Marketing During a Pandemic
Whether you are a large publicly traded company or a small locally-owned business, you are likely to feel the effects of the pandemic sweeping the nation. The coronavirus most likely has all business owners questioning, “what should I be doing with my marketing?” You may even be contemplating shutting down and laying off staff for a period of time. It could be what you are forced to do, but if you have the funds to stay afloat you still may be able to attack your market during these tough times. when it comes to marketing during this pandemic, specifically online, I would like to give you all some advice.
You Can Still Do SEO
One thing for certain is that Google isn’t going to shut down. The engine that is the number one tool in the world is not going to suddenly stop indexing and showing results. That means if your business is invested in Search Engine Optimization, you should still consider doing it. If not, you should consider starting. It’s important that you maintain the results you’ve already built and it could be a good time to gain new ones when the level of competition has phased out.
I’m not saying that this has to be high-level technical SEO, stick to the basics. Content, content, and more content. As I said, Google is still going to continue looking for the best results to show, so why not give them some? It’s the perfect time to go after existing high-search volume queries but also go after newly created ones. The coronavirus alone has created thousands of new queries and there could be a way to tie that into your business to provide valuable information to customers. Plus, there is even structured data to be created specifically for COVID-19 related articles to help populate rich snippets. Okay, I had to drop one piece of technical SEO knowledge, as it’s useful!
Even if your business doesn’t currently invest in SEO, it’s a good time to consider it or even shifting budgets. There are fewer people on the roads due to travel restrictions and curfews, events you may market at are being canceled or postponed, and fewer users don’t feel comfortable purchasing online because they don’t even want packages delivered to their homes so it may not be smart to invest in a paid digital strategy. However, while those same people are stuck at home, they are still browsing social media and the internet. It’s the perfect time to start building some brand awareness for when the pandemic ends and the world finally gets back to normal.
Should My Business Still Run Paid Search Ads?
You may want to still run paid search ads, depending on your business. One thing that we know is that there is significantly less competition right now that you will be bidding against. It has drawn the CPCs down which means you can decrease your budget or get more bang for your buck if you keep it the same. If you can run a great sale or create a product or deal that users can’t pass up, that’s an added bonus. Google has even made an effort and is trying to extend a helping hand to small businesses during this tough time.
Google to Give $340 Million in Free Ad Credits – Do You Qualify?
$340 Million Ad Credit Program
As part of Google’s $800+ million response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Google has committed $340 million in free ad credits to small and medium-sized businesses. Small and medium-sized businesses, which represent about 90 percent of all businesses and employ more than half the population according to the World Bank, are undoubtedly taking a hard hit during this crisis. Many are facing declining revenue and are looking to find ways to support and protect their employees. Google’s goal with these ad credits is to help SMBs weather the storm by alleviating some of the cost to advertise and ultimately to help businesses stay in touch with their customers.
What We Know
What we know about the ad credits so far is that the credits will be available in the upcoming months. Advertisers will see the credits applied to accounts who advertised with Google since Jan 1, 2019, and comply with all of Google Ads’ terms and conditions. You will have until Dec 31, 2020, to use the credits, and any unused portion after that date will be removed from your Google Ads account. And the best part of all, the credits can be used across multiple campaigns including Search, Display, and YouTube. You will receive a notification in your Google Ads account when the credits are available to use. And for anyone interested in creating a new Google Ads account, Google is still providing $150 start credit to incentive new advertisers.
What We Don’t Know
As of right now, there are some unknowns about the SMB ad credit program. Google did not release how much each account will get credited, and we still don’t know the exact date of when the credits will be available. Obviously the timing of this program is important as SMBs are struggling now, and a long delay in getting the credits might not make a difference.
What About Social Media Advertising?
Facebook also knows that small businesses are struggling right now and that a little can go a long way. That is why Facebook launched it’s Small Business Grants Program.
What We Know
Facebook is saying that this program was designed to help with:
- Maintaining your workforce
- Covering your rent costs
- Connecting with more customers
- Covering operational costs
This is an awesome play by Facebook to help many businesses who rely on their platform daily to the market and drive new business.
Who is Eligible?
Up to 30,000 small businesses will be eligible for this grant across 30 countries where Facebook operates. There are some restrictions to apply. They are:
- You must have between 2-50 employees
- Your business should be more than a year old
- Experienced challenges from COVID-19
- Be in a location where Facebook Operates
To further see if you are eligible, visit Facebook’s grant page and apply if you can benefit from this great program.
How is Your Website User Experience?
While you may not want to invest in a form of digital marketing month after month during a pandemic, for a one-time fee you can get a brand new website built. If you feel that your site is behind the times or less appealing than your competitor’s sites, then this may be as good a time as ever to redesign your website.
Once the pandemic is over, you will be ready to rock and roll with a brand new site. It can help convert more users into customers and ultimately have Google pay more attention to your site if you are getting users to stick around longer.
What Should Businesses Do With Their Marketing During a Pandemic?
More than likely you’ve had to pause your traditional advertising, but you don’t necessarily have to pause your digital marketing efforts. It’s actually one of the smartest business aspects you can invest in right now. In this article, I presented many options. There is a way to help build your online presence through SEO, Paid Media Advertising, and even Web Design during this pandemic. The answer will depend on what type of business you are. If you need some guidance as to which route you should go, feel free to reach out to us for some consulting.
I’d like to leave you with a podcast shot by our CEO Kris Jones and President Chris Nash. Here they spill even more knowledge about how to navigate the pandemic. Stay safe all!