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COVID-19 is the time to build brand trust

Times of social distancing can be hard – not only for businesses, but for people like you and me. It might seem as if most days have started to look the same by now and (quite understandably) we all miss human contact. These are unprecedented times it is not business as usual. So – what to do? The answer is focus on brand trust.

Things will eventually get back to normal. So in the meantime, why not focus your energy on what this means for your business? Or now, your online business. Now is a key moment to build brand trust – when one should slow down in order to speed up later on.

I’ll explain. Although online usage is definitely at its peak right now (according to OpenVault downstream usage per customer in urban areas rose 98.3% while upstream usage per customer climbed 68.6%), the COVID-19 crisis has got most people cutting down on all unnecessary costs. In other words, though conversions may be down, people are most definitely online.

See an opportunity yet?

This is the time to work on building momentum for what truly matters long-term – your brand trust.

Your marketing goal right now should be to focus your efforts on strengthening your foundation, so that when things normalize (and they will) you will find your brand trust ahead of your competition – and sales will come.

Understanding Brand Awareness

Brand awareness might often seem like a vague concept – that’s because it is. Brand awareness represents how familiar your target audience is with your brand and how likely they are to associate it with what you over as opposed to your competitors’ brands.

For those who prefer dealing with easily quantifiable metrics (neat & tidy numbers), Brand Awareness will likely ruffle your feathers. But try to keep in mind that just because this is not a metric that can be perfectly determined it does not mean it is not incredibly important for business success – or that it cannot be measured in any way.

Try asking yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Who is looking for your business?
  2. Who expects to hear from your business?
  3. Who is recommending your business?

Each of these questions represent important metrics, which help quantify brand awareness and play an important role in strengthening your website’s Domain Authority (DA). Or, in other words, improving the ranking which predicts how well your site is likely to rank on the SERP. But more on that later on.

Where does Domain Authority come in?

When it comes to building a solid brand name, visibility is a must. After all, how can you establish a strong place in your consumers’ mind without ranking on the SERP? Quite difficult nowadays. This is where Domain Authority comes in.

Domain Authority is a ranking score which predicts websites’ “ranking strength” based on multiple factors – including linking root domains and the number of total links. The Domain Authority, or DA, score can range 1-100 and plays a key role in a website’s visibility.

In general, well-established websites (such as Wikipedia or Google) with a larger number of high-quality external links tend to have “better” (higher) Domain Authority – while smaller/newer businesses and websites tend to have fewer external links, and therefore a much lower DA score.

However, the goal here is not necessarily to have a sky-high DA score – but to score higher than your competitors. This metric is comparative (rather than absolute), which means there are no “good” or “bad” DA scores – only better or worse. It all depends on your market.

Let’s think about this. Remember those 3 questions in the beginning? Now is the time to answer them.

via GIPHY

Who is looking for your business?

Want a glimpse into your current clients’ minds? The first step should be to understand who they are. By tracking the amount of branded search impressions, you could get a better understanding of who is currently looking for your business specifically.

Screenshot from google analytics interface displaying a website's acquisition overview

Consult & analyze your website’s data on your Google Analytics and come up with a strategy (not sure how? We can help). Take into account variables such as seasonality, day-by-day fluctuation, country of origin, etc. By doing so, you will gain a better understanding of which parts of your current marketing strategy are having their intended effect on which audiences.

Who expects to hear from your business?

One of the strongest signals that people not only are aware of your brand but they actually expect a certain kind of interaction is for them to publicly keep up with you. This engagement level should be reflected by your number of social media followers, e-mail subscriptions, shared blog articles, etc.

via GIPHY

Even if your content is fairly light and non-promotional, this can only be a good thing.

During times of social distancing, there is an even higher demand for enjoyable content and humanized contact. Establishing a closer relationship with your consumer-base has never been so important – not to mention profitable once the crisis passes. In other words, in case you were looking for a signal to spice up your online content – consider this it. You’ll thank me later.

Who is recommending your business?

As mentioned before, Domain Authority and brand awareness go hand in hand. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that backlinks & rankings are a key aspect of measuring your brand’s online presence. Well-established websites linking back to you acts as a great endorsement, as it signals to Google that your website’s content satisfies searches as well as being actual & relevant – in other words, you are seen as an expert in your field.

via GIPHY

That said, the context and target of the websites linking back to you can also cause the opposite reaction. If you own a catering business and start getting backlinks from a business focused on renovating vintage cars, this is likely to send Google mixed messages about your content and could hurt your DA in the end. Getting quality endorsement is what matters most.

A good way to keep track of this is to analyze referral traffic – i.e. bounce rate & conversion rate could be good indicators of whether the traffic you are getting from other pages is performing as expected.

Playing the long-game

Brand Awareness and Domain Authority play a key role in any business, and have the potential for huge uplift for SMES and Startups. By building a brand trust with your customer base, your business will not only do well during this period – but actually see growth as soon as things normalize.

Don’t forget to play the long-game. Be strategic in how you spend your resources during the COVID-19 crisis. Now is not the time to cut your entire marketing budget or to let your online presence slide – quite the opposite. Instead of allowing all of your past SEO efforts to go down the drain by letting go of them completely, seize this opportunity to set your business up for success later on. In a couple of months it will all be worth it. More information on how we can help set you up for success @ bit.ly/ognopricingplan

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