It is safe to say that the last few weeks have impacted businesses of all shapes and sizes. Regardless of who you are or what you do, COVID-19 has forced everyone to be especially innovative as buying behavior has drastically changed. Most often, the first thought in times of crisis is cutting costs. The most likely candidate – your marketing budget. Although this may seem like a great short-term fix, it may result in long term consequences.
In order to weather the storm and come out of this economic downturn successfully, you must continue to invest in marketing and ensure that your strategy is one with both short and long-term benefits. The ultimate goal should be to generate cash flow during these trying times and set you up for success when consumers can return to their usual behavior. With the help of Google My Business, Social Media, and SEO you can do just that. Below is a complete breakdown of how to shift your marketing strategy for coronavirus using these tools.
How to Shift Your Marketing Strategy for Coronavirus
Google My Business
Google My Business is a great tool to connect with your local audience. If you aren’t familiar, this platform connects with Google’s Search Engine Results pages to generate a detailed listing of your business. This listing includes your hours of operation, address, upcoming events, reviews, and more! Starting to see how this can help?
Google My Business is the easiest way to let your customers know if you are currently open for business, operating under restricted hours, or temporarily closed. You can also update them on changes to upcoming events or promote any sales or deals you may be having during this time. So far, the internet has been seeing a surge in messaging around supporting small businesses. With more people searching for local businesses to support, you should ensure they are able to find you online by having an optimized profile! This is especially true for those businesses in the food & beverage industry and others deemed essential at this time.
For those of you who are more familiar with Google My Business, you may be aware that Google has limited the tool’s functionality during this time. After deeper investigation, we have found that these restrictions are simply resulting in delays in verifications unless you are a critical healthcare provider. The big takeaway here is that posts on Google My Business aren’t affected. So you can still promote your services to clients without any lag time. With that said, this is still a great time for anyone to create and optimize a profile as it can generate both short and long-term revenue!
Social media is often a polarizing channel – either you love it or you hate it. Regardless if you are an active user or you lost your password months ago, you can’t ignore how powerful this channel is especially in our current situation. With people stuck at home, screen time is certainly going up! Don’t miss out on being active on channels that can generate some immediate cash flow or even a handful of longtime customers.
For Non-Active Brands
For those who aren’t believers, consider the following. Your retail store has been temporarily shut down due to shelter in place orders. You are now trying to promote that customers can purchase online and continue to safely shop your products. Option #1: Promote it on your website. The problem here is that if people think you are closed, they won’t come to your site! Option #2: Send out an email blast. The problem here is that customers are being bombarded with these kinds of emails from every company in America. Don’t you wish there was more you could do?
With social media on your side, you could simply post a status or picture letting people know how they can continue to shop. You could also send out targeted ads to individuals who follow similar accounts or have previously checked out your site online. The possibilities are endless! You just have to know your audience and what will truly generate the greatest ROI.
For Active Brands
For those who are fully aware of the power of social and have a dedicated following, you may want to consider shifting your messaging. Oftentimes, we get so caught up in our own brands that we forget to spotlight the humans behind it. Use this opportunity to humanize your brand and create a deeper connection with your customers. Be honest with the challenges you are facing during this time and ask your followers to help! Whether it is sharing a post or shopping a sale, your customers will do what it takes to support you during this time. All you have to do is ask!
If you rely on organic traffic and SEO to produce a majority of your leads, I know it is tempting to scrap your initial Q2 content strategy. You may feel the need to shift your entire marketing strategy for “coronavirus”, “covid-19”, or other angles. Trust me, you do not want to do this. The most important reason to resist this urge is the lifetime value of your content. For those targeting very general keywords, chances are Bill Gates already gave an interview on the topic and is dominating the first page. If you’ve carved out a great niche for yourself, it may initially perform well but when social distancing eases up, it won’t produce any results for you.
With that said, don’t ignore the elephant in the room. If you feel like some pieces you initially planned for are no longer relevant given everything that is going on, you can certainly make some small changes. Rather than putting all your eggs in the COVID-19 basket, you should look for keywords with a consistent search volume behind them. For example, if you planned to write about the best networking events in Phoenix, perhaps you should now spotlight the best virtual networking events in Phoenix. A small change like this will show your readers that you are in touch with what is going on in the world while still targeting your intended keyword.
Another option is to simply focus on your evergreen keywords. Consider performing content updates or optimizing your primary pages! Within 3-6 months, the economy will bounce back, your search volume will return, and you’ll be ranking on the first page of Google. While your competitors have pulled back on their marketing activities and overall budget, you can stay aggressive and reap the benefits down the road.
Overall, the biggest takeaway here is to not pull the plug on marketing. These activities are what will stimulate your revenue and cash flow during these uncertain times. If you are working with a very limited budget, the key is to invest in activities that will resonate the most with your clients. For some, it’s social and for others it’s blogs – dive into Google Analytics and see what channel is your golden child.
Whichever channel you chose to invest in, just remember that it is important to stay visible, highlight your brand’s humanity, and always think long-term! With these three guidelines in place, you can successfully shift your marketing strategy for coronavirus. Just remember that we are all in this together and where there is a will – there’s a way!