The COVID-19 epidemic has impacted many businesses across the globe. At this point in time, companies around the world that felt the impact of dwindling sales and falling consumer spending as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
As a business, you must have a plan to be ready for the long run despite the pandemic’s effect on your business for this period. Because of governmental regulations from countries around the world and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), people are looking to stay at home or avoid going to crowded places. This results in many businesses, especially those in the retail sector, taking a hit in their sales.
Don’t Panic and Pull the Plug on Your Campaigns!
The COVID-19 period will be trying times for businesses. Those that are operating on tight cash flows will struggle to stay afloat. However, we must realize that this epidemic will not last forever and eventually, life will carry on. This is no time for you to panic and bail on your business.
We’ve heard from customers and customers of our friends that are concerned about their marketing campaigns, with some even pulling the plugs on their campaign and keeping their marketing on hold until the hold epidemic dies down. For brick-and-mortar stores, this is a good time to look into alternative marketing methods. Online marketing could be an avenue worth exploring if you’re a retailer that hasn’t engaged in it yet. In our opinion, when dealing with the business downturn, companies should look for alternative means to market rather than to immediately pull the plug. Reason being, pulling the plug on your campaigns now might potentially lead to an even harder struggle when trying to recover from the downturn. You will very likely be competing in an oversaturated environment as businesses aggressively market in an attempt to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
The use of online marketing to help tank some of the damage that your business is about to take in this period is crucial. Marketing firm Dentsu Aegis Network’s research has shown that 14% of 155 surveyed stated that they were moving their offline media budget to online media. This makes sense as the more this virus progresses on, the more people are going to take it more seriously and self-isolate. Thus resulting in higher internet usage naturally as these are some of the forms of entertainment for people to pass time when they’re not outside.
What we would suggest for businesses to do in this trying period is to prepare for what happens afterwards. The higher internet usage during this period creates more opportunities for your brand to engage with your target audience. Thus, if anything, your business should be looking to capitalize on these opportunities presented to you as a result of the circumstances. Here are some of the ways that you could use SEO and Digital Marketing to prepare your business for the COVID-19 downturn.
1. Prepare For What Happens Afterwards by Retaining Existing Customers
Your business’s presence will be important in these times. After all, if you operate in the retail sector, chances are people will start forgetting about your brand as social distancing and staying at home becomes more commonplace during this period.
In order to prepare for the aftermath of the whole Corona virus situation, it is important for your business to remind customers that you still exist. You are at risk of losing your customers if you distance (pun intended) away from them without any communication. Besides, it is cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones.
For a start, your company could look to create more content than before during this period. The idea behind using content to engage with existing customers in this period is that naturally, more content will be consumed as everyone starts to increase their internet usage. It is important to remind your customers and keep them updated about what is going on with your business in terms of upcoming innovations and promotions after the whole COVID-19 saga looms over. This will help your customers be reminded of your company’s existence and creates more customer touch-points to engage with them (although we would recommend you keep physical touches at a minimal of course).
Social Media is another great way to help with retention. This is evidently seen from statistics predict that ad spending on social media platforms is set to rise by 22.2% as a result of the Corona Virus. A recent study has also shown an increase in 76% in daily accumulated likes on Instagram advertisement posts in the past two weeks. These statistics show much extra time consumers will be spending on social media during the outbreak.
The key to retention is engagement and communication with your customers. Your customers are interested in finding out how your business is handling the whole COVID-19 situation and what alterations are made to your business delivery methods. They would also want to know that the company that they are buying for cares for its employees, customers and community by implementing measures to help prevent the spread. Thus, it is essential that your company partakes in social media engagement to remind your existing customers of your brand’s efforts in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and interact with them to keep them with your company.
2. Make Sure Your Google My Business Profile is Up to Date
COVID-19 has caused many businesses to operate on special hours in order to help prevent the spread of the virus. To help with your customer’s experience of buying or using your company’s services, you must update your Google My Business (GMB) profile. This is a recommendation from Google. Google has asked businesses to update their business hours on their GMB profile, update their business descriptions and write posts to update customers. For example, if your restaurant is only doing take outs during this period, it is important to let your customers know that so they can plan accordingly.
Additionally, you could utilize GMB’s Question and Answer feature to help people understand what your restaurant’s status is and answer some of their worries during the COVID-19 season. Get your employees to help upvote the answers so that it would show up in your business’s knowledge panel as the main question.
If you haven’t already set up a Google My Business profile (which you definitely should!), it is important to have one right now during the COVID-19 epidemic. This is because local searches will see a surge with more people searching for keywords related to businesses near them. To avoid catching the virus, people are looking to commute less in order to avoid large crowds and consequently, they will look for the nearest places to get their necessities. Now is definitely a good time to capitalize on local searches and gain more customers!
3. Have Anything Related to COVID-19 or Cancellations as a Negative Keyword
This tip is especially essential if you’re in the travel or events industry and running Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertisements. Due to travel bans from governments around the world, travellers’ plans get changed. Companies that want to help their customers out in these circumstances and improve their PR would offer cancellations and even refunds. If you are currently running PPC ads and in these industries, it is best for you to plan in the long run. If this all sounds very foreign to you and you aren’t too sure about what PPC ads are, we have an article written for you that explains the benefits of Google Advertising.
To plan for the long run, you could perhaps shift your PPC budget to target more keywords that are for promotions in the future. Plan for promotions that are only going to happen maybe 4 or 5 months down the road and start targeting these promotions. On top of that, another trick you could employ if you’re still advertising for your company with PPC is to add negative keywords. Keywords tied to cancellations of bookings like “cancel” or “covid-19” can be added to the negative matches list. This helps you not waste your budget on people who are not searching to make a booking.
4. Use of Keyword Research to Plan Business Delivery
With the different ways the COVID-19 can spread, businesses look toward different business delivery means. What is important here is that your business can make use of SEO and digital marketing to help with planning out your business delivery means.
Say for example you’re an events company. Instead of your usual delivery of hosting seminars in exhibition halls, you could look for alternative methods like hosting a webminar for your audience online. Or, if you’re in the grocery or food and beverage business, you would do take outs instead of dine-ins.
To help you make a better-informed decision on what is the kind of business delivery mean your company should execute in these times, you can utilize keyword planning tools. Not sure whether or not you should do drive-in pickup or curbside delivery? Should you do a recorded webminar in place of your events or a live stream on your Facebook page? Keyword researching will help you to make these decisions. By finding out which of these keywords have higher volume in your area, you can help make better-informed decisions on which forms of business delivery is more suitable for you.
Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!
The unexpected epidemic of COVID-19 has indeed caused many businesses to tank. We hope that in this article we were able to help you understand how you could use digital marketing and SEO tactics to help keep your business prepared for the months to come.
Just remember, this phase of COVID-19 will pass eventually and everything will return to normal and stabilize. Search Engine Marketing will remain as an essential tool for your business still after all of this is over. Do not panic and pull the plug on your digital marketing efforts, just adapt to the situation, improvise on your campaigns and delivery methods and eventually, overcome this tough period. After all, tough times don’t last, but tough businesses do!
If your company needs an SEO expert well-versed in producing content for social media as well as help you manage your PPC campaigns on multiple platforms including Google, Facebook and LINE Ad, do not hesitate to contact us now on our website! Our business is still fully running despite this outbreak so rest assured, we will definitely get back to you as soon as possible.