As we rise to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19, these are surreal, challenging and downright scary times for all of us across the globe. With the majority of the world now in isolation for the foreseeable future, the online presence of your business has never been more important, or under greater scrutiny. Whilst we rightly continue to focus on the health of ourselves, those around us and the wider community, it’s important to also look at boosting the health of your company by generating new business digitally – here’s how we recommend you do it.
First up, start with your website. In a crisis, often one of the first things to go is your marketing budget. But with the Australian government currently offering support to help small businesses stay afloat during COVID-19, now’s the perfect time to give your online presence an overhaul. If you’ve previously relied on ‘walk-ins’ and kept pushing your website to the end of your to-do list, chances are you have a regret or two now. With so many people cooped up at home, online browsing (and spending – online sales are said to be up by at least 25%) is seeing a marked increase – and interestingly, desktop viewing is having a rare triumph over mobile.
As well as being a platform for sales, your website is an opportunity for potential customers to verify your credibility, with research pointing to increased consumer confidence in online purchasing decisions compared to those made in-person, as customers have had the opportunity to do comparative research around the web. It’s important to also think of the long-game – to ensure you’re in the strongest possible position when ‘normal’ life resumes, you’re going to want to up your social media and Google advertising – both of which will be accelerated if you to have a kick-ass website ready to go.
Speaking of social media – it’s a vital marketing tool for businesses during COVID-19. If you haven’t already, you should have a post on your socials that covers where your business is at with regards to COVID. Instead of sending out a generic email, your social media should convey a genuine, thoughtful message that demonstrates your brand values and speaks to your customers on a personal level. If you’re able to share information or provide services that could be useful during this time, even better – be aware of your customers’ pain-points and if you can help, do.
Next up is advertising – and specifically, Google ads. A key strength of a Google ads campaign is its flexibility – meaning you can make changes to your messaging, target audience and budget based on what’s happening in the world. Depending on the situation, we may also recommend temporarily switching from an automated bidding system to manual, since Google’s system may struggle to react quickly enough to regular changes in your market.
If your business is slowing due to COVID-19 and you need to reduce your advertising spend, we’d strongly suggest you don’t fully suspend your Google ads. In this time of lockdown there’s an increased audience searching for businesses just like yours – meaning its crucial you retain visibility. Instead of suspending activities, we recommend you instead adapt your message and target the key areas that will deliver the very best bang for your buck. Keeping at least some activity going will also retain current data and trends in your account – information that Google’s system can then use to your advantage.
Conversely, and depending on your own unique situation, this might in fact be a good time for you to increase your marketing spend. If you feel confident your business can weather the storm, you may benefit from others in your industry who choose to pause their advertising. This could lead to a lower cost for more click-traffic – gaining you a significant competitive advantage. As ever, we’d recommend you closely monitor your key metrics before considering the best course of action.
Finally, it’s important to recognise these are unchartered waters, and you may need to be flexible in your approach to marketing. Whilst you may have had a stellar campaign all set for launch on 20 April, you may well need to reassess your plans – especially if that launch was prepared before the impact of COVID-19 and is not sensitive to the current environment. Whatever you choose to do and however you choose to proceed, Sketch Corp. is operating as usual (safely, from our homes), and we’re here to discuss the very best way forward for your business.