The coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a continuing threat in the world for people and their businesses. At the time of writing, the pandemic has resulted in 523,163 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 23,639 deaths globally. It is increasing exponentially, doubling approximately every 4 days. Given its spread around the world, businesses have the opportunity to take action now, to double down when others aren’t and to adapt on customers’ changing preferences who are not likely to go back to pre-outbreak norms.
COVID-19 Driving Digital Use Cases
The coronavirus crisis is turbocharging digital. Giorgio Armani live-streamed his show at Milan Fashion Week in February to present his fall 2020 lineup. People everywhere saw models walk the runway wearing his creations, while avoiding the danger of infection. Professional sports leagues like the Premier League football, NBA basketball, and NHL hockey were considering to play games without fans, and instead live-stream the events. This may still happen as leagues try to salvage the regular season and playoffs. Fans could still watch, support and cheer on their favorite teams without risking possible exposure to the virus.
All of these use cases are made possible by the technology, apps and networks. Digital content and the platforms that serve and create it are thriving, as people take to their smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Gaming apps and streaming providers have surged in popularity as people download video content. Museums are putting their exhibitions online for people who want to make virtual visits without being exposed to people. Educators are putting coursework online so that children quarantined at home don’t have to miss out on key aspects of their education while school is closed.
Social networks are making it possible for people to stay in touch with one another. Smartphones, smart speakers with screens enable video phone calls. Family members and friends can visually check on one another without physically visiting them, providing a level of comfort that would be impossible over the phone.
Senior citizens don’t have to leave their homes to get their prescriptions filled. People don’t need to leave the house to get food. Apps, virtual assistants, contactless delivery services and online grocery options make it possible for them to order what they need and get it delivered.
There has been a surge in health and wellness app downloads and visits to health portal websites, as consumers take precautions to monitor their vital signs and learn how to reduce their risk of infection. Telemedicine and other health apps and patient portals increasingly give people more access to doctors remotely, enabling sick people from physically visiting doctors’ offices.
Companies need to deliver smooth digital experiences to keep their employees productive and their customers satisfied. Business employees avoiding travel and are working from home can stay connected with team members and clients around the world using software platforms like Slack, Zoom and Skype. Digital technology is making interactions real-time, dynamic and almost as good as being there in person.
Small and Medium Businesses Need to be Found Online
Before any of the use cases described can be performed, small & medium businesses (SMBs) need to show up in online search results. Over 85% of all online sales begin with consumers searching for products online. Businesses need to promote what online content is on offer, purchases that can be made online, apps to download and any online service to use. To rank on the first page of Google above your competitors, increase website traffic and capture potential leads, you should consider using digital marketing tools such as:
- having a mobile-friendly website
- using social media to promote awareness and consideration
- employing SEO to be found on the first page of google searches
- using paid ads to quickly get on the radar of potential customers
- creating backlinks from relevant, trustworthy websites
- expanding your local presence and showing up in local search results
Now is the time to focus on Digital Marketing
In times of instability, many businesses feel pressure to step back from the market. They make quick decisions based on fear and prepare for the short-term consequences affecting their industry. But digital marketing—and especially SEO—isn’t an area that benefits from this retreat. Lead your business through this pandemic crisis by thinking long-term and employing digital marketing. Use this time as one of growth. Maintain your business presence, adapt to changing customer behavior and prepare to flourish when the market regains its footing.
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