No Industry Is Exempt From the Impact of Coronavirus

My Post (13).pngIt would be nearly impossible to name an industry not affected by COVID-19, positively and negatively. Some currently surviving, with regards to increases in traffic, are industries like gaming/gambling, media, and other streaming platforms. On the other hand, there are many industries struggling at the moment with a significant impact on traffic and demand for their services, such as the housing industry, hospitality, and some B2B technologies.

So, what can these industries do to keep their experimentation program up and running?

Influx of New Users
With the high influx of new users, it is a good chance to optimize your onboarding flow. You might not know much about the behavior of these new users, however, the increase in traffic allows you to experiment on what works and what does not work for them when it comes to onboarding.

  • Form optimization through shortening, pre-filling, or utilizing login with third parties like Google can all be explored to ensure you are capturing the new users
  • Onboarding funnel steps can be explored by testing the length, order, number of steps vs one continuous form as well as progression

Creating Urgency through Gating
If your site is struggling with a large influx of visitors and might not be able to cope with this increase in traffic, one option to explore through experimentation is gating your site. This could be in the form of creating a landing page where people need to sign up and will be informed when they will have access or could be a live ticker on the site telling them which position they are in (like a queue in the store).

Extending free trial or subscription timeframes
If your users signed up for a free trial before the crisis hit, maybe they currently cannot use your service to the fullest extent because you had to limit your operations. For example, sports games may have been canceled which means your users can no longer submit a sports bet, it might be worth considering to see the impact of extending the free trial period or offering an additional month of a subscription for free. With a simple test, you can see if your user base would respond to this positively. – Read more

Nine tactics to improve your PPC campaign performance in 2020

My Post (12).pngWith 2020 bringing so many changes how do you ensure that your PPC campaign is working as per the plan? Expert tips to successfully execute PPC marketing.

Coronavirus Economic Impact: Market Winners and Losers of COVID-19

My Post (11).pngThe coronavirus outbreak has not just severely impacted the health and well being of people around the world; it has also affected their behavioral patterns and daily routines. It has caused a ripple effect that’s shaken the entire global economy.

In any major economic disruption, some industries will drop, and others will gain. The coronavirus is no exception. We have analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on online behavior to reveal industries and companies that have been hit the hardest or boosted.

Market Winners By Search Data And Traffic Trends

Remote Working Platforms

During this pandemic and period of self-isolation, an obvious game-changer that is reaping the benefits is remote working tools and platforms.

Zoom Communications, a space designed for video conferences and webinars, skyrocketed from $108 on March 16 to $162 on March 23. An increase of 50% is staggering in itself and is even more astounding considering stock markets are slumping more than 30% — a true success story amidst a global crisis. Traffic to Zoom’s website has increased by 10 million site visits in the month of February.

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Search volume for Zoom also rose 22% from January to February and is projected to increase by 108% from February to March.

For calling platforms, it appears that only Skype will likely see a greater rise this month. Among messaging platforms, the branded search volume for Slack, an instant messaging forum, is projected to jump 71% from February to March.

Here is the trend of searches for all analyzed services for remote work.

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Home Fitness

One-third of the world’s population has come under lockdown and is partially or completely stuck in isolation at their homes. SEMrush market data reveals a rising interest in online searches for home exercise, which has drastically spiked in March. – Read more

PPC Things Happen. React Wisely.

My Post (10).pngThere will be times when your business or clients will be affected by seasonality or current events. When these situations happen it’s important to take immediate action to limit any negative impact. Below are three quick actions I take whenever large events occur that affect account performance.

1. Reassess your budgets and creative

Typically, when current events or seasonality impact my accounts, budgets are lowered anywhere from 20-60% to curb loss in performance and prevent ads from showing in less than favorable searches or content. This also allows you time to think up a game plan on how you want to approach the current situation. Be sure to discuss any budget decreases with your clients ahead of time in case there’s a piece of data you might be missing. For example, with current events we’ve seen many businesses start to lose revenue, however, if you’re in Finance you might have seen an uptick of people who need advice on what to do with their money.

Now is the time to audit your creative to ensure it’s sensitive to current events and to increase visibility to your services to acclimate to current circumstances. Do you have drive-up pick up, free delivery, virtual tours or Facetime consultations? Add these offers in your copy and ad extensions to keep users interested.

2. Use Google Trends

Google Trends is an excellent tool to gain an understanding of the popularity of your keywords or topics. Here’s a link to get a further understanding of how this tool works. What’s cool about this tool is it can be used if search trends outside of the US and for different languages. I usually look at the last 7 days to get the most recent data and type in my high performing keywords. In this example, I’ll use an open-ended keyword like “flights to”. – Read more

How to Update Google My Business Hours for COVID-19: 3 Options

My Post (9).pngAre you prepared for Covid-19? While CoronaVirus has taken on a life of its own, you should always have a plan in place to update your business hours due to any disaster.

Here are three ways that you can update your Google My Business (GMB) my hours. If your business will be or is closed — you have several options and things to consider.

1. Google Recently Rolled Out the Temporarily Closed Label

You will need to contact GMB support and have them mark your listing as temporarily closed. While this is Google’s preferred method, I don’t recommend it.

