With the coronavirus outbreak sweeping across the nation., businesses throughout the U.S. are being hit hard. While essential businesses — like pharmacies and grocery stores — are actually flourishing, restaurants, retail stores, and more are seeing large decreases in performance during these uncertain times.
As a result, small business owners are scrambling to find ways to offset their loss in revenue by cutting costs. Unfortunately, some are strongly considering scaling back their digital marketing efforts, which can be a big mistake. Here are 4 facts small businesses should consider before pausing or stopping their digital marketing efforts
Skewed Analytics Data
Before the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses had a filter in place to ensure their traffic numbers only included real website visitors. This meant employees were not counted in analytics metrics as they were seen as internal traffic.
However, with most or all of your staff now working remotely, the traffic numbers you’re currently seeing are likely skewed. This makes it nearly impossible to distinguish actual traffic (aka potential customers) from your own employees unless they’re using a VPN or a remote network connection. With this in mind, it’s best to avoid measuring the success of your SEO efforts or PPC campaigns based on traffic alone.
Reducing Paid Ad Spend
There’s no way around it, unless your business is considered essential, you’re going to need to reduce your paid advertising budget during the COVID-19 outbreak. Demand for non-essential products or services is, unsurprisingly, low at this point in time, so getting a positive ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) is next to impossible without decreasing your budget.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that bids in every industry are lower than they have ever been, especially on platforms like Google. This is most likely due to advertisers making fewer bids and scaling back their own budgets. Regardless, this can present an opportunity for your business (depending on what you’re selling) to yield more clicks for less on your advertisements. You’ll likely need to be more hands-on than ever before, though, as you will need to closely monitor each campaign’s performance to ensure a positive ROAS.
Rethinking Email Marketing Efforts
Email marketing has always been an effective and affordable way to reach customers. However, now more than ever businesses are leaning on email to communicate serious brand messages as it relates to COVID-19.
For some, this can be as simple as letting your customers know that you’re still selling your products while your brick-and-mortar locations are closed. If you don’t have a physical store, assuring customers that you’re there for them and their families can do the trick as well.
Just make sure you empathize with your customers who may be going through a difficult time due to the pandemic, and let them know what your business is doing to ensure their safety. Avoid hard-selling special COVID-19 promotions or free shipping, though, as these efforts may come off as insensitive and out of touch.
Focusing on SEO and Content Marketing
As expected, organic search volume is down across the board at this point in time. However, it’s important that businesses continue on with their SEO and content marketing efforts to avoid losing ranking when things go back to normal.
Posting valuable content on a regular basis will only benefit your website once the demand for non-essential products/services returns (and it will). Keep in mind, any dip in traffic is not an SEO issue but rather a lack of search volume during a global pandemic. Giving up on building your organic rankings could lead to taking a significant loss when it comes to your positions on search engine results pages once COVID-19 is no longer an issue.
What’s the Takeaway?
It’s impossible to predict when the impact of COVID-19 will cease to be a problem for businesses around the world. However, businesses that are mindful and prioritize the safety of their customers and staff stand a good chance when it comes to quickly rebounding after the pandemic is over.
Until then, it’s important to pay close attention to your digital marketing efforts to ensure you’re putting your focus on the right strategies. The best way to do this is to partner with a digital marketing team — like Venture Digital — who can help properly maintain your existing campaigns. Contact us today to get started or call (714) 656-7281.