COVID-19: How To Keep Your Customers Informed
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a statewide stay-at-home order in March, and, as of April 2, 2020, he extended the order until May 4, 2020. For us here at Effective Web Solutions, and for many of our clients, the stay-at-home order has numerous implications, many of them uncertain and unknowable. How long will this last? What will be the effect on consumer behavior? We understand the anxiety that comes along with economic downturns, being a small business ourselves. However, we know through experience that digital marketing is more useful for small businesses now, during an economic downturn, than ever before.
How EWS Can Help Small Businesses During COVID-19
We’ve had many of our clients request website changes during this time to reflect their business’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
For example, one of our clients, Gene Shrock (owner of Collision Auto Glass & Calibration in Portland, Oregon), requested a COVID-19 update banner for his website to keep his customers informed of his business’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. As an “essential business” under the Oregon “Stay Home, Save Lives” Order, Collision Auto Glass & Calibration remains open for business and has put in place strict procedures per CDC-recommended guidelines to protect both their staff and their employees.
In addition to banners and adjustments to Google My Business listings, we here at Effective Web Solutions are taking advantage of structured data templates made explicitly by Google for businesses’ COVID-19 response updates. This way, your customers can quickly get the information they need about your business during this time, which increases conversions and reduces bounce rates on your website. Google is currently working on using structured data to show businesses’ COVID-19-related content directly in search results, which will help your customers get the critical information they need as quickly as possible during this time.
Evidence Supports Maintaining Marketing Budget During Coronavirus
While the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the economy understandably cause anxiety for many business owners, now is not the time to panic and stop digital marketing altogether. A knee-jerk reaction to an economic downturn, such as halting all SEO efforts, can have disastrous effects on a business’s ability to rebound after the crisis is over.
While the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented, periods of economic uncertainty aren’t as unusual. In 2009, amid the 2008 financial crisis, the New Yorker ran an article titled “Hanging Tough.” The article, though published more than a decade ago, addresses the importance of maintaining marketing and outreach during times of economic crises.
The Difference Between Uncertainty and Risk: An Economic Distinction
If maintaining marketing budgets is so crucial to flatten the effects of an economic downturn, why do businesses still cancel SEO contracts and reduce marketing budgets? The answer lies in a distinction the economist Frank Knight articulated between risk and uncertainty. According to Knight’s explanation, risk “describes a situation where you have a sense of what the range and likelihood of possible outcomes are. Uncertainty describes a situation where it’s not even clear what might happen, let alone how likely the possible outcomes are.”
The current COVID-19 pandemic is an uncertain situation, and it has a lot of American business owners looking for ways to reduce costs and spending. While reducing costs and spending related to ads and marketing during economic crises do end up allowing businesses to see a more significant return on capital, it also historically means that those companies will grow less quickly in the years following the recession than other competitors who spent money on advertising will (according to the Strategic Planning Institute).
How to Use SEO and Digital Marketing to Help Your Business During the COVID-19 Crisis
During this time, we are helping our clients get critical information to their customers so that they can maintain business operations as normally as possible during the stay-at-home orders, all while continuing to obtain new customer conversions and leads.
EWS owner and board member Monique Rice says, “I’ve been through a few recessions. Nothing like this, of course, but in economic downturns, there are many of our past clients who have used that time to gain market share instead of pulling back.” As an experienced digital marketing agency, we’ve found that the following three steps can help your business both during and after an economic crisis:
1. Take This Time to Create Content
Content is king on the internet. Unique, useful content can put your business ahead of your competitors in search results. Take this time and interview your employees or customers about the most common challenges encountered in your industry and how your business’s unique approach solves those challenges.
2. Keep Your Customers Informed
If you find that you are changing procedures and operating standards during the current COVID-19 crisis, make sure you are relaying that information to your customers. With social distancing measures in place all over the United States, the primary mode of communication during this time is through the internet. Contact us to place a COVID-19 update banner on your website or post a detailed description on social media accounts regarding the measures you are taking to protect your employees’ and customers’ health during this time.
3. Focus on Local SEO
Many of our clients are small businesses, so we’re experts on local SEO. Since most people are at home, they’re looking for local essential business locations so that they don’t have to travel far from home. This opportunity to ramp up your local SEO efforts won’t only pay off now, but they’ll help build a local customer base for when the economy recovers.
How Can Effective Web Solutions Help Your Small Business?
As experienced digital marketing professionals, we here at Effective Web Solutions can help you communicate with your existing customers while continuing to obtain new local leads during this tumultuous time. We pride ourselves on our ability to adapt to an ever-changing landscape on the internet.
While this crisis is unprecedented, we are confident that we can help your business weather this downturn. Call today or fill out a form to find out more about our services, including Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing, (SEM), email marketing, web design, and more!