E-Commerce: No Longer Just for Corporations

When you think about e-commerce, the first companies that pop into your head are probably popular retailers like Amazon, Sephora, Chewy, or Target. For years, these companies have paved the way for online shopping; they have developed easy to use websites that let you order products straight to your door with just a few clicks of your mouse.

 

E-commerce is nothing new to Americans, but the way it’s being used is rapidly changing, especially in light of complications from COVID-19. Previously, e-commerce was a tool only for large companies willing to spend great sums of money building out online platforms. It took a lot of capital to convert a business model to be online shopping friendly. 

 

This all changed beginning in 2004 when a little company called Shopify began doing business in Toronto. The goal of Shopify was to make e-commerce more accessible to businesses of all sizes. In 2010, Shopify went mobile, and in 2015 the company started trading publicly at $28 a share. Today, Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world. It has pioneered the way for other e-commerce companies to thrive and provide solutions to thousands of businesses.

 

The beauty and brilliance of platforms like Shopify, 3dcart, WooCommerce, and others is that they are available to businesses of all sizes. Mom and pop shops can use e-commerce platforms just as affordably as more major operations. No matter your business model, if you have products to sell, e-commerce platforms can help you.

 

In light of closures and complications caused by COVID-19, many businesses have found themselves trying out e-commerce for the first time. With brick and mortar storefronts currently closed in many states nationwide, e-commerce has become a lifeline. Businesses are amazed by how easy it is to set up e-commerce accounts and start selling products previously offered only in stores. 

 

E-commerce platforms are constantly innovating to better serve their clients. For example, this month Shopify launched its own email marketing software that allows businesses to easily integrate their products and services into email campaigns.

 

At The AD Leaf ®, we work with many clients who utilize e-commerce platforms to do business. Our team is consistently impressed with many aspects of these cutting edge tools. Here is a list of some of our favorite things about e-commerce:

 

  • E-commerce platforms help businesses break geographic barriers. Whereas brick and mortar storefronts are confined to one location, e-commerce allows companies to reach people across the country and around the world!
  • E-commerce drives more customers through SEO. E-commerce platforms help companies develop search engine visibility so new customers can find products.
  • E-commerce allows businesses to be open 24/7. Customers can connect with businesses at any time of the day or night!
  • E-commerce helps provide markets for niche products. Does your business exclusively sell World War II memorabilia? With e-commerce, that’s no problem! Online platforms help businesses cater to specific customer bases.
  • E-commerce offers huge amounts of valuable data. Platforms allow businesses to track what products sell best and customer buying trends, among many other analytics.

 

In business, adaptability is one of the factors that determine whether you survive or close. This is a harsh reality, but thankfully today there are myriad tools for companies to use to help stay afloat and prosper, even in uncertain times. E-commerce (and effective marketing) can make a huge impact on small, medium, and large businesses!

 

It’s easy to see why e-commerce is revolutionizing the way we conduct business around the world. If your business is looking to switch to e-commerce, we can help! Our team can answer any questions you may have and help you make the transition. 

Connect with us! 321-255-0900info@theadleaf.com

10 Tips for Communicating on Social Media During a Crisis

In times like these, the role of social media is taken to an unprecedented level. Recently, we saw a statistic that said 55% of Americans get their news from social media. While first-person accounts and opinions break up the newsfeed and shape narratives, the general user will turn to businesses for fact-based updates and solid information. This means your social media campaign must be strong, accurate, and adaptable as the environment changes. 

When the world is in a tailspin, what role does social media play in your crisis communications plan? 

  • Communication of updates to your audience
  • Support for those who need info
  • Listening to understand what your audience needs from you and your business

Whatever crisis we’re facing, COVID-19 related or not, we hope it passes and that we will come out on the other side a better community. In regards to social media, that means your campaign should be focused on building trust and connections with your audience for the long term. 

So how do you do that? Here are 10 tips we’ve put together to help you execute your strategy effectively:

 

1. Review (and possibly pause) your upcoming social calendar

Take a look at what you have scheduled for the next couple of weeks. Is it still timely and relevant? Will it feel tone-deaf or insensitive amidst everything going on? A great example is KFC. Before COVID-19 reared its ugly head, they had a “Finger-lickin’ Good Campaign” planned for the upcoming months. A really, really clever team member perked up and said “STOP! An ad campaign about touching your mouth in the middle of a pandemic probably isn’t a good idea…”. Good on you, team member. 

 

 

Don’t fret that all of your hard work has gone to waste, just think of it as being “repurposed” for a later date. You’ll thank yourself for having a great campaign ready to go when things settle down a bit.

 

2. Have a strong social media policy in place

You might not be able to see a crisis coming, but you can be prepared for one. An emergency response policy should be solid, flexible, and information focused. You’ll want to ensure that you have an up-to-date emergency contact list, guidance on accessing social account credentials or other important login information, guidelines for identifying the scope of the crisis, an internal communication plan, and an approval process for a response strategy.

