So many business owners and marketers have questions right now about what kind of marketing is appropriate during the COVID-19 crisis.
I’ve talked with a few dozen business owners over the past several days, and they’re all feeling the same general emotions: nervous, fearful, uncertain, skeptical, and concerned are a few words that come to mind.
On the topic of marketing, the general sentiment gets more mixed.
I’ve heard everything from, “we’re not really changing anything”, to, “we’ve put a stop on everything until we get a handle on the economic impact on our business.”
More than likely, you need to make some changes to your marketing approach in today’s economy. If you continue to run with whatever offers or promotions you had previously planned, you run the risk of appearing tone deaf or insensitive to what’s going on in the world.
The silver lining here is you might now find yourself with idle time – and you can use this time to work on some items you’ve maybe neglected in the past (like your website).
The Risks of Pausing All Marketing
Every economic downturn sees a pull-back in sales and marketing efforts for many organizations.
Keep in mind that as you pull back your sales and marketing, its likely that someone else in your industry is pushing harder in those areas, and you run the risk of losing market share.
Online, a relative newcomer in your space can overtake your online presence if you neglect your website and online visibility for a period of time.
Lastly, any existing leads in your pipeline may completely forget about your company as a result of pulling back your sales and marketing efforts. Your pipeline risks drying up over an extended period of sales and marketing blackout.
Digital Marketing Tactics Relevant in Any Economy
I wanted to put together this list of digital tactics because I think these are the channels and tactics that any service business should be working on in any economy – including the good times!
Any business that operates in a specific geographic area should be paying attention to how their business ranks in Google for specific competitive search phrases.
Google My Business is on the top of the list of online channels to dedicate attention to. Over 90% of local searches include listings from Google My Business. If your profile is not well optimized, you’ll miss out on new customers from Google My Business. I discuss several key optimization steps in my free class, “How Can Service Businesses Adapt Online in 2020?”
Local content on your website an often times overlooked as an opportunity to get new customers online, but is a critical part of doing local SEO work. Develop a separate page on your website for every location you do business. Whenever appropriate, there should also be a separate page for each service + location combination.
Local citations and directory listings on the internet are another powerful way to improve your online visibility. Google likes to see when other websites mention your business or link to your business website. If you haven’t done so recently, make sure your business is listed in every relevant national directory website and on any local business directories, such as your local TV, newspaper, and radio websites that may list businesses.
Communicating with existing customers by email is certainly NOT off-limits in these times.
You’ll just want to be mindful of the message and acknowledge the fact that some customers are struggling right now, just as your business may be.
On-site & Technical SEO
On-site SEO can be encompassed of several activities, but generally includes reviewing all of your existing website content (including page titles and meta descriptions) and making sure all of the content is well optimized to align with your target audience’s search intent.
If you find yourself with extra time right now, this is the perfect time to review your website and make sure the content you have is generating the intended result, and if not, then spend some time improving it.
The average local service business has about 15 pages of website content. This is not nearly enough to get significant online visibility in your local marketplace.
It’s relatively easy to increase your page count by developing separate pages for each of the services you provide, and also create service area pages for each of the areas you service.
FYI – How to build out your service pages is a topic I explain in greater detail in my FREE TRAINING. It’s 30 minute on-demand class you can sign up for right now.
If you feel like you’ve exhausted that avenue of content development, focus next on customer needs and answering common questions about your service. For example, “How much does _________ cost?”, or “How long does __________ take?” are common types of questions for just about any kind of service business.
Answering common questions with high quality content is a proven way to gain online authority over time.
I’ll have more on this topic in some upcoming training classes at Service Marketing School.
Looking Short-Term vs. Long-Term
If you’re struggling right now to attract customers, you’re likely not alone. The current economic conditions driven by response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the decline in revenue you’re experiencing is not unique to your business.
Most of the tactics listed above are more long-term in nature – setting your business up for higher growth opportunities once things turn around.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to pull through the tough times you’re experiencing right now. Working on the items in this article should help slingshot you back where you want your business to be once everything picks back up.