The impact of the economical crisis on marketing
Let’s reveal this topic using an example of the recent COVID crisis. Companies that invest in offline marketing and advertising in an isolated environment will find that investing budgets just doesn't make sense. And what does a business do in such a case? They try to maintain online activity, in order to compensate for the losses.
It's quite possible that the advertising expenses on radio and TV will increase. It is also likely that some companies will cut marketing budgets to save money. Some industries will suffer more than others. For example, tourism, aviation, entertainment and HoReCa are already on the stopgap after the first COVID crisis. If you are in one of the hardest-hit industries, your search traffic may also decline. Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg recently echoed the opinion of many that no one knows what impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on marketing.
How to back up your search engine marketing?
We can assume that the more people work from home, the more flexible the "workday" becomes. This means that people can do personal or business searches at any time of the day or night.
Don't isolate your marketing
As with any crisis, the key is how the business responds to it. Are you calm and taking action, or panicked and paralyzed? The way a business treats marketing can either sustain or break it. It may be a good idea for many to reallocate existing marketing budgets (e.g., event or outdoor advertising budgets) to different digital channels.
10 challenges for marketers in the crisis
What should businesses consider in the current situation?
1. Know search trends.
To be more relevant to short-term SEO and PPC campaigns, be aware of what's being searched for now (we suggest using Google Trends). As a marketer, you can reap huge benefits from your SEM campaigns if you have products that people are searching for. On the other hand, if you know what type of search results are showing up for a query right now (remember: the query must be fresh), you can create relevant content to respond to it.
2. Create timely and relevant content.
What does your audience or customer want to know from you right now? Take this opportunity to communicate and provide expert, unique insight. Make sure you have a good mix of content that is "business as usual" and relevant to the crisis.
3. Reinforce your digital content.
Consider updating your business now to produce more digital content, such as podcasts and webinars, in the short and long term. If you run a business with in-person consulting or training, now is the time to move into online learning. Researchers estimate that the e-learning sector will be worth $158 billion by 2025, so now is not a bad time to do it. Lessons learned now will prove useful when you need to make them part of your business.
4. Go online.
If you are a local business or retailer, you should already be thinking. Can you move some of your business online or change your business model? Can you move in-store shopping to virtual shopping or in-store shopping to online shopping with delivery?
5. Optimize your content.
If you're creating content about COVID or about some other crisis, global situation or anything that's trending, you should increase your optimization efforts so it can be found in search results.
6. Use search engine marketing for branding and crisis communications.
Even if sales of your products and services are declining, you can use search engine marketing for branding purposes. For example, ads can point you to landing pages with key information about those products.
7. Use search engine marketing to manage reputation and credibility.
For example, there is a beer brand named Corona beer that may need to do this based on people's perceptions of its attitude toward Coronavirus. You should also keep an eye on how online sentiment might affect your trust signals during this period.
8. Stay ahead of your competitors.
If you suspend your search marketing campaigns and your competitors don't, who will be more successful when it's all over? What brands will the consumer prefer? The ones that stay in contact or the ones that are shut down?
9. Remember that SEO is a long-term strategy.
You have to stay calm and keep SEO going because Google's algorithms don't take a break during a crisis. In fact, this period may just be the opportunity you need to do the right projects (such as creating new content or server improvements) that can help your search efforts.
10. Don't buy cheap SEO.
When budgets are tight, it's tempting to look for cheaper SEO or integrated marketing services. In times like these, companies can't afford to implement search engine marketing from someone other than SEO experts. After things settle down, they will face another crisis: no rankings, no targeted traffic and possibly Google fines.
What will affect search engine marketing vendors?
Any crisis is a difficult time for marketers. For many search engine marketing companies, downsizing is inevitable during the crisis. Agencies will also have to do whatever is necessary to continue serving new and existing clients. For some, shrinking budgets may be an issue (although there is hope that clients see value in continuing search engine marketing). This means having to modify current campaigns and programs to focus on what is needed now. Some may have new strategies, while others may choose basic tactics, but not as aggressively as before.
Now is the time for all of us to be search marketing leaders. We need to create short-term solutions and future-focused strategies for our businesses and our clients. We need to be creative with our products, services and communications. We need to give the right message: that we can be successful in any crisis.