 

3. Know who’s on your “tiger” team

Some people work really, really well under pressure. You want your emergency response team to be comprised of these team members. They need to be quick responders, fast thinkers, and amazing adapters. While you should have a team of these people ready to go, it’s important to have a wider team in place that’s still responsible for the day-to-day monitoring and overarching campaign development. Both have their own time and place and you’ll need both to execute your strategy to the best of your ability.

4. Ensure employees are aware of your organization’s position 

Is the system through which you disseminate company information strong? Do you have a process for distributing information about relief efforts, donations, or other programs? Now is the time to make sure it’s bulletproof to ensure the right information is getting to the right people and your staff feel supported during a stressful time. 

 

5. Communicate with honesty, openness, and compassion

This is pretty self-explanatory. Our favorite example of a brand taking a minute to pause and re-orient comes from Chiquita banana. They did a great job of incorporating the #StayAtHome campaign while still maintaining their brand voice and identity.

 

6. Cite credible sources

Again, pretty self-explanatory. As a manager of a social media campaign, you’re responsible for providing information that is accurate and honest. Your audience trusts you to be providing valid information. In a crisis, bad information is not only irresponsible but it has the potential to damage your reputation. It may be tempting to share shocking statistics or a new update but do your due diligence in fact-checking and ensuring what you’re sharing is supported by data from reputable sources like government agencies or organizations.

 

7. Listen to your audience to stay informed

Monitor your content closely and be prepared to make adjustments based on how your audience responds. If you begin sharing about how your company is supporting relief efforts and your audience feels what you’re sharing is ill-timed, then it might be wise to pull that content and redirect towards something else.

 

8. Avoid jumping on the “trend train”

Don’t attempt to spin a crisis. Plain and simple, it won’t work and it will receive negative backlash. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t adapt to a new environment and rethink your business model to fit the situation. Recently, the factory that produced the uniforms for the Philadelphia Phillies was getting creative about what they could do with all the unused fabric they had laying around after the season was postponed. They decided to take that material and repurpose it for cloth face masks. There’s a national shortage and they felt it was their social responsibility to reallocate what they had to serve the greater good. This is a great example of how to take advantage of the situation without trying to spin it in your favor or appear profit-driven.

 

9. Make room for questions

People will have questions. It’s unavoidable. As situations become more tense and uneasy, your audience will become hyper-aware of your company and your product or service. They’ll ask incredibly specific questions that you may have never been asked for. Be prepared and don’t be offended. Remember that people are trying to navigate a new situation just like you are.

 

10. Don’t go off the grid

This is incredibly important. I know at the beginning we mentioned “pausing” your campaign. But this is a temporary measure in order to regroup and come back stronger. You may feel continuing a social media campaign is insensitive in light of the current climate, but that’s simply not true. Your audience is looking for dependency and certainty wherever they can get it. They want to see you stand your ground and stay strong. 

 

We know that crafting a social media campaign in the middle of a crisis is probably the last thing you’re thinking about or even want to be doing. You have a business to run, employees to take care of, and customers to support. That’s where we come in. Let us help you through this season and ensure you come out on the other side strong.

You Want Me to Design What?

You Want Me to Design What?

What separates good graphic design from great graphic design? You will get many different answers to this question, but is there a single definitive response? Yes, there is: Having an eye for what works and what doesn’t. This is what takes graphic design from good to great. It’s looking at a project from many different angles and weighing it against the industry you’re designing for to produce a piece that pulls someone in and causes them to want to take action on it.

Think of it this way, graphic design skills are the tools, but the eye is the “hand” that wields the tools. Below are 8 design principles that make up having a great “eye” and can mean the difference between someone just looking at your design or a great project that draws people into your message and causes them to act on it.

“There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for” – Milton Glaser

Elements of a Great Eye

Alignment

Every element of your project should flow together seamlessly: text, shapes, imagery. Each part should align to each other and not look like it was just “thrown” together. There is a place for everything. Alignment is critical to give the reader/viewer a “path” to follow in the design.

Visual Hierarchy

The primary focal point is the message you’re relaying to the reader/viewer, so you want to make your message stand out. What you want people to see first needs to have the most attention in your design. Big, bold, fonts; colors based on the industry, etc. This will go a long way to getting the reader’s attention.

Contrast

This plays well together with visual hierarchy and can help your message stand out even more. Contrast simply means opposites and doesn’t just apply to colors only, it is the opposing of thick vs thin, modern vs traditional, and many other things. It will assist in navigating the viewer to where you want them to go.

Repetition

Repetition is the overall layout of your design. It helps your project remain organized & consistent. This entails colors, font choices, layout (for certain projects), etc. At most, you should only have:

  • 2 to 3 colors in most instances (use a good color pairing tool).
  • 1 to 2 font styles, or “font family” (one family if the font has many different thicknesses, like Montserrat or Bahnschrift).
  • Consistent layout design, especially if only a certain part of the design changes like a different image or dates.

