With the COVID-19 pandemic having lasted over a year now, businesses are having to navigate the economic fallout that reduced hours, stay at home orders and forced closures have caused them. The pandemic has impacted all sectors of business, however small businesses have been some of the hardest hit. Making up approximately 97.9% of the Canadian economy, small businesses may be mighty in quantity, however they are almost always financially fragile, operating with little margin for error due to a lack of robust recurring cash flow. With the inability to operate on regular terms, small businesses have had to find ways to keep their businesses afloat by leaning into new methods of consumer engagement and support.
Enter Digital Marketing.
The Benefits of Digital Marketing
Where companies once relied on traditional advertising methods such as television, radio, and print, digital marketing has introduced a new way of thinking about promotion that has begun to dominate the marketing landscape thanks to its ingenuity, accessibility and effectiveness.
Digital marketing has been a huge component of small business growth in recent years and continues to play a significant role in keeping small enterprises stable during the turmoil of the pandemic. By pivoting their strategies and embracing new marketing approaches that target the now virtual world, small businesses have been able to capitalize on the power of digital marketing by finding new ways to reach customers through online channels.
The beauty of digital marketing? It’s accessible at every level. Whether a company simply wants to create a social media profile to start promoting their brand online, or have the means to delve into the world of paid ads, the flexibility of digital marketing can be used to support unique business needs.
One digital marketing trend that has emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic is #shoplocal. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have seen small business owners and customers alike promoting the need to #shoplocal, a hashtag having over 50,000,000 tags on Instagram and #supportsmallbusiness which has over 30,000,000. “Shop Local” is no longer just a slogan but rather has become a sign of solidarity within the COVID-19 small business consumer marketplace. Jumping on board with this digital marketing trend has helped companies form a sense of virtual community with their customers and other small local businesses, contributing to a digital network of individuals who are ready to help each other stay solvent.
Being accessible online has become increasingly important as more people stay home and spend more time browsing the web. All of a sudden digital content has a higher likelihood of being seen and acted on. Tactics such as increased SEO (search engine optimization), Google Ads and Facebook Ads have become crucial for small businesses to apply to their marketing efforts.
Increasing visibility over competitions, who are also just a click away, gives small businesses the upper hand on the competitive COVID-19 market in a cost-effective manner.
The Future of Small Businesses
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused mass disturbances for small businesses, and in an environment that seems entirely detrimental to business owners, digital marketing continues to stand out as one ray of hope. As the world becomes increasingly virtual, having a successful presence online will no longer be a luxury but instead a necessity. The pandemic has exposed new strengths and weaknesses of digital marketing, and as new and innovative marketing approaches emerge, it will be crucial that businesses, and especially small businesses, stay in touch with the ever-evolving trends.