It’s been a tough year for the nation’s small businesses, with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing unprecedented challenge and disruption from coast to coast.
But amid the uncertainty, as we head into the holidays, one thing has become crystal clear – and that’s the vital importance of establishing a robust, multifaceted online presence that allows consumers to interact with your brand in a safe, convenient virtual environment.
E-commerce had been gaining ground before COVID, of course, but fresh polling data suggests that the pandemic has accelerated existing trends and hardened the preference for buying online among many. An early September survey found that 47% of U.S. consumers plan to do most of their holiday shopping online this year, with pandemic-related safety concerns and shifts in purchasing habits during quarantine cited as top reasons.
The bottom line? In the post-COVID world, meeting consumers in the virtual space is no longer optional – it’s an essential task for any business striving for long-term success. With this in mind, let’s look at a few key building blocks…
We’ll start with the most crucial component of any brand’s online strategy, the hub of your digital marketing efforts – your website. Today, it’s essential that your site be optimized for a range of mobile devices; it should be quick to load, easy to navigate, and prioritize key information for on-the-go mobile users. And be sure to follow best practices for e-commerce, to boost conversions and combat cart abandonment.
With a modern, mobile-optimized website as your foundation, you’re ready to build out your digital strategy with mobile-friendly marketing methods designed to maximize your reach and boost your brand’s visibility. Email, social media, and SMS marketing are all great ways to give your brand a signal boost while keeping loyal customers in the loop – through the holiday season, and all year long.
Boosting your search ranking is key to reaching busy online shoppers this holiday. But organic SEO takes time to bear fruit, and if you’re playing catch-up, time may be a luxury you just don’t have. Not to worry – get an edge with pay-per-click advertising. PPC ads have instant effect, can be targeted to specific audiences, and best of all, you can get them up and running in just a few clicks – with guaranteed placement in search results!
Finally, while your own custom website is a vital cornerstone, don’t overlook the value of big-name e-commerce sites like Etsy, eBay, and of course, the titan of online retail, Amazon. More and more small businesses are taking advantage of Amazon’s iron grip on the e-commerce market to power their own online sales; in 2017, the company announced that for the first time, more than half of the items sold on the site were from third-party sellers.
Looking for a last-minute boost this holiday season? Rosie’s Creative can help. We’re working hard to help our clients adapt to these challenging times – we’ve recently streamlined our web build process to get a basic e-commerce site off the ground in less than two weeks, and we’re taking other steps to help you get through this unprecedented crisis, stronger than ever. Remember, with us, your first consultation is always free!