You don’t want to have all of your elements competing against each other from project to project (outside of normal planned visual hierarchy & contrast implementations).

Proximity

This is all about organization and placement and goes hand in hand with alignment and repetition. Where does everything go? How does the text go with the images? Where do I need to place the text? Grouping elements together by color, size, shape, etc., will help to keep the overall design clean and uncluttered.

Balance

Keeping your design balanced is vital. When the overall design looks messy and sloppy, it can push readers/viewers away and you’ve lost their interest. A great design is well balanced and not overpowering in visual appeal and impact. Are you portraying a message of action? Do you want people to be informed? How about bringing people joy? Keep people’s attention with a balanced design and they’ll be enticed to want to see and know more about your message.

Color

Ok, we’ve mentioned color a few times so far. There is a lot to color that most people don’t know, yet alone understand. Colorology (yes, that is a term, you can Google it) is a vast area when it comes to great graphic design. Colors can cause people to respond in certain ways. A staggering 85% of buying decisions are made just on color alone. Logos are the “frontline” of marketing. How many times have we stopped at a McDonald’s just seeing the “golden arches”? Was it a planned trip? No, we just saw the bright logo and stopped in and grabbed something to eat. Color goes a long way in portraying your message.

Oh, and by the way, Yellow is optimistic & youthful, it grabs the attention of window shoppers. Think about that the next time you stop and grab a Big Mac or walk into a store because you saw the Yellow ##% off sale sign in the window.

Spacing

Adding space to your design can help drive the focus to the area that contains your message. Most often this is called “negative space”, areas of the design that doesn’t contain any design elements. It can often be a solid color, or even blurred out parts of an image (such as part of the background image). Using this effectively when needed will make your design stand out and allow for a huge impact.

The Final Draft

In great graphic design, some or all of the above elements are used to convey a message to your readers/viewers. The most important first step is to look at graphic design as a consumer and not as a designer. Start with asking questions to yourself. What makes me interact and engage with a graphic? How do I respond to the overall design of a graphic that I’ve seen? What is it that pulls me in and keeps my attention?

Having the skills along with the eyes for graphic design in one package are hard to come by and here at The AD Leaf ®, our designers have both. They are ready & desire to take your projects to great new heights. Give us a call at 321-255-0900 and let us help you make your graphics pop! (Ok, I had to use it at least once, lol)

Email Subscribers

Keeping a Positive Rapport With Your Subscribers in the Face of COVID-19

As marketers, as business owners, and as fellow humans, we are in trying and unprecedented times. In the face of a global pandemic, many people are wondering how they are going to keep themselves and their families safe, while still effectively managing their business. The key to surviving these troubling times is communication, and there is no better way to do that than a built out digital marketing campaign. While there are many components to a successful digital marketing campaign, there is even more to think about in the face of a global pandemic. A business owner must balance a sense of compassion with the need to share helpful information to keep their consumers informed. One of the best ways to connect directly with the people you know you are doing business with is through your email campaign. 

 

Whether you are loyally sending out email campaigns every week, or are just looking to dust off that subscriber list, it can be easy to rub consumers the wrong way with your communication during these tough times. Here are some ways to keep a positive rapport with your email campaigns. 

 

Be Honest, Compassionate, and Helpful

Transparency is key. The benefit of having a subscriber list is that you have already cultivated a sense of community. These users have either been past customers of yours, subscribed to your newsletter, or have otherwise opted in to get more information from your business regularly. Now is the time to be honest with them and let them know you care while sharing pertinent information about your business. If you were forced to shut down, or reduce hours, make it known that it is for the safety of your loyal customers. You care about them and their well being, make sure they are staying safe and let them know that you will see them soon. 

 

This can also be a great opportunity to share any updates to your business model you may not have had before. If you have updated your strategy to include curbside pickup, delivery online shopping, etc, share that, your customers may love to know you are still in business. In times of uncertainty, people look to brands and businesses in their community. Showing that you are still working hard to deliver the product or service you love while keeping yourself, your employees, and your customers safe will go a long way in showing your solidarity and dedication. 

 

Be Conscious

While you may have the best of intentions, it is important to remember that emotions are high, and in our current environment, it can be easy to rub your subscribers the wrong way. Be mindful of your subject lines, and the emotional impact of the language you are using. You won’t want to come across too spammy or to look like you are trying to capitalize. Spare them the “Coronavirus Flash Sale”. These types of subject lines come off as insensitive, and tone-deaf. Instead, try the more sensitive “We’re committed to helping you through this by offering free delivery”. 

 

This said, you also want to make sure that if you have an important update, it is being heard.  Words like “update”, “community info”, etc are a dime a dozen right now, and chances are, your subscribers are being inundated with subject lines like these days in and day out. The best course of action is to remain genuine and make sure to communicate clearly and effectively.

