The Coronavirus Becomes Challenging for Business in Chicago: How Can Digital Marketing Help?mindmingles August 18, 2020 0 COMMENTS
One of the first effects of the pandemic in Chicago was its impact on small businesses. Although Chicago’s small businesses were offered federal loans, as of April, most are still waiting on those loans to come through. This was critical for sustaining business in Chicago.
Minority-owned small businesses got a particularly bad deal. Not to mention that the Federal Paycheck Protection Program’s peculiar requisites already discouraged small businesses from applying—such as the rehiring scheme, which is tricky under current economic conditions.
Local loans were then given out, but the process was excruciatingly slow. There were efforts to help NGOs as well—but it just wasn’t enough. Although Chicago businesses were still stepping up to the challenge, there was no getting away from the fact that businesses in the city by the lake were suffering, and badly.
The federal funds—some $350 billion—quickly dried up, and many small businesses in Chicago were left scrambling for other ideas: such as digital marketing and SEO services.
Unlike the promised federal funds, Chicago SEO experts actually follow through: it’s a long-term strategy that doesn’t dry out, provides great returns on investments, fulfills KPIs, and supercharges e-commerce platform visibility.
The Death of Traditional Marketing
Most business in Chicago are family-owned, and operate by way of word-of-mouth or customers organically discovering their brick and mortar store. Certain B2B organizations utilize trade shows and exhibitions to showcase and promote their products and/or services. Then, there are small to mid-sized businesses that rely on billboards and print advertisements for their livelihood.
In the world of physical distancing and extended lockdowns, though, this is no longer the case. Traditional markets and traditional marketing have both proven to be ineffective. How is that billboard going to pan out when nobody’s around to look at it? And if people are out in the streets, they’re hurrying back home—not standing around reading paper notices on concrete walls.
They’re reading optimized text on glass screens at home instead—and that’s where you need to focus your efforts.
Paid Searches for Business in Chicago
Google is people’s window into the digital world. Thanks to widespread internet accessibility, people don’t need to rely on word-of-mouth or billboard advertisements anymore. Yellow pages stopped being relevant a long time ago. This is the Google revolution, wherein businesses and services that appear in the top results of an internet search dominate. It’s important that your business:
- Jump up SERP ranks
- Optimize for the right keywords
- Engage in local SEO, and
- Keep up with SEO trends
But paid searches are a whole different way of acing the SERP game. With the right investments in the right place, you can get returns on each dollar that you put into PPC marketing.
Paid search campaigns are targeted marketing tactics that serve your business’s ads to people who are looking for those services, while also being above regular search results.
Although content marketing and SEO strategies won’t bring in immediate results, these are long-term techniques that can help you:
- Cement your digital presence
- Establish authority and expertise in your industry
- Keep bringing in traffic even if it doesn’t lead to conversions—because even organic traffic pushes up your SERP rankings
- Create valuable content that’s picked up search engine crawlers, making it easier for you to be identified and indexed
Local SEO and Business in Chicago
For businesses that operate within a certain area—such as Chicago—local SEO works wonders. It’s as important as PPC (Paid Per Click/paid search) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) marketing when it comes to securing your target audience. The tenets of local SEO are more or less the same as those of standard SEO, with the addition of:
- Listings and local directories in order to show up in local searches
- Optimizing your content for location-based searches
- Creating location-specific pages
- Maintaining uniformity of information (such as address, business name, and number) across all digital channels
- Collecting local reviews
Optimizing for Mobile Devices
Just like traditional marketing, desktop e-commerce is a relic of a bygone era. Our devices now have smaller screens and faster interfaces. Speed is crucial. Your website needs to be optimized for mobile, especially with regard to:
- Page load speed
- Responsive design
- Easy navigation and simple, quick checkout
- A cashless payment option
- Chatbots and live chat representatives to handle queries in real-time
- Generation of Mobile Accelerated Pages
- Development, if possible, of a mobile application for faster notifications
Social Media Engagement
Part of the organic traffic your website receives comes from social media channels—either through paid advertisements or simply good SEO. Engagement is important, especially when you have so many people locked up at home, glued to their screens. This is, in fact, an excellent opportunity to increase your customer base and break into other niches. All you need to do is increase and improve your social media usage.
If you have a company page or social media pages, keep the following in mind:
- Respond to people’s messages. You can also set up automated messages.
- Observe user engagement with your content: do they like it or dislike it? Are they sharing it? Which posts seem to get the most traction?
- Solicit reviews. Positive reviews encourage other users to try out your service. Negative reviews will tell you about the changes and improvements you need to make. It’s a win-win—don’t think, for a moment, that negative reviews are bad.
I believe in creativity and try to express the same with my words. I enjoy writing and keeping myself in touch with the books.