The Coronavirus outbreak has affected almost every part of life all over the world. The global economy is uncertain, and as businesses feel the impact of COVID-19, owners are being forced to work smarter and make tough decisions to prepare for these uncharted territories.
The bottom line is companies have turned to digital marketing to survive COVID-19. Moreover, in the coming months, businesses are going to become more reliant than ever on their digital marketing. For many companies, it will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through these tough times. If you have any question about whether or not you should invest in digital marketing during this pandemic, the answer is “YES!”.
Savvy investors stay calm and know the time to buy is when the market is down. This advice is 100% true and should be applied to your digital marketing budget. Engage potential customers. Get to know them. Let them get to know your brand and drive conversions for when consumers get back to work and are ready to open their wallets again.
Increase of Online Purchasing
Unfortunately, panic buying has become a real threat. The fear of running out of supplies during quarantine has become very real, and very evident in many different countries. People have started to buy essential goods and foods online as the demand has increased dramatically. Businesses selling essential items have been in a hiring frenzy trying to keep up with the high number of orders.
With priorities changing for consumers from pleasure or frivolous items to essential items, digital marketing methods do need to be altered; however, it is important to not panic and make any quick decisions. Rash decisions could harm your business. Tough decisions might have to be made…but rash decision have to be avoided!
How Can Marketing Be Profitable For Businesses During COVID-19?
Investing in digital marketing can be intimidating, but by continuing and even upgrading your marketing efforts, you will establish an online presence to sustain your business and, more importantly, strengthen your presence when these unstable times come to an end. Your return on the investment will be worth it!
With people either working from home, or not working at all, consumers RELY on the internet. Goods and services, they normally purchase in their cities, are now being searched Google and purchased online.
Companies like Google, Facebook and Yelp have offered millions to assist businesses in staying open. If these major online brands are pouring money into marketing, then so should you!
Google Offers Millions In Support of SMB, But Comes With Changes
Google has offered $340,000,000 in Ad Credits along with a larger $800,000,000+ commitment but has made some changes to Google My Business which you need to know.
As every business has taken the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of their workers, so has Google. They reduced the number of people in their offices and have prioritized Edits and Reviews:
- Temporary limitations on Google My Business
- Critical services will be prioritized and could lead to a delay in customer support
What exactly does this mean for your online presence? It means Google is focused on providing the most relevant information on Google Search and Maps. The company is dedicated to keep your consumers updated at all times and provide a way of communication to know the vital information such as operating hours, change of products, and any new notices. Learn the best new methods for Google My Business changes to avoid any disruptions to your consumers.
Temporary Google My Business Changes
One of the most important changes to note is that you are now able to change the status of your business and mark it as ‘temporarily closed’. You do not have to be concerned it will negatively impact your listing. Google has stated that moving your status during this time of crisis will NOT!
Their highest priority will be for reviews for edits critical to health-related businesses. There will be a delay in New Listings, Claims and Verifications on Google Search and Maps for all other businesses. This is tough information to accept if you are not a health-related business, when getting the correct and current information out is imperative; however, Google will prioritize review for special hours, temporary closure, business descriptions and other edits for other verified businesses.
New reviews, replies, and Q&A will not be available.
Facebook Offers $100,000,000 Cash Grants To Small Businesses
Facebook understands that businesses are experiencing disruptions. Any financial support can go a long way! Their program aims to keep your workforce strong, help with rent & operational costs, connect with more customers & support your community.
Facebook’s official statement: “Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where we operate. We’ll share more details as they become available.”
Information on applying for the grant and to fill out the application can be found here.
There also some very useful new tools and checklists that you can apply to your business in Facebook’s new COVID-19 resource hub.
Yelp Assists with Free Services Worth $25,000,000
Yelp has decided to focus its efforts on local restaurants and nightlife-related businesses with their ‘Relief Program‘:
- $100 in free search advertising to restaurant clients that offer delivery and/or take-out services
- Support to local advertisers who are struggling to pay bills
Yelp understands these types of businesses are ones that who have been hit the hardest during this coronavirus outbreak and offers additional support:
- Waiving Advertising Fees
- Advertising, Products and Services
For the restaurants and nightlife businesses who continued to stay open, they are eligible for:
- Free Page Upgrades
- Free Yelp Reservations & Waitlist (for 3 months)
Yelp has made it clear they want to help businesses impacted by COVID-19, so even if your business isn’t a restaurant or in the nightlife-related industry, reach out to Yelp if you need aid. Their Relief Program is not limited to businesses with an active Yelp Advertising Account. Learn the details of this program to ensure you are not missing out on any financial aid.
Things Will Eventually Get Back To Normal
This economic situation won’t last forever. Eventually, things will get back to normal. Speculation suggests it will be a new, slightly different kind of normal — but nevertheless, things will normalize.
The change all businesses have experienced when it comes to how to do business, will most likely stick around for the foreseeable future. Until all restrictions are lifted and we are free to roam around and be in large crowds, digital marketing will still be a crucial part of a highly effective marketing strategy. Businesses who stopped their digital marketing services due to the global pandemic will hastily be looking to restart them once business is back to normal. However, by stopping marketing efforts in the first place, they may find themselves further behind the competition, and unable to produce the same kind of results as before.
Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy, And Greedy When Others Are Fearful
Warren Buffet surely knew something about marketing. Considered one of the most successful investors in the worlds, he once quoted — “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”
Those that continue to invest in digital marketing during this downtime will be in a prime position to quickly rebound once things get back to normal. Those businesses will be able to gain customers and capture market share much more easily than those who are forced to restart their marketing campaigns from zero. Recovery will be much easier for those that continue to invest in long-term strategies like search engine optimization, content marketing, and brand building.
However, those who have neglected digital marketing during this time will find themselves in a less competitive position and may quickly find themselves having a harder time attracting customers and making sales than they did before.
Hopefully, the coronavirus pandemic passes soon enough, and will have minimal impact on our lives, our businesses and the global economy.
Test, Learn, Test, Learn & Repeat
And finally, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the current digital marketing puzzle. Businesses have all the pieces they need…. but they do not have the box of puzzle to have an idea of what they should be building!
Learn from your competitors. See what is (or what is not) working for them.
Be quick, nimble and creative. Measure your success and learn from experimenting with diverse marketing techniques. Experiments should be quick, cheap, and easy to deliver. If you need to put money in to marketing in a way you have never done before, the best choice would be to use the funding from Google, Facebook or Yelp, that is free. If it works, then well done. Continue on! If it doesn’t work so well, then stop the experiment and move on. No harm done. Be quick and be ruthless. You will have tested something, learned from it, and will move on to test something new.