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How to keep your business growing during the COVID-19 outbreak

Using digital marketing strategies to minimise recovery times post-crisis

As the world retreats behind closed doors in a combined effort to beat coronavirus, businesses large and small find themselves in uncharted waters.

Recent financial support promised by the government has gone some way to ease the financial pressures put on businesses, but for a huge number of businesses, the situation is still far from stable and they feel pressured to cut back on outgoings.

 

In every corner of the UK, business owners are feeling tempted to pull marketing budgets during the current uncertainties. However, this route of action runs contrary to best practice from a business continuity perspective. By cutting marketing spend and dropping any external marketing support, businesses are giving themselves a steeper uphill struggle to overcome when things return to normal on the other side of this global crisis.


If you and your competitors do the same thing and pause your marketing indefinitely, then you’re all in the same leaky boat, shutting your eyes and keeping your fingers crossed that your business can ride this out. However, if just one or two competitors continue with their marketing whilst you pause yours, or if they increase their marketing spend, then they have the potential to steal your target audience away from you whilst you’ve very helpfully disappeared because, in a panic, you stopped your marketing efforts.


This especially applies to digital marketing and SEO. Because search engine rankings for websites are constantly changing and reacting, if you take your foot off the gas while others continue, your website has nowhere to go but down the rankings, wiping out months if not years of hard work and investment. This means that your business will be less visible to your target audience at exactly the time when you need to be most visible in order to build a healthy pipeline to help your business recover quickly. Digital marketing - and SEO in particular - is more vital now than ever before.


With an ever-increasing number of employees and whole businesses now working remotely, the amount of time spent online is seeing a dramatic increase. Now is the time to be making extra efforts to get your business noticed online. People may not be buying as much as usual right now, but they are hoping and planning for the future. Businesses that are putting in the effort to stay visible will be a part of that future.


Here are a few tips and strategies you or your partnered marketing agency could be utilising during this tough period to improve the chances of your business coming out the other side, not just surviving, but thriving.

1. Complete a content audit of all your assets (not only website but all marketing assets, such as that brochure redesign that has been getting put off, blog posts and white papers - now is the best time to get it all organised, collated and sorted).


Make a list of all the assets you have already and categorise them into blogs, white papers, presentations, videos, infographics, brochures etc. Put them all in a spreadsheet and begin assessing them. Look for what content was well received and think how you could repurpose the same asset into multiple assets. For example, say you have a three minute video explaining a certain process - can you expand on that in a series of blog posts? Can you make it into an infographic? Would it be suitable to split into shorter social media videos? If the answer is yes, then do it. Doing this with each of your highest quality assets can find you hundreds of new potential opportunities to utilise and improve your SEO authority.


2. Try some new types of search terms 

This might be a good time, whilst perhaps enquiries aren't as frequent as normal, to look at some new strategies and begin testing them. If you're a business that ranks ok on Google but find it difficult to rank higher in your niche, now's a great time to try new ways around the problem. Good things to try are optimising for some longer tail keywords and seeing how that affects your traffic. 15% of searches on Google are unique, meaning they've never been searched beforehand. These unique searches are perfect to target long tail keywords for. Think, instead of optimising for “how to make a paella” try optimising for “how to make a spicy chicken and chorizo paella”. There's likely to be much less competition when it comes to long tail keywords so this is a great opportunity to try a few things out and see what works for you. Getting support from an expert can really help with the creation of effective long tail keywords.


3. Clean up your online reviews 

There are hundreds of thousands of unanswered online reviews that companies haven't taken the time to reply to. Whilst it might not be worthwhile going back to your very first reviews from 5 years ago, now could be a good time to reply to some of the more recent ones. Think carefully about answering them in a thoughtful way. Whether a review is positive or negative, always aim to thank the person for taking the time to review and be as polite and helpful as you can. A company that acknowledges their mistakes and tries to fix them is much more attractive than a company who simply doesn't reply to the negative reviews. Equally, good ratings will help you get noticed on search pages if set up in rich snippets on your listing. Whilst on the subject of reviews, if you haven't got a review system currently set up, now's a great time to get one. Customers are likely to have more time on their hands, and so current happy customers may be more willing to take the time to leave your business a positive review.


4. Make sure your Google My Business page is up to date 

An effective SEO quick fix is to firstly make sure you have a Google My Business page set up, and then make sure it’s up to date. Google My Business is a great way of making it really easy for potential customers to learn more about your business in a brief and efficient way. You'll also want to update your working hours to reflect the current and ever-changing situation.


5. Start or maintain your Client Outreach Strategy 

Whether you already have an outreach strategy to help you keep in touch with your clients or whether you have yet to make one, an outreach strategy is an important part of your business survival plan. Make sure you're checking in with your customers, keeping yourself updated on their situation and also informing them of what you can do help them through this time.

This is not a time to be cutting ties with one another, this is a time to be going that extra mile to do what you can to help one another. For most businesses now, their online presence is going to be their sole connection to their customers in these hard times. Therefore, it's counterintuitive to put marketing and digital services on hold. By keeping on with your marketing efforts, you are giving yourself the best chance to not only survive this crisis but also to gain ground on your competitors.


These are just a few of the many proactive things that can be done to support your business in this time. The underlying message here is not to panic, to resist the urge to severe ties with your marketing partners, and to not reduce your marketing budget. Be strategic, not reactive.


If you have anything you'd like to discuss regarding your marketing and what to do in this time, drop us an email, we'll be happy to listen, advise, and help where we can.