How the Coronavirus pandemic can affect your online marketing

As you are likely aware, the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on markets, share prices and consumer spending. As businesses navigate their way through this period of uncertainty, this article outlines what this could mean for business owners who are using online marketing strategies such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Adwords.

So, as a business owner, what should I do?
To know the best answer to this, you need to consider the longer view. The likelihood is the crisis may get worse over the next few months (if not more). This is not intended to cause panic,  but to set a realistic perspective that business owners should adopt in order to survive (and hopefully, to prosper) over the medium to long term.

The good news is that people are still browsing the internet, perhaps even more so than before as they work from home and travel restrictions are enforced. They are still searching for key terms and clicking on ads. The problem is that the number of clicks converting into actual enquiries may be falling. People may choose not to spend as much money, but they are spending. The question is, are they spending with you?

Don’t Panic
The most basic thing to remember is that marketing is key to growing (or just maintaining) a business in any economic environment – even now.
During a crisis, as enquiries start to dip, the first instinct is often to ‘save money’.  This may mean the marketing budget comes under the executioner’s blade.

Depending on your business model, this decision may be the beginning of the end:

No marketing budget = no sales = no revenue = no cash flow = no BUSINESS

Especially in a depressed market, if your marketing budget is cut, it can be the beginning of the end. Instead of this tried and tested recipe for disaster, we recommend the 80/20 strategy. The theory is that 80% of your income comes from 20% of your products or services.

To capitalise on this:

1. Understand what these are (make sure they are good, cash-generating offerings)
2. Refocus all your marketing budget on them
3. Expand these offerings with satellite products or services
4. Diversify the types of products or services you offer around these
5. Educate customers about these offerings, and find out how else you can help them

Watch the market

If your business is currently investing in Adwords, get in touch with us to discuss detailed competitor analyses. We can provide information on what any competitor is doing with their own Adwords, and advise accordingly. In times like these, think if it as an opportunity to get a jump on your competition that might be pulling back – We are already seeing a massive reduction in the average Cost Per Click, which means more traffic for less money.

We often say search engine optimisation is like running in a marathon. In order to get in the lead, you need to run past the competition. But in this kind of present crisis, your competitors may panic and slow or halt their own SEO spend, allowing you to run past them quicker than you normally would.

The bottom line in the Coronavirus crisis is:

Cut your marketing budget à stop competing and competitors will take your place. It will greatly reduce the chance for your business to make a return to current profitability in the future (as competitors race in front of you)

Reduce your marketing budget à reduce your ability to compete now and in the future. While your business may stagger on, it greatly reduces your chance of getting a marketing return on investment (ROI)

Maintain your marketing budget à minimally improve your ability to compete (as other competitors reduce theirs). Reduced ROI as a result of the crisis.

Increase your marketing budget à begin to dominate in new areas (as competitors hunker down during the crisis). Reduced ROI now, but greatly increased ROI and effectiveness in the future

What To Do Next
Depending on your business model, now may be an ideal time to invest in both SEO and Adwords, as this can give you a strong advantage, both as competitors drop out during the crisis, and then even more so when the market recovers. By then, you will have leap-frogged the competition to a much better position than you would have been otherwise.

Keeping your marketing going but being more strategic with it will help your sales, build your brand and get more customers. It will also help you come out ahead of the competition on the other side.

If you are concerned about your marketing or would like to bounce off some ideas.

We are here to help. It’s what we do! 
Give us a call today.