. We helped by providing daily, branded activity and coloring sheet downloads for each of our clients to promote to their customers.

2. Facebook Live Streams For Frequently Asked Questions
The New York Ave team has partnered with dozens of our clients to hold Facebook Live streams. At these online events, customers get an opportunity to ask questions and get answers related to changes in business protocol. Even if you don’t know the first thing about streaming, we make it easy.

3. Hyper-Relevant Blog Posts And Digital Content
Most customers are spending even more time online right now. If another shelter-in-place order is enacted, that trend will accelerate. We ensure our clients have the most helpful and effective blog content for a changing world. That motivates customers to come to you when they want relevant, useful content.

Digital Marketing Is Still Important, But You Don’t Have To Do It All Alone
Digital marketing still matters. In fact, your digital marketing investments today could pay off handsomely in the future. As business picks up and the economy rebounds, the companies that kept moving forward with their digital marketing plan will have a decisive advantage in online visibility.

There’s tremendous value in having a partner to talk through possibilities with. You don’t have to miss out on the small, but valuable details – like Google My Business – just because your plate is full. Working with a digital marketing agency makes the whole process simple.

Whether you’ve worked with us before or you’re new to the digital marketing game, New York Ave is here for you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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