What’s Trending: Fortify the Fundamentals

May 27, 2020

A man running outside with the city in the background.

It’s strange to think about all the athletes, gymnasts, and dancers in lockdown right now. These folks are used to a regimen of workout and performance, keeping themselves in peak physical shape so they can fill stadiums or theater seats. Now they’re stuck at home for at least a few more weeks or months. The only way to stay in fighting trim is to focus on the fundamentals.

The same is true for marketing teams. We can use any downtime we’re experiencing right now to shore up the foundation of our marketing strategies, boost our core competencies, get rid of bad habits, and stay in shape for the next round.

This week’s roundup can help you focus on your marketing fundamentals. You’ll find advice on B2B marketing in general, SEO, content, and even tips on new ways to measure the effectiveness of your efforts.

1. How the B2B Marketing World Will Change Post COVID-19

Even as the global economy starts moving again, it’s clear that recovery will be a long and slow process. Businesses will need to adjust to fewer in-person meetings and events, and make sure their digital channels are delivering the right customer experience. 

Yash Chawlani says that serving customers, even beyond your product offering or area of expertise, is a crucial component. “Your online customers will rely on you to keep their customers and employees safe. You, accordingly, need to have accurate, relevant, and fact-based product information on your channels,” he says. “Use relevant links and rich content whether you sell related products or not.”

The loss of trade shows and conferences has left a hole in most marketers’ plans, and virtual events are helping to fill the void. LinkedIn recently rolled out its new Events platform for that very reason. Yash has an interesting observation about these virtual events after the current crisis has passed: “Many businesses have witnessed the devastation that a virus can have on their major source of revenue,” he says. “They will therefore not jump back into in-person live events without investing in backup virtual solutions. It is only the events that innovate and focus on value and quality that will thrive.” 

In content, customer service, and even event planning, it all comes down to customer experience--and customer experience that goes beyond merely transactional. “Catering to the human element can be inconvenient and disruptive, but a marketer must take on a world reeling from worse pain, inconvenience, and suffering,” Yash reminds us. 

Businesses that can pivot to both human-centered messaging and innovative digital marketing will be best equipped to weather the COVID-19 aftermath.

2. How Ecommerce Businesses Can Prepare SEO & Content for Post-COVID-19

If your business is experiencing slower traffic than usual right now, take that as an opportunity to refresh your site and SEO strategy. “Many people have been using their time in quarantine to tackle home improvement projects they have been putting off,” says Manish Dudharejia. “Your business should do the same.”

Manish recommends investing time in your site structure, site mapping tags, and content. Cleaning up 404 links, updating your internal linking structure and optimizing for mobile-first indexing are all DIY projects that will pay dividends now and post-crisis. “Make sure your mobile site contains the same content as your desktop version … it is important that you do not cut out content for mobile versions, since this is now the data Google will index first,” he observes.

In addition to optimizing your existing content, Manish recommends continued investment in content marketing. “Sites with a consistent flow of fresh content tend to have higher rankings and higher CTRs,” he says. The right content for the moment is not necessarily directly related to the crisis, Manish says, if your brand’s area of expertise isn’t relevant there. In these cases, it’s better to focus on building trust and awareness, rather than engaging in the pandemic discussion.

3. How to Measure Content KPIs During the COVID-19 Crisis

This article and accompanying video are informative for marketers, and also a great example of how to create meaningful content during a crisis. Search Engine Land has been holding weekly roundtables with marketing thought leaders to discuss issues that are top-of-mind for the blog’s target audience. Then they package the recording in a video, and create a short blog post of highlights.  They’re able to bring substantial value to their audience with virtually no budget required and very little prep time.

But onto the content itself: The panel agrees that content KPIs have changed during the current crisis. Overall, marketers are looking more closely at qualitative metrics to augment the traditional quantitative ones. “They’re about monitoring conversations around specific groups of people who may represent a sample of who you’re after,” says Lee Odden. Meghan Keaney Anderson agrees: “I think some of that qualitative data that we usually push off to the side as just ‘nice to have’ has become more and more important.”

Watch the full video below, featuring Lee, Meghan, George Nguyen and Amanda Milligan.

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