 

Let Them Know You Care

The worst thing you can do right now is to stop communicating altogether. Pausing your communication, or “going dark”, is a quick way to have your consumers forget about you. Like we mentioned, in times of uncertainty, consumers will take notice of which brands have pulled back and which brands are still engaging with their community. If you don’t want to, or can’t market your services right now, it may be a good time to think about alternatives. Try focusing on how you are giving back, share ways that your consumers can keep themselves safe, or what they can do to still support local businesses. If curbside or delivery is not an option, many businesses have taken to promoting gift cards. This is a great way to still promote sales and help your community support your business by earmarking some time to come visit you when it is safe. 

 

As a marketer and as a business owner, the best thing you can do is, to be honest, consistent, and compassionate with your subscribers. The fact is, how brands handle this situation will establish brand trust for years to come. If you need help crafting the perfect messaging with support from a digital marketing campaign, contact The AD Leaf ® Marketing Firm. Together, we will partner with you to help you navigate these difficult times and help your business thrive.    

content marketing

How to Make Your Small Business Stand Out With Content Marketing

As a business owner, your time is split between all of the tasks it takes to run a successful business, managing your employees, keeping the books, upkeep of your location, and then of course, marketing. With all of the other responsibilities that come with running a business, running a robust digital marketing campaign on top of that can be an overwhelming undertaking and can be easy to neglect. In today’s marketing landscape, content marketing may be a term you are likely to come across, but what exactly does that mean? Content marketing is simply producing and sharing exciting content like videos, blogs, email campaigns and web pages, and showing your customers what makes your business stand out. You already know what makes your business great, content marketing is your platform to tell the world! Here’s how to use content marketing to your advantage to make your business stand out.

 

Create Content That is Your Own

Now let’s think about your consumers for a second. Have you ever tried to read all the content on the internet? It’s exhausting, and spoiler alert, impossible. Among all of the other content we are exposed to on a daily basis, users today crave content that is genuine. That’s where content marketing comes in! Blogs and page content are a great way for you to tell your brand’s story, and sell yourself organically. So think to yourself, what makes your business different from all the rest? Maybe your restaurant is incredibly globally conscious and only serves locally sourced foods. Or you offer a full menu of Keto or Vegan options. Rather than waiting for your customers to find these things out for themselves, use your website and online resources to tell them first. 

 

Once you feel like you’ve hit all of your bases, now it’s time to reach out. You would be surprised what your already loyal customers have to say about you. You may love the fact that your business is sustainable and your menu is diverse, but they might come for your amazing breakfast menu, craft cocktails, or specialty coffees. The truth is, what makes your business stand out to you may not always be what keeps your customers coming back. Gaining as many perspectives as possible will help you to shape your content towards those all-important unique selling propositions, or what your business offers that makes it stand out from its competition. Once you have that, get writing some personalized content that tells your story and shows why you are unique!

 

Create Content That is Dynamic and Exciting 

The key to content is to keep it fresh and engaging. Whether you are writing a page about your brand new service line, or your weekly blog, it is your chance to let your personality shine. Be sure to add photos from the job or entertaining anecdotes to let your customers get to know you before ever meeting you. Blogging is also a great opportunity to establish yourself as a leader in your industry. Stay up to date with current events and industry trends, then use your blog to speak to them. Soon, your consumers will be looking to you for thought leadership pieces. Again, you know that you’re an expert in your industry, so show the world! 

 

Create Content That Will Work for You

Now that your website is full of engaging and insightful content, the last step is to make that content work for you. Let’s go back to the restaurant example. If locals in your neighborhood are searching Google for “Keto friendly breakfast restaurants”, you’ll want to make sure that content you wrote gets seen. If you are spending all of this time building out your website, you will want to make sure it is at the top of everyone’s list when they are searching. This is where content comes into play with your overall digital marketing campaign. Once you write your content, you will want to be sure it is ranking on Google when people go to search for them. A website that has content will always outperform websites that do not have content and can be a vital part of your SEO campaign. Blogs can also make for great social media content, and email content.

 

Given these troubling times, many businesses are operating remotely, running limited hours, or temporarily closed. We encourage you to use this downtime to your advantage with some great content. Not sure where to start? Our dedicated content team at The AD Leaf ® Marketing Firm can help you strategize show-stopping content that will tell your brand’s story and wow your customers before even stepping in the door. Content marketing is the perfect partner to an SEO or social media strategy to get your brand out there and recognized for what makes you, you! To get started, partner with us today. We will determine where we can develop content, and help you to create your brand identity as a team!

Social Media in a Time Like This

It’s a very strange time in the world right now. The current global crisis of COVID-19 has the world rocking and reeling. And rightfully so. Never before in my life have I seen something like this. Just today I went to order Thai food, temporarily spacing on the mandatory stay home order issue that has closed many businesses and restaurants. I was hit again with the painful reminder that there is a real crisis happening, right outside. And we are all in this together. 