GMB support is short-staffed at the moment, so you should expect a delay in getting help. While this is fine, if you have one location, it is not ideal if you have or manage more than 10 locations. You also will need to contact support again once your business reopens.

You may experience another delay in getting back in contact with support. While the business is marked as closed, you won’t be able to receive any new reviews, and you won’t show up in the local finder. I honestly don’t know how is this is ideal for businesses or users.

If the Temporarily Closed feature becomes available in the dashboard, I still wouldn’t recommend it. It appears that Google has made some changes this week. The Temporarily closed listings are not showing in the map pack and but will now show in the local finder. It appears that their ranking may be diminished below locations that were not marked as temporarily closed or are missing hours.

2. Mark Your Business as Permanently Closed

You will still be able to manage your listing while it is marked as closed. You again will not be able to receive new reviews either.

3. Holiday Hours

GMB allows you to use holiday hours for special hours. I added two weeks’ worth of holiday hours to mark a preschool as closed. I also followed it up by creating an event Google post. – Read more

8-Step Guide to Email Marketing During a Crisis

My Post (8).pngUse this guide to avoid alienating your subscribers and damaging your reputation.

During a crisis, your email communication can make or break your business. Even more importantly, it can help, hurt, or confuse people.

You can’t just ignore a crisis when it’s affecting your audience. With the outbreak of the 2020 Novel Coronavirus, email communication about the virus skyrocketed.

In fact, 12% of emails sent on March 12, 2020 from AWeber’s email marketing platform talked about Coronavirus and communication about the crisis doubled.

Here is an 8-step checklist to guide you through creating sensitive, thoughtful emails during the Coronavirus crisis.

8-step guide to write emails about the Coronavirus crisis

Step 1: Act quickly.

Your audience expects to hear from you. Don’t wait to communicate important information.

Waiting too long can negatively affect your brand reputation and also confuse or stress your audience. They may assume you don’t care or that you aren’t taking the situation seriously.

Step 2: Be compassionate and considerate.

Take time to think about how the crisis is having a direct impact on your community, customers, and followers.

Pause insensitive marketing campaigns — like contests or humorous content — and unnecessary events — like in-person workshops or conferences.

Step 3: Describe the actions you’re taking to deal with the situation.

Your customers, prospects, and community want to know what you’re doing to support the health, safety, and well-being of the community.

Ask yourself the following questions and consider addressing these questions in your email marketing communication:

  • How are you cleaning your workplace or building differently?
  • How are you protecting your customers and your staff?
  • Have your hours of operation changed?
  • Will your customers’ service be disrupted? Will product deliveries be delayed?
  • How can customers contact you with questions?
  • Where can customers get the latest information about how you’re handling the crisis?

Step 4: Try to help.

Businesses that take action to help those affected by the crisis will connect with their audience on a deeper level. People want to do business with brands who genuinely care. – Read more

Has COVID-19 Affected Your PPC Accounts?

My Post (7).pngA look at current and expected trends in PPC amidst the global virus outbreak.

Nearly all businesses have been impacted in some way by the coronavirus and the PPC world is no exception. Unless your business is lucky enough to be selling hand sanitizer, face masks, toilet paper, or even vodka…the impact on your PPC account is likely not positive.

With that, let’s take a look at some trends we have already started to see in PPC and what we can expect to see over the next few weeks and months.

Virus Search Trends

While we’ve seen global epidemics in previous years, none have caught as much attention as Coronavirus has.  Swine Flu and Zika Virus outbreaks caused ripples worldwide in 2009 and 2016, but caused little impact across the search world. Ebola, which had a 40% death rate, saw a sudden spike in interest in 2014. However, Coronavirus, which has a substantially lower death rate of 2%, has seen a shockingly rapid and large increase in search interest.

Previous epidemic search interest trends
Previous Epidemic Search Interest Trends

While we are arguably at the peak of interest in the virus, we are likely to continue to see high levels of interest over the coming weeks – rather than rapid decreases in interest as we saw with the other epidemics. These interest levels are likely to vary by location, depending on where the virus spreads next.  Be on the lookout for tremors in performance, even after when it looks like the worst has passed.

News Effects on Performance

These tremors and even overall interest levels are largely impacted by the media, particularly in the travel industry. Below is a graph of day over day Google Search performance since the beginning of January for a client in the travel industry. Overlaid on the chart, are release dates of major news headlines on COVID-19. – Read more

8 tips for getting it done when working from home

My Post (6).pngWith many businesses considering how best to keep teams connected when not everyone can be in the same location, we’ve been asked by a number of our customers for recommendations for staying productive and on task. Here are some best practices for fostering collaboration when your teams find themselves working remotely.

Set up your team for remote work

Make sure your team has the right tools and processes set up before you transition from working at the office to working from home. Once they’re set up, here are a few extra steps you can take in advance:

1. Create a team alias to easily stay in touch. An email list that includes all your team members lets you quickly share information, and a chat room can be used for faster-moving discussions.

2. Check sharing permissions on important documents so collaborators can edit and comment as needed. You might even consider creating a shared drive where your team can store, search, and access files from any device.

