It’s easy to underestimate the importance of digital marketing during the Coronavirus outbreak. The main priority for all of us should be to help ensure the safety and well-being of friends, family and the people around us. That doesn’t mean that you can’t put your business in the best possible position to thrive (ethically) during this time and into the future. Some industries will face more challenges than others. If you sell toilet paper, you may be experiencing record sales and if you’re a pub or club, you may be experiencing some of your quietest times. For some businesses, a good digital marketing strategy can help to continue their boom in sales beyond the outbreak and for other businesses, it can put them in the best position possible to rebuild after the downturn in custom.
This Isn’t Forever – Increased Searches
Okay, we’re only in week one of major UK updates and measures but while we don’t know the exact time frames measures will be in place for, we do know that it won’t last forever. Whether it’s two weeks or six months, it’s important to put your business in the strongest position possible for when we come out of the other side of this.
We can see from Google Trends how popular certain search terms are compared to their historic data. In the instance of “toilet roll” we can see that it is currently at a 12 month high and within the data, that it is searched for around twenty times more than usual. So, if you have a popular phrase or keyword that applies to your businesses products or services, how do you maximise your income potential?
You have two real options at this point. Pay per click (PPC) and search engine optimisation (SEO). PPC will allow you to appear within the top sections of the search results as an advert. It provides an immediate impact and allows you to start attracting new and additional customers as soon as you are set up and ready to go. The increased volume of searches won’t last forever which is why it is important to appear within the search results as quickly as possible.
SEO may not provide the immediate impact that PPC does, but it will put you in a strong position for when we move past the Coronavirus outbreak. SEO, if done and maintained successfully, will allow you to show for your search terms all of the time, regardless of your marketing budget or direct spend with Google. It also provides a wider range of benefits such as possibilities to appear in maps pack listings, high search positions for relatable phrases and keywords to the services you provide and a wider online presence on other websites. It’s the long term approach to establishing your online position for specific and related user searches.
This Isn’t Forever – Decreased Searches
So, searches for your product or service are down and, in some cases, they’re at record low levels. That doesn’t mean that you should give up on online marketing though. For some businesses, it is an opportunity to gain market share on a competitor (ethically) which will last beyond the temporary downturn in searches. If you’re the business looking to stop or reduce your digital marketing, how much market share are you willing to risk in the long term?
By utilising PPC, when other businesses are reducing their spend with Google, you may find that you get a cheaper cost per click, cheaper conversions and higher profit margins. With less competition on keywords and phrases, you’re looking at a lower spend to normal for potentially similar results. If your business gets repeat monthly or annual custom, how much is that new customer really worth to you?! Of course, competitors may have the same idea which could have the reverse effect where the cost per click increases, making conversions more expensive and profit margins smaller. Even then, you will still need to compete with them or you risk losing customers to your competition and potential repeat customers for good.
Continuing, or starting, an SEO campaign will also give you long term benefits that apply beyond the Coronavirus outbreak. By increasing your position in the unpaid (organic) results, you are likely to see an increase in clicks through to your website and you’ll have a higher chance of featuring in map pack listings which are limited to three companies. The results seen from SEO tend to be long-lasting too, presuming you keep up with your SEO. A 12-week period of regular SEO compared to a 12-week period of nothing is highly likely to produce good results that will last you for some time.
Your Customers Need You
How do you normally attract new business? How do you keep hold of existing customers? In time’s like this we need to adapt to the situation we find ourselves in. Cafes and restaurants may provide deliveries or takeaways (if permitted to do so), delivery drivers are coming up with creative ideas to pass packages to people with no physical interactions (picture through the window instead of signing) and other businesses are doing the best they can to continue working as normally as possible. But we’re now in lockdown.
People can’t pop out to visit you any more but they may need to know you’re still there. If it’s difficult to find you online (on Google and social media) then it’s difficult for you to provide your customers with important updates on whether you’re open, how your practices have changed to accommodate new government guidelines and when you’re expecting normal service to resume. Your customers will want to know if they can rely on your service or products during these times. If they have no information available to them, then they may be left feeling abandoned, leading them to try a competitor’s product or service. There’s no guarantee that they’ll return to you once the outbreak is over.
Digital marketing is essential during the Coronavirus outbreak. With the lockdown being announced, people won’t be leaving their homes which will lead to an increase in Google searches for the things they require. Being found in the search results could have a number of positive short and long term effects on your business.