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?
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