You are probably reading this from your computer system at home, with most private and government institutions declaring work-from-home arrangements to be made in the wake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, March 19, the COVID-19 has affected over 220,000 people and caused the death of over 8,800 persons across the globe.
As a result of the pandemic, countries have suspended flights into their respective geographies and asked citizens to self-isolate in case they fall ill. Trade has been affected and businesses hit. In such times, it is best not to panic and instead think up ways to brace against the emergency upon all of us.
Keep Calm and Optimize
While it is true that businesses across the spectrum have taken a hit because of coronavirus, it is not wise to withdraw your contract and put a complete stop to marketing operations in what is best termed as a knee-jerk reaction to the crisis. The move will put your business in trouble and force it into an unnecessarily long term struggle to recover.
“Organic search is a zero-sum game” – your gains or losses are balanced by the gain or losses of other companies listed on SERPs (Search-engine Results Pages). People might not be actively seeking to pay for as many products or services as they used to earlier, but they are certainly searching them online and it is best you be visible and up and running in the market to give a sense of normalcy than be off it.
Budgeting for Marketing & SEO
Around 7% to 8% of your gross revenue is the bare minimum you should spend on marketing and SEO activities, even in times of an epidemic like coronavirus. People are making purchases, despite the lockdown and you do not want to stay behind in terms of paid advertisements, especially on the internet.
If you cannot, however, afford it (because of employees staying back home or a slashing down of business operations), then cut on paid advertisement. But do not compromise on SEO and inbound marketing, both of which are long term plans. You have taken months to build quality marketing strategies and a loyal customer base. Do not desert them in times of an emergency.
Four reasons why you must continue doing SEO in times of an epidemic
- Those businesses that are cash rich are the ones that will survive this downturn. To stay ahead of the game, the best practice is to have a competent SEO strategy in place. And if you choose to go a step forward, you should generate Opt-in Emails for prospective clients. This depends on a robust SEO strategy which ensures customers, who are spending more and more time on their phones and computers because of the lockdown in their respective countries, take note of your products or services on the internet.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) helps you reach customers with immediate buying intent, something that you would want to achieve in these times of a slowdown which has in all probability forced a budget crunch at your end. Moreover, SEM shows you whether or not your strategy is successful and effective. All you have to do is look up the sales or leads in your analytics. Since buyer behaviors is sure to undergo change in the next few weeks, it will become important for you to concentrate your services and advertisement strategy on the changes in buying patterns.
- A scarcity of products has been reported from markets across cities with allegations of consumers hoarding essentials like toilet paper and sanitizer and even food items triggered by the scare caused by the pandemic. In such situations, more and more people are searching the internet for online purchases of essential items or important services. In case they cannot find those, they are searching for alternatives. But searches are going up for sure. So it is best you be visible on the internet in full force.
- Even if people are self-isolating, it is only temporary and they will need products and services in the near future. Though things are looking bad currently, the situation is bound to improve in the future and we must be prepared for that and wait for things to get to normal. SEO is the most effective way to market your business in downtimes.
Hope this helped calm you and hope this finds you well. Best, Sprout Road.
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