We will make it through.

What does the current global climate mean for your social media? There has been a 70% increase in time spent across social platforms such as Instagram and Whatsapp, a 50% increase of messaging across Facebook’s platforms, and 2x more Facebook and Instagram Live views.

There have been 468 Million mentions of keywords related to the COVID-19 outbreak across social media channels over the past 90 days. That number is staggering. With 62% of adults in the U.S. getting their news from social media while 59% of consumers engage with their favorite brands on social media as well. And from a recent poll, 68% of people learned about company updates from social media, with 79% via email.

These numbers are pointing to one thing: People are turning to social media outlets now more than ever for information, connection, and so much more. Digital attention is drastically on the rise as people turn to social media to what we at The AD Leaf ® believe to be a more grass-roots resurgence of the whole point of social media: to be social. With many staying at home to protect the lives of others and themselves, social media has reminded us once again that it’s of vital importance as a tool to remain connected, to communicate ideas, or organize and collaborate, and see loved ones.

With that being said, there is something of vital importance to insert here. The current COVID-10 pandemic is not a marketing opportunity. 

With the state of the world, there are things that you need to consider as we all navigate into some pretty murky waters. Below are a few quick ideas that we think are vitally important for you, your brand, and social media:

  1. Be careful to not “go dark” – This is huge. It’s important to not just drop off the face of the planet, especially in a time like this. Your brand needs to be seen as a pillar of strength for your audience. What we would suggest is to pause your social media, take a step back, and reevaluate the direction of your strategy. What was communicated last week may very well not fit into the current narrative. It’s ok to take a step back for a few days to reassess the situation, the tone, your strategy, and your in-house staff. But then, once ready, come back as a source of strength and encouragement to others. Going dark for a long time communicates an instability that will hurt you in the long run. Keep the lights on.
  2. Don’t capitalize on the situation – We have never seen such a pandemic like this in our lifetime. This is not the time to try and hijack the situation for personal gain. Many don’t mean or realize that what they are communicating is actually insensitive, so take a moment to think about which foot you are stepping forward with. Make an extra emphasis on empathy, and approach the situation as someone who is here to help. That doesn’t mean however that you cannot sell products, but it does mean don’t use a painful situation to capitalize on. Be careful here.
  3. Tone – We touched on this, but the tone is huge here. Stay true to your brand during this time, but exercise balance. The livelihood of your team may depend on selling products, and that’s ok. But the way you go about things here requires more tact and balance than ever before. Think about staying true to yourself, but being more compassionate. As an additional note, it’s ok that your brand doesn’t have all the answers. Transparency coupled with professionalism is a bright, shining example that we have seen many companies exercise in the light of recent events.
  4. Communicate – Whether it’s with your team or your audience, it’s of paramount importance to over-communicate in this time. And if you are able, work from home to help reduce the spread of the virus. We have a plethora of ways to remain connected, like the video conference call company, ZOOM, to help you and your team remain on the same page. With your audience, it’s important to do the same and let them know what’s going on. As we saw earlier, a large percentage of people use social media for company updates, so once you have stepped back to reassess your direction, come forward with a clear message of hope, resilience, and on-brand messaging. A point of caution here would be to be careful to not communicate information that your audience may not need. There is a plethora of companies, brands, leaders, influencers, politicians, newsrooms, newspapers, authors, actors, and endlessly more voices out there, communicating information. Sending out that email to an inbox that has already received 54 emails before 9 am can add unnecessarily to stressors that are probably already occurring. Only send pertinent info. 
  5. Practice moderation – This one is a gentle reminder about mental health. It’s ok to not have all the answers. It’s equally ok to not be glued to social media or the news where the challenging events are constantly in your face. Our mindset can be greatly impacted by the onslaught of the terrible things that are happening out there and being viewed in real-time at our fingertips. Take this time home as an opportunity to spend additional time with your spouse, your kids, to pick up a hobby, or to go on a walk. Practice social distancing, but also unplug and take a moment to exercise gratitude. Science shows that those who practice being thankful are mentally and physically healthier and happier. Take a moment to smell the roses. 

 

While this is a serious event in human history, we have seen glimmers of hope and encouragement from regular businesses and people, just like you. For example, Krispy Kreme is giving away donuts to all health care workers. The CEO of Texas Roadhouse gives up their salary so front-line workers can get paid. Zoom has made video sharing services free for teachers so at-home classes can commence. Starbucks has extended mental health benefits to its partners. Apple is offering unlimited paid sick leave to any of its employees experiencing related symptoms. Sprint is giving its customers unlimited data and 20G of hotspot access for 60 days to ease remote working. And the list goes on!

We at The AD Leaf ® want you to know that if there is any way we can help you, please reach out to us. We are here for you. 

