The pace of technological advancement and its impact on business has never been greater than during the boom of the past decade. And yet, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fact that many organizations have not kept up. Not even close.
Sandy Shen, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, recently stated, “This is a wake-up call for organizations that have placed too much focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience. Businesses that can shift technology capacity and investments to digital platforms will mitigate the impact of the outbreak and keep their companies running smoothly now, and over the long term.”
Many understand the need to make the shift, but the idea of overhauling an entire system, or even making significant changes, can be overwhelming. However, staying in place is no longer a viable avenue.
So how does a company begin to pivot? The short answer: By focusing first on foundational elements of your digital strategy - namely your website (and other owned properties) and marketing automation infrastructure. These tools are core elements to a digital audience's experience with your brand, and are the best investment in business outcomes.
Your Website Is Your Most Important Channel
Let’s start with some recent data from HubSpot. Weekly trend data captured from over 70,000 HubSpot customers indicates monthly website visits are increasing -- up 13% in March compared to February.
And this makes sense. The world has retreated to their home offices, sales teams have been grounded and trade shows are a thing of the past. As a result, more and more people are researching companies and products online to make up for the lack of in-person meetings. Additionally, the virus has left many looking for ways to function online – such as creating new online stores.
Given all this, your website needs to work harder to be able to engage prospects and customers to help them quickly find valuable information. Unfortunately, many have kept their sites in a "set it and forget it" mode -- badly in need of updating. Others have added so much content throughout the years the number of pages has ballooned into the thousands. This results in impossibly slow load times, out-of-date content and a horrible customer experience.
Part 1: What’s the Condition of Your Site?
You may not have a solid answer to this. That's why we suggest an audit of your site as a first step to see what areas need attention and how much attention they need.
To help, we developed a complete Site Evaluation Checklist. This document will allow you to easily go through your site and assess key problem areas. Below is a screen grab to give you a better idea as to what this looks like.
Here’s the link to the full document.
Part 2: Connect Your Channels
Staying in front of your customers has never been more important than it is right now! In this time of crisis, if you go dark you are going to lose out. A McKinsey report indicates 87% of consumers “shopped around and are willing to consider other brands.” And that number could very well be higher in this COVID-19 world.
Translation: if you are not maintaining mind share with your customers, you are going to have fewer of them when you come out of all of this.
Staying in front of customers with valuable and relevant content is a challenge. Within the past twenty years the number of channels and messages bombarding us every day has exploded. At the same time, customer expectations have increased. They want more personalization and expect a seamless transition between channels.
The problem is many marketers are using a series of disparate components to connect and engage with their customers and prospects. Continuing to operate like this is a barrier to your success.
Today, tools that enable marketing automation are more manageable and effective than ever. They can integrate marketing components and streamline the process by removing the need for manual execution. This results in marketers being able to focus on things like content creation and activities that work toward conversion rate optimization, rather than wasting time simply maintaining a digital marketing infrastructure.
For more on this topic, check out our guide 6 Steps To Marketing Automation.
COVID-19 hit us hard and took many by surprise. But this fight isn’t over. Fortunately, we have another at bat. We have the opportunity to plan for the rebound. For those looking to come out of this stronger than before, you will need to embrace the digital world. That starts by enhancing your website and automating your marketing channels.