Ever since COVID-19 has spread across the world, businesses left, right, and center have been fighting for their lives. Marketing is one of the industries that is built to connect brands with consumers. But as proven the past few months, marketing during a COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging.
Because who is there to connect with if the consumers don’t have money and the marketers are forced to withdraw or hold all of their marketing activities?
Digital marketing agencies the world over work day and night to grow all of their clients’ businesses, but now is an uneasy time we’re facing.
So how exactly do we navigate through this storm? How can you accomplish good marketing during a COVID-19 pandemic?
Solutions for Marketing During a COVID-19 Pandemic
“We are not immune! I have furloughed five of my PPC team, so I am feeling the pain too: 80% of MRR from PPC activity is paused at the moment. We expected this to happen. It is an easy and immediate cost-saving for our clients, and if they are unable to trade, there is no point driving the paid traffic. We see that for every $10 spent on PPC campaigns, an average customer would spend only $1-2 on SEO. Is that the long term opportunity for great businesses? The customers will come back, but for now, I’ve got bills to pay.”
Marketing Signals is a UK-based agency, and for the past few years they’ve been a successful and dynamic business. But even they suffered through rough patches when the pandemic crisis broke out. And as he says, most of the customers that are canceling and pausing their campaigns are PPC customers.
Experts’ proposed solutions can be split into two:
- Keep existing customer management up
- Looking for new businesses & winning clients
#1 Keep Existing Customer Management UpImage Credit: StartUp Nation
Customer management is important, and there’s no reason to skimp on it even in the midst of a terrible crisis across the world.
Switching from PPC to SEO
A decent tactic is to convince some of your customers to shift their investments from PPC to SEO, for the meantime. It’s a terrible waste of ad budget when no one is out and about and intent on buying anything. It’s fairly simple:
- Agencies can keep their revenue: If you can convince your client to spend an equal amount on SEO as they paid for PPC. It’s true that the 2 channels have contrasting costs of sale, but it can help funnel cash to your agency during difficult times.
- Brands making smarter moves: Investing in a long-term strategy is profitable in the long-run, with lower immediate capital investment. Clients can get stronger organic brand presence if they recognize this type of potential today.
The point is, the SEO visibility isn’t a curve that we shouldn’t be flattening at the moment. Because if we look to tomorrow’s exponential growth, SEO is one of our best answers.
Reconsidering Your Customers
Yes, it appears that saving all of your customers while marketing during a COVID-19 pandemic is critical for your business health, but Gareth actually argues that this could be your unexpected opportunity to review and reconsider your client bases. It sounds a little counter-intuitive, but hear him out:
“Perhaps, some clients who pay you more don’t necessarily bring you more profit. Maybe they are taking up more time than they should, and you are losing the opportunity to explore other customers. I know we will be using this opportunity to slim down our client base again and free up some resources to work on new projects that are probably better suited to our current skill set. This has been a great opportunity to stop and think about where we want to go as a business.”
~ Gareth Hoyle, CEO of Marketing Signals
Show Your Business’ Capabilities, but Help Others Too
This COVID-19 pandemic has triggered staff shortages in lots of marketing departments. Lots of marketing executives have been granted a leave of absence, and that usually entails managers having too much work on their hands.
They may need help with pulling statistics together, reporting, and along with other analytical tasks. Gareth actually suggests that this is where the agency and the brand can come together as one marketing team.
Of course, these kinds of strategies can only ever be used when it’s unanimously decided by the entire agency’s top management. It depends if they can see the opportunity there, and if being open-minded about the employees and the extra work is usually out of their scope.
Don’t look at this as short-term. Because if you want to work with your clients until 2021, then it’s a wise idea to keep them happy in 2020.
#2 Looking for new businesses & winning clients
Effective ways of marketing during a COVID-19 pandemic involves finding a new business (or sets of them) and/or winning new clients for you to cater to.
The trick is to find companies overspending on PPC.
In spite of this crisis, you can still probably notice companies investing aggressively and heavily in PPC marketing. It might be that their budgets haven’t been affected by much, or perhaps their current agency just isn’t good at offering advice when customers demand for the service that’s not even there.
Marketing Signals put forward a strategy that’s quite simple and takes only a couple of seconds:
- Identify a client
- Insert their domain in a keyword research tool, just like SEMrush.
- Navigate to SEMrush’s ‘Position’ tab to see where they rank for SEO
- Pay attention to those whose CPCs are $5 or more.
If they’re spending too much on PPC, but they have the evident potential to rank for the very same keywords organically, then it makes perfect sense to switch them over to SEO.
Take Over the Competition
If you think there aren’t any great opportunities lying in wait when you do marketing during a COVID-19 pandemic, then you’re wrong. Every great digital marketing company knows how it’s best to dive into it now, but dive into the crisis with your eyes wide open. This pandemic isn’t the death of marketing, and you can still succeed at advertising.
Lots of people have the budget to invest in a long-term strategy like SEO. The good news is that marketing professionals only require 10% of that to take clients’ business higher in the Google ranks. When the smoke clears and after everything is done, where do you want your clients to rank?
On the 1st page or the last?