 

Resources:

https://buffer.com/resources/social-media-management-in-times-of-crisis

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/#6f75c197183c

https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2020/03/17/50-ways-companies-are-giving-back-during-the-corona-pandemic/#4cb944dd4723

SEO

9 Ways Your Business Can Use SEO to Stay Relevant During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant stress and uncertainty, not only in our daily lives but also for businesses. But some things never change, including the importance of SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for all companies, but it has never been more important than it is today. Pulling back or stopping SEO activity now – as a lot of companies may have considered as they reduce marketing and advertising spend – will only hurt your business in the long run. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, your company can benefit from local SEO, updating your website, updating strategies, developing new content, and conducting keyword research. Since many of us are practicing social distancing, the internet is being used more. In fact, Forbes reported at the end of March that internet usage has jumped 50-70 percent. Take advantage of this uptick to increase your business’s online presence. 

Here’s where to start:

How to Optimize Your Digital Presence During COVID-19    

1. Optimize Your Website

A great place to begin to fine-tune your online presence is by optimizing your website design. Here are a few things to focus on: 

  • Simplify the navigation
  • Make sure content is up-to-date
  • Provide a banner or a pop-up on the homepage and other highly trafficked pages to inform your visitors of the steps your company is taking to address COVID-19 and how you’re keeping employees and customers safe. 

2. Take Advantage of a Local SEO Campaign

Local SEO is very effective when marketing your business online. Many people searching typically have local intent – which means, the searcher is looking for a business located close to him or her to either go to or buy from. Here are some local SEO tactics you can use to promote products and services locally:

  • Regularly update your Google My Business profile to help search engines recognize and understand your business. Be sure to keep your profile up-to-date so Google views your website as trustworthy and continues to serve users relevant content.
  • Consider adding posts to your Google My Business page to provide users with updated news and information, such as promotions, delivery options, and changes in business hours.

3. Update or Add Meta Descriptions and Meta Keywords

Adding meta descriptions and meta keywords to your web pages helps Google get a better understanding of your website and helps with the indexing of your pages. Taking time to do thoughtful keyword research will benefit your website tremendously. This can help your site appear in featured snippets, which are used for voice search results, thereby gaining additional visibility for your brand.

4. Know and Optimize Your Page Speed

A good page speed decreases bounce rates and increases the overall engagement on your site. Page speed is also a ranking factor for Google. 

5. Focus on Link Building

Make sure the links on your site include your target keywords. This is important because Google reads links to decide if the content is relevant. Having quality links and providing backlinks increases the value of your website. Search engines use links to find new web pages and to determine how well a website should rank in search results.

The more high-quality websites linking to your website, the more likely you will rank well in search results.

6. Utilize Email and Social Media Campaigns

Email and social media are both great channels by which to reach out to prospects and even current clients. Stay active on both to keep communication flowing. Campaigns are a great way to connect with your clients, which will also set you up for long term success. Be sure to write content to show that you understand the gravity of the current situation. Empathy goes a long way during stressful times! 

7. Review and Update Your Website Content

Update your website content regularly to maintain your relevance. Regular updates tell Google your website is trustworthy and has authority. This will help with your search rankings, as Google’s goal is to provide users with the most relevant content. Make sure the content is easy to find within your site structure and navigation and provide fresh photos. 

8. Keep Up with Ever-Changing Trends In SEO 

COVID-19 is impacting SEO trends significantly. Stay on top of what people are searching for and how they are searching. Keywords are changing every day. You can start by monitoring keyword changes more closely than you normally would. 

9. Look for Ways to Deliver Content Differently

  • Video: Take advantage of new strategies and be in “the know.” With everyone spending more time on the web, you should start developing video content. Think outside of the box to get ahead of your competitors and create entertaining original content. Since many people are inside and bored, providing fun and exciting content will help your brand stand out.
  • Blogs: If you have blog content already, consider increasing how often you post. Having a blog gives you the opportunity to create relevant and educational content. This will also increase the number of clicks throughout your website. Take advantage of linking to other parts of your site in your blog postings. 😉
  • Webinars: Webinars are a great way to reach out to clients and prospects and to provide a more personalized approach. Having a real-time conversation helps to build personal relationships. Since people are practicing social distance, seeing a face or hearing a voice can calm the anxiety and stress that many are experiencing. 

Don’t Forget to Measure

People are searching online more frequently during COVID-19, which will change Google trends. The way you measure results and data may change, too. 

Although you may see an increase in traffic to your website, this traffic may not convert into sales. Instead, consider measuring engagement with heat maps and other tools to better understand your users and to develop content that will resonate with them. Being a valued resource in a user’s time of need will help your brand long-term, even if it doesn’t result in an immediate sale.

Final Thoughts

The COVID-19 outbreak has created a dramatic change for all of us. While the internet is getting more use than ever before, take this time to focus on your SEO efforts. Make updates, do your research, collect data, keep up with the trends, and develop an SEO strategy. 

