How to use SEO and Digital Marketing to Mitigate Coronavirus Impact
March 23rd 2020 | By Sarah McInerney
The Government’s announcement last week that help would be available for many employers and employees facing unprecedented impact by the effects of the coronavirus situation came as relief to a lot of business owners. But what of the smaller business owner and the self-employed? Help can be more of a challenge to find when you don’t fit into a textbook company format. With this in mind, we’re taking a look at a few practical strategies you can consider if you’re in this situation yourself; strategies we hope may help your business survive the economic impact of COVID-19.
Swap panic for planning
- Plan ahead so you are ready to roll again as soon as we’re over this
- Don’t lose out to competitors who won’t be pausing campaigns
- Reduce budgets but don’t grind to a total halt
These are incredibly anxious times without a doubt, but it is not a time for panic or knee jerk reactions.
Pausing digital marketing campaigns at this time could put your business on the back foot when the time comes that our nation is in recovery from the coronavirus. And it will be in recovery, make no mistake about that. But if your marketing efforts are put on hold for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be a long uphill struggle to get back to where you are now. It could mean starting from scratch, way behind any of your competitors that took the wise decision to keep things going, even at half-mast. By this we mean yes, consider reducing your campaign budgets, but don’t ditch them altogether.
Whatever type of business you run, whatever your industry, there will likely be some loss in revenue or disruption of some kind over the next few months. The uncertainty is probably the most worrying thing. But just keep this in mind: WE WILL GET OVER THIS. In the meantime, a shift in priorities with digital marketing has got to be the wisest strategy to get you through the coronavirus situation.
Refocus your priorities
- Support rather than acquisition
- Useful content rather than sales messages
In place of focusing on growth and new customer acquisition during this time, try instead to gear your efforts towards supporting existing customers, providing them with helpful information and maintaining the brand reputation you have worked hard to build.
Sky for example has reprioritised its approach so that its primary goal is to ensure its existing customers continue to get the very best service it can provide. The company has announced that, for the time being, it is focusing its attention and resources on ensuring it does its best for existing customers.
From prioritising incoming calls to improving its online service and making sure services are kept up and running, Sky has come up with some helpful extras to improve its offering during a time when people are going to be at home a lot more, such as making Sky Go Extra available to all Sky TV customers for free, and offering free calls to UK landlines at any time of day for its Sky Talk customers. Sky Mobile customers will also receive extra data to help them keep connected.
These are great examples of how marketing efforts can be switched to suit the changing situation around coronavirus. It’s also vitally important to keep customers or clients up to date with how your business is dealing with the evolving coronavirus situation, the steps you are taking to ensure your service continues to run as smoothly as possible and reassuring information on how you are protecting the health of your staff, customers and other parties.
Many brands have set up coronavirus content hubs on their websites, directing visitors to useful, official sources that hold relevance for them. Such resources are considered helpful by visitors and being able to find all the information they need in one place is likely to be appreciated.
Here are some specific industry sector examples:
Possibly one of the most important sectors where official, factual and completely up to date information is absolutely vital at this time. Whatever expertise you can share that will help people to stay safe and well and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, do so. Making it from your own perspective will be even more helpful. For example, perhaps you are a community nurse and would like to share hand hygiene advice for carers, or you’re a pharmacist and have some useful advice on switching to digital prescriptions. Anything you can impart, providing it is based on evidenced fact, is certain to be helpful.
Health and safety
There has never been a time when comprehensive information on health and safety has been in such demand. There are numerous official resources, from the World Health Organization (WHO) video on how to protect against COVID-19 to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) latest information and advice, covering such topics as preventing the spread of the virus to safe home working practices. If you have a trusted reputation in this industry, it’s time to share your expertise and be as helpful as you can for your audience.
With travel plans disrupted, searches for information on whether policies provide cancellation cover are significantly heightened. Company owners will be wondering how their business interruption and income protection cover will work and whether they are covered for remote working. And with events being cancelled nationwide, there will be many questions circulating around event cancellation insurance. Staff may wish to know whether their home insurance is valid now they’re working from home, or whether it’s OK to drive their car to work instead of using public transport. There really is so much information that can be shared around the subject of insurance, so brokers and insurance providers will do well to publish whatever factual content they can.
Finance and accounting
In times of economic uncertainty, it is down to the finance and accounting sector to provide as much helpful and supportive information as possible. Links to Government support resources for employers and employees and expert Q&As on how these might apply to different types of businesses are going to be most welcomed. Businesses will be asking questions such as whether they can defer tax and VAT payments, and how they might access finance solutions where they are not eligible for Government support. Deliver this information and you could be helping fellow businesses to stay afloat.
Law and human resources
Uncertainty in the employment sector together with supplier-purchaser contracts potentially in jeopardy means many people will be searching for legal advice. Now is the time to help, perhaps with webinars or live Q&As together with useful guides and resource links.
Take things digital
- Online over offline marketing strategies
- Practical advice coming in our next blog
The importance of reducing social contact at this time cannot be over-emphasised. This means that digitalisation has never been so important.
A shift to online services has to be the answer wherever possible, and in many cases digital marketing will need to take precedence over traditional offline strategies. This is something we’ll delve into in detail in our next post with specific tips for various industry sectors and practical advice on what you can do to keep your business operating in a virtual world. Look out for it.
Be content wise
- Content MUST be evidenced and fact based
- Cross check sources and get professional approval
All in all be sure to remember that if you’re creating or sharing content around coronavirus and COVID-19, it’s GOT to be factual, helpful, evidence-based and authoritative. Official sources are the best links to share. Remember, the tech industry is fighting hard against coronavirus misinformation. So, ensure all your communications are relevant, fully substantiated and evidenced and fact-based. Fake news and hearsay are no help to anyone and in fact could well be dangerous.
Writers always cross check a minimum of three sources before quoting anything. Take that line and you’ll cover yourself. Better still, as Dhanya said in her misinformation post, if you’re not a professionally qualified expert yourself, get one to fact-check whatever you write.
Help is at hand
Uncertain about digital marketing and SEO during these highly challenging times? Talk to Figment. We’re here to help with practical strategies that will ensure your reputation remains buoyant and that you’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as this is all over.