As we enter a period of unknown, businesses are facing a very stressful and worrying challenge of maintaining the status quo when it comes to keeping businesses running as effectively as possible.
Every single business, with exception to a very few, are going to feel the pinch over the coming weeks, and in the midst of all the panic and mayhem that surrounds the current Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, try and spare some thought to the marketing of your business.
In this blog we have looked at the ways in which you should consider your marketing and how you can use this unexpected down-time to help maintain business normality and visibility online.
Audience growth online
As the UK Government has restricted freedom of movement in order to fight the outbreak, more and more of the population will be turning to the internet as their main source of entertainment over the coming weeks.
Already, we have noticed a huge surge in online activity, with consumer searches for products and services on Google at an all-time high (and this will only continue to increase), and the same for Social Media too.
Data published on eMarketer recently that shows a marked increase in usage of Mobile Apps, Social Media and search, peaking at around 20% in China. The same online behaviour is expected in the UK.
Marketing during a downturn – recession or epidemic
When things start to go wrong, the first business activity/service that usually stops is online marketing. This really is a huge mistake.
Remember that, whilst the situation might be unprecedented, life is still continuing as normal as much as possible, and as such, consumers will still be looking for your products and services online, and because of this, it is important to ensure you maintain your online visibility and momentum as much as possible.
Whilst your competitors might be cutting back on marketing, you can improve your market share online and generate a greater return on investment at a lower cost by investing with a sustainable budget in marketing, or better still, by doing things yourself at no cost at all – (see our list of helpful blogs below for loads of ideas).
Remember, that building your business profile online as one that your customers recognise locally and turn to when needed is one of the best ways to reduce as much risk as possible when the economy takes a turn for the worse.
What plan of action should you consider?
Google Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
It’s no secret that Google is the starting point for many looking for products or services, with over 93% of UK users performing online searches on Google every day. With online search demand currently much higher than normal; it’s important that your website is fully optimised and SEO-ready, as your business will need maximum exposure at this time.
Ensure that your website has all the fundamental SEO best practices in place and that you have an up-to-date list of the most in-demand keyword phases in your business sector.
If you manage your own website, think about creating some new pages for any specific promotions or special offers you are running, or create pages for new services, such as takeaway deliveries or home-deliveries of essentials to help others.
A blog is also important. Keep in contact with your customers and publish purposeful, usable information that your customers will find helpful at this time. How-to blogs, hints, tips and ideas all make for helpful, useful reading and don’t stop at one blog either, use this time to create other blogs too.
Why not have a browse through our blogs and search for other SEO related blogs – we have written many different articles to help businesses with SEO and online marketing (and we have also listed a selection of blogs we think will help you below).
Some businesses, where person-to-person contact is unavoidable – will see demand fall over the coming weeks, but by making sure you have an SEO plan in place and actioned now will ensure that the visibility of your business is maintained and will enable you to take advantage of the increased demand for your products or services, come the end of the outbreak.
As households go into quarantine across the nation, the use of Social Media has sky-rocketed, and as such, it is important that your business maintains high levels of visibility across all your social media channels at this time especially.
Why not create new Social Media content that engages with your customers, perhaps run an opinion poll, invite customers to ask questions, discuss your products or services, or share your advice and tips. The key to successful marketing during a downturn lies with consumer psychology and emotion – that’s not to say you play on people’s emotions, but to connect with your audience and help allay any fears or concerns they have with aspects of day-to-day life changing.
Being there to offer advice and solutions will help; for instance, if you are a plumber, perhaps offer advice on how households can remedy issues themselves; such as a blocked toilet, or maybe offering advice on how to bleed a radiator of trapped air.
If you are a car mechanic, offering advice on how people can check their oil levels, or maybe how they top-up their power steering fluid, or how to fix common issues that you can do yourself will help your audience.
Why not create video guides, some memes, infographics, blog guides and more to connect with your customers during these worrying times and build a solid foundation of trust and knowledge. Good-will and compassion will go a long way in the coming weeks.
If cashflow does allow for a small budget, why not run a small sponsored post, promoting key information, advice and guidance using any of the examples above to help reach your customers when they need your help and advice the most through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.
If you are going down to organic reach route, make sure to take part in trending hashtags such as:
But go easy on the hashtags though, and don’t spam with them too much. In all this, whilst we are looking at ways you can help your business through this, there is still a lot of worry and concern over the unknowns, so please use hashtags respectfully, and sensitively.
Move your business online
With bricks and mortar shops being forced to close, more businesses are moving online. Businesses who have offered limited delivery options before are now seeing business booming as they serve their local community and keep themselves afloat at the same time. Coffee shops, butchers, pubs and dry cleaners are just some of the businesses that we’ve seen up their online game and offer support to local people who are in self-isolation, or who simply can’t make it to the shops.
How about offering online courses, or free YouTube tutorials in your niche? If you’re a tradesman who can’t get out to jobs, you could show people how to make simple fixes at home – like putting up shelves or fixing a leaky tap. Many people turn to YouTube when they don’t quite know how to do something – why not make yourself present there?
It isn’t a case of “cashing in” on a crisis. Yes, these are difficult and uncertain times for many – but if you can alter your business model and offer a service to those in need, there’s no reason not to.
If you need some help/advice moving your business online, get in touch with us.
Starting a business in challenging times
Perhaps you don’t have a business yet, and you find yourself with time on your hands during these unprecedented times. This could be the perfect time to put the wheels in motion and start a business of your own. Maybe you’ve seen a gap in the market – something that you didn’t realise that people needed until now (maybe they didn’t even realise they needed it!). Being isolated at home can really get those creative juices flowing.
If you have a hobby like creative writing, knitting or pottery, now could be the time to start that blog, or open up that Etsy shop and get selling your wares. There’s never been so many free resources/training courses available online to help you on your way (we have blog posts to guide you too!).
We are offering free help and advice
If you want some advice and guidance, we are offering our time for free during these unprecedented times. We are here to help struggling businesses and are here to provide free SEO keyword research services along with advice and recommendations, and the same for Social Media marketing. Please get in touch with us today for more information.
Why not browse through our blogs!
Have a browse through our blogs – there are loads of hints, tips and advice to help you and your business – below are just a few of the many blogs you can find on our website! If you want to browse through all our blogs, take a look here: https://vaccodadesign.com/blog/
The greatest EVER list of business tips!
Google My Business – get your profile setup today and get more visibility on Google!
Get your website ranking in Google with our ultimate search engine checklist for new websites!
Why do I need a website, search engine optimisation and social media to improve my business?
Everything you need to know about social media hashtags – the ultimate guide!
Our guide on how to optimise your WordPress website for speed without coding knowledge!
The guide to great graphic design – part 1 of 2
The guide to great graphic design – part 2 of 2
11 best on-page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) practices for beginners
Get motivated! 16 simple tips to get more done!
The best start-up business guide of all the things you need to do before you launch – 5-part series!
Setting up a home-based business? Here are our top tips to get you started!
Do you need to market your Bromley based business? Check out our local marketing guide!
Final thoughts …
It is inevitable that things will slow down, however; even if this does happen, and as difficult as it might seem, it’s important to keep a clear and calm head as much as possible during this period, and take comfort in the knowledge that the UK Government will be doing all they can to try and stabilise businesses and the economy.
This Pandemic won’t last forever. When we get out the other side of this – albeit a bit commercially and emotionally bruised, there will be positives on the horizon with life returning to normal, businesses experiencing a surge in demand and generally everybody feeling much, much more positive about things, but for now, keep well and safe everyone, and look after one-another.