Doubling down on your SEO efforts now will not only help you weather this current challenge but will also prepare you for long term success.  The team at The AD Leaf ® Marketing Firm is here to help if you need us. Contact us today to get started on your COVID-19 SEO Campaign and stay relevant during these trying times!

The Fine Line of Social Media

During times of national emergency, or in this case, global, it’s important for companies to walk the fine line of continuing on with business as usual while being sensitive to the problem at hand. Companies and individuals alike are going through a scary, uncertain time. During times of uncertainty, people turn to what is secure. It may seem minor, but a sensitive and strong message on social media from brands does help provide a sense of normalcy . It’s a gut reaction for many companies to pull back on social media marketing and advertising but is that the right call? To be frank, no. Let’s talk about some common concerns and how to confront them.

“If we post on social media as normal, we’ll come off as insensitive.”
It’s very easy to cross the line in your social media posts but it is certainly not impossible to continue on with your posting strategy, nor is it suggested to stop! Making jokes, playing off the issue, or completely ignoring it all together are sure-fire ways to understandably anger your audience, so instead focus on what it is you offer, how it can help, and if applicable, what you’re doing to mitigate the situation.

Are you a small restaurant or store? Offer curbside or delivery of products. Are you financially able to donate to causes helping those most affected? Share that and encourage others to, as well. COVID-19 and the economic issues surrounding it will no doubt affect nearly everyone, so it’s important to encourage solidarity. We’re all in this together. You should also share what you’re doing to help stop the spread of the virus, whether it be a change in how business is conducted (working from home, splitting office time, etc), reduced hours, or other associated changes in policy. It shows you’re taking the issue seriously and instills confidence in your company. Continuing to post is especially important if your demographic is young Millennial or Gen-Z. For demographics that seemingly live on social media, a lack of activity is seen as a red flag.

“We’re quickly headed to an economic downturn. I need to pull back on advertising costs.”
The idea makes sense, right? If you need to save money, cut costs where you can without risking integrity. While that might be true in some scenarios, this is arguably the most important time to continue advertising. To quote the Harvard Business Review, “Although it’s wise to contain costs, failing to support brands or examine core customers’ changing needs can jeopardize performance over the long term. Companies that put customer needs under the microscope, take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to the social media marketing budget, and nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand are more likely than others to flourish both during and after a recession.”

In other words, by not continuing to advertise or by cutting your budget, you give off an air of instability and a lack of concern or understanding of what your base may be going through. Stability in all forms speaks volumes. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. You pick up your phone, search for a company, and click on one of their social media profiles, only to see their communication is spotty at best. Are you going to give them their business? Not likely! If a company suddenly stops posting or the quality changes drastically, people are likely to think the company has either gone out of business or is going through a tough time.

“I know what my customers do and don’t do, like and don’t like, I don’t need to worry about social media marketing.”
Times of panic, whether the health or economic variety, change people’s habits constantly. The train of thought for your customers during average times may not match what they’re thinking and feeling during times of crisis, and how you market to them needs to alter in recognition of that. It’s important to be sensitive to changes in income and general feelings of stress. Is your tone too harsh or too playful? Is your price point realistic? Every aspect of your campaigns and brand need to be evaluated dynamically.

It’s imperative for brands to show strength and understanding during times of struggle. You need to convey that you’re here for customers and that you’re not going anywhere, but it needs to be done in a way that isn’t tone-deaf, either. It’s not an easy feat, but that’s what experts like us are here for. Our social media team will help you navigate these murky waters with the care, concern, and knowledge the situation calls for.

If you think you’d like to seek our social media marketing services, give us a call at 321-255-0900! We at The AD Leaf ® Marketing Firm would love to help you succeed!

PPC management

How To Manage PPC Campaigns During The COVID-19 Pandemic

As you well know, the world is in a major panic because of COVID-19. Not only is it affecting the lives of others, but it is also affecting businesses on a local and global scale (offline and online). Also, If you’re a business that implements online campaigns (Google, Bing, etc…) and PPC management strategies, you may have these questions come to mind:

  • Should I pause my campaigns in order to manage expenses?
  • Should I scale back my budget?

These are important questions to ask and hard decisions to make should you want to play on the defensive end. However, there’s always a flip side.

You can take charge of your business in this crisis by playing on the offensive end. There’s a popular saying that goes like this:

“When Everyone Goes Right, You Go Left.”

We’re not saying you should go crazy on your spending, but to keep your business moving forward so you can gain profits for your survival.

This is where you, as a business owner, will need to courageous, flexible, creative, and patient with our ever-changing environment.

In this post, we’ll provide some tips on how you can manage your PPC campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adjusting Your Budget and Spending For PPC Management

We mentioned earlier about pausing your PPC campaigns or scaling back your budget. Of course, pausing a PPC campaign would be considered playing defense. But what about scaling back your budget?