3. Schedule meetings now so you can stay in contact later. Set up calendar invites, create an agenda ahead of time, and attach relevant docs to the invite. It’s also a good idea to make sure everyone is familiar with video conferencing.

Keep your team connected and organized each day

Now that your team is set up and everyone’s ready to work from home, it’s important to keep everyone on the same page. Now that your team is set up and ready to work from home, here are some ways to keep everyone on the same page.

4. Hold daily meetings to stay connected with your co-workers. Working at home can be isolating for some, and video conferencing is a great way to keep people engaged. Try to be visible on camera when appropriate, present relevant content, and ask questions to spark conversations. When time zones prevent everyone from joining a meeting, record it—after making sure that participants feel comfortable being recorded!

5. Share goals and updates regularly. Whether it’s through a chat group or in a shared document that everyone updates,  a record of what’s being accomplished is a great way to feel connected, keep everyone up to date, and follow-up on action items. You can also set up an internal site to consolidate important information and resources into a central hub for your team, or to share information with your organization more broadly.

6. Continue to practice good workplace etiquette. Just because your team isn’t at the office doesn’t mean they’re not busy. Check calendars before scheduling meetings, and when you reach out via chat, start by asking if it’s a good time to talk. You can also proactively inform your co-workers of your own availability by setting up working hours in Calendar. That way, if a team member tries to schedule a meeting with you outside of your working hours, they’ll receive a warning notification. – Read more

Make “work from home” work for you

My Post - 2020-03-27T124131.212.pngIn my job at Google, I advise people on how to use their time as efficiently as possible. When working from home, my productivity strategies are even more important because I don’t have the ordinary structure of a day at the office, like commuting to work, walking to meetings, or running into coworkers. When your house becomes your office, you need to learn a whole new routine.

Getting work done when your teammates aren’t physically with you has been the norm at Google for a while (in fact 39 percent of meetings at Google involve employees from two or more cities). But it might not be for everyone, and many people around the world are now finding themselves in new work situations. So I put together some of my go-to productivity tips—no matter where you’re working—and a few things I’ve learned about how to get it all done from home.

Designate your “spot” where you work (and where you don’t)

It’s easy to pull your computer up to your kitchen table or plop on the couch and start working. But a consistent room, spot, desk or chair that you “go to” every day to work helps your brain associate that spot (smells, sights and sounds) with getting work done. Put up some things you had at your desk, like pictures of your friends or family. Get a new mousepad you love. Stock your go-to snacks on a little shelf. And just as important as creating your “work spot” is determining the areas where you don’t work. Maybe you never bring your computer upstairs or into your bedroom. This helps create mental distance and allows you to relax often even though your work is at home with you.

Use Hangouts Meet like a pro.

You’ll probably be spending more time on video chat—in our case, Hangouts Meet. Here are a few tricks for Meet at home: lower your video quality when you’re experiencing bandwidth restrictions or delays, dial into a video call but get audio through your phone, and caption your meetings to make sure everyone can follow. If you’re needing some (virtual) human interaction, set up an agenda-less video chat with your team or friends in the office—it’s not a formal meeting, just time to chat and check in with each other.

Practice “one tab working.”

If you don’t have a large monitor or your usual screen setup at home, it’s even more important to focus on one Chrome tab at a time. If you’re on a video call from your laptop, minimize all other tabs and focus on the conversation—just like you would put away your phone or close your laptop in a meeting to stay engaged.

Act the part.

Resist the urge to wake up and start working in bed—it doesn’t help your brain get in the “mood” of being productive. Stick to your usual routines like waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, then “commuting” to your new work space. Staying in your pajamas, while comfortable, will make you feel less like it’s a regular workday and make it harder to get things done. – Read more

6 Ways to Keep Your Audience Engaged During These Unprecedented Times

My Post - 2020-03-26T160637.568.pngHow do you balance business while staying mindful of a crisis? These 6 creative tactics will provide value to your audience and show them you care.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many schools, businesses, and stores have temporarily closed. People around the world are encouraged to stay at home as public health and safety remains the number one priority. It’s clear that the global pandemic has had an impact on all of us.

That’s why communicating with your audience is key. Being compassionate and doing what you can to help shows your audience you genuinely care.

But once you’ve addressed the Coronavirus pandemic with your subscribers, what’s next?

Here are 6 ideas.

1. Offer discounts on products or services your audience needs during or after the crisis.

Be empathetic and show your audience that you’re in it together.

Snap Kitchen is a great example. A healthy meal delivery service, Snap Kitchen solved a problem many people are facing by making meal delivery more affordable and accessible.

2. Help your subscribers learn something new.

Many people are currently at home. Now’s a great time to offer courses or webinars to help people take advantage of the extra time.

For instance, MarketingProfs is offering its community of marketers a free educational webinar with their Chief Content Officer (and AWeber customer) Ann Handley.

3. Be available to answer questions

Speak with your audience directly through live video. Set aside some time to answer questions and brainstorm solutions to their problems.

AWeber is holding Virtual Office Hours every weekday from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. The office hours will be streaming to all our social channels and our team will be answering email marketing best practices questions as a community. – Read more