This may be also be considered playing defense but you’re actually playing both ends of the floor (We know we’re using sports references).

Instead of spending $100 a day on a campaign, cut your budget in half and spend $50. Also, take a look at your campaigns to see where you’re getting more clicks and conversions and focus your attention there.

Let your campaigns run for a week, look at your data, then adjust your budget and spending accordingly to see if you’re gaining a profit or taking a loss.

Mentioning Your Business Proposition In Your Ad Copy

Many businesses are closing their doors which means that many people will be staying at home which also means that many people will be online. This is where you can take advantage and pivot your message by adding a promotion on your PPC campaigns.

For example, if you’re a restaurant business, you can add a discount of 5% on orders that are over $40 if they apply a particular coupon. In addition, you can provide a Free Touchless Delivery Service in your message to show that you’re concern about their health and want to protect them.

Of course, whatever promotion that you’re providing to your customer, make sure it’s adjusted on your website.

Now that you know how you can manage your PPC campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re fully equipped to make a decision to play defense or offense for your business.

There’s no reason why you should just sit on the sidelines. Your competitors are experiencing the same fears you are, but at least you can take matters into your own hands by using sound PPC Management principles as well as having your PPC campaigns online so your business can survive in the upcoming future.

If you’re in need of PPC Management for your campaigns,  contact the team at The AD Leaf ® Marketing Firm and learn how you can grow with us today and weather the storm that is COVID-19!

Pinterest: A Safe Haven From COVID19 Misinformation and Negativity

With a pandemic raging and social distancing the norm, we are all secluded from our family and friends trying to stave off boredom. So many of us turn to social media to stay connected, find out the latest information on the Coronavirus or COVID-19, and to keep ourselves occupied and from climbing the walls in our isolation. A quick scroll of Facebook is enough to stress anyone out–alarming headlines, political posts blaming and finger-pointing, misleading information that hasn’t been properly vetted, sales pitches for cure-alls for the disease, and alarmingly negative posts from fearful people. It makes you want to put down your phone, get into bed, and pull the covers over your head. But fear not, social network destination Pinterest is taking steps to protect you from that!

In 2017, Pinterest started restricting health-related content and searches, beginning with anti-vaccine information. Pinterest directed vaccine-related searches to pages with information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention starting in August 2019. Then it expanded to other health topics over time.

When people go on to Pinterest and search for COVID-19 or Coronavirus, they are directed to a sparse page with content form the World Health Organization and get the following message “Pins about this topic often violate our Community Guidelines, which prohibit harmful medical misinformation. Because of this, we’ve limited searches to Pins from internationally-recognized health organizations.” Social media posts are rampant laughing about how Pinterest is shaming your mom for searching for homemade DIY surgical masks. A search for COVID-19 brought up a whole page of frequently asked questions like “Is it safe to receive a letter or package from China?” and “Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?”, almost all provided by WHO.

All this means that Pinterest has become a safe haven from all the negative and misleading information about the COVID-19 virus and people are very happy about that! But Pinterest has gone even further! On Tuesday, they launched a new feature called Today tab which is refreshed daily to user-curated topics and trending posts. It offers advice from experts and health agencies, as well as timely posts like home workspaces and study tips for kids.

The Today Tab has Boards with titles like “TT-Pilates”, “TT-Baked Pasta”, “What to Watch”, “Toddler Art Projects”, “TT-Bedtime Yoga”, and “Jump Rope Workouts”. This is the mecca for everyone who needs some distractions from all the fear-mongering and finger-pointing. There is enough information to lose a couple of hours exploring fun activities, recipes, workouts, homework assignments, and crafts to do to make social isolation a lot more interesting and fun!

The microblogging platform is also a wonderful resource for self-care from everything from how to wash your hands to stave off disease to how to calm an anxiety attack. So if you’re feeling anxious, you can search for meditations to calm your anxiety and connect to your inner peace.

Are your kids restless and bored being cooped up at home? You can find DIY crafts and activities that will hold their attention and keep them occupied.

Or, if you’re trying to get your children on a schedule and don’t know where to start, there are plenty of homework assignments and homework trackers that you can print off from your home computer to keep your family on track.

If you are looking for activities and projects to use as homeschool lessons, Pinterest has a wealth of information for you. It has DIY science projects for every age to support the homework that schools sent home with your children.

With kids home from school, meal planning is a little bit tougher–Pinterest has got you covered there, too!

Pinterest also added a new “Compassionate Search” option on the website which prioritizes activities that help you relax with content from health authorities.

So take a break from all the scary news about COVID-19 and lose yourself in the wonderful world of Pinterest.

If you need help with your social media game and want to add Pinterest to your social media marketing, please call The AD Leaf ® Marketing Firm LLC at (321) 255-0900. We would love to show you how to increase your online presence and market your products to your clients via social media!