How digital marketing helps SME business continuity during the COVID-19 crisis
By Charlie Britten
24 Mar 2020
Find out how the best digital marketing agency in the UK can offer website development, digital marketing and social media management along with great discounts to help your business not just survive the COVID-19 crisis but emerge stronger in the future.
Few companies could have imagined or been fully prepared for the sudden and dramatic changes in circumstances produced by the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on everyday life.
While many companies had been making all sorts of preparations for various potential post-Brexit scenarios, few people - apart from the ever-vigilant Bill Gates - had anticipated a global pandemic of this size, perhaps the largest and worst since the Spanish Flu of 1918-19. It may be the limited impact of past epidemics like SARS, bird flu and swine flu created far too much complacency.
Who has suffered the most?
Of course, there are some firms doing well out of the crisis, such as supermarkets and Netflix. Some other firms are managing to make adjustments, such as restaurants acting as takeaways and alcoholic beverage makers who are helping produce more hand wash gels.
However, many other firms are inevitably struggling examples include:
- Anything related to sport, from professional clubs to sellers of merchandise and matchday produce sellers
- Pubs and clubs
- Airlines and tourism
The question is, what can your firm do to keep on selling if your customers are in isolation, or at least ‘social distancing’ themselves?
Boost your online sales
Anyone selling goods or services can benefit from having a facility for online selling. If you are an e-commerce firm you will already have this, but if you are not, now may be a great time to introduce this and help keep the custom rolling in. As one of the leading firms for digital marketing for e-commerce in the UK, we can help you raise your game.
Even if you cannot offer products or services now, you could sell vouchers online so people can use them in the future.
Also, people are likely to be spending more time online, so this is the perfect time to boost your social media management. Great social media will not just help you engage with your customers - it can build up a virtual community at a time when normal interpersonal contact is minimised.
Raising awareness can be a long-term investment
As well as maintaining the means to keep serving customers now, it is worth considering the benefits of content marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO).
Good content can build up your organic presence, with strong SEO using good keywords, backlinks and authoritative, relevant content helping it increase in ranking as more and more content is posted.
This is something of a ‘slow burner’, as it can take six months for even the best SEO to reach page one of the Google rankings, but when it does it will be very effective at raising awareness of your firm, what it does and stands for, as well as engaging people in a story.
Indeed, growing awareness may be a great investment so that when people are able to resume normal life again, they can engage with your firm and what it offers after growing their awareness of it.
Is your website up to scratch?
Finally, now could be a great time to have a website audit.
· As people spend more time shopping and getting entertainment online, they may be more likely to visit your site.
· If you have had your site checked out and developed to improve user experience, you may find this situation helps you attract more custom.
· However, if your site does not offer a good user experience, you will miss a big opportunity.
How best to communicate with your customers
You will also need to make sure you communicate in the right way with your customers via online channels such as social media and email. There are some clear do’s and don’ts for this.
- Mention the virus all the time - it will distract people from your services
- Go silent - a lack of communication may make it look as if you have shut down
- Confine yourself to a list of services and facilities that are not available
- Give the impression you are doing anything to put staff or customers at extra risk
- Keep sending emails to explain you are still open for business
- Talk about the services you can still offer and how you can deliver them
- Explain how you are helping staff if they cannot work from home - this will boost your reputation as an ethically responsible firm
- Be reassuring - emphasise to your customers that you are on their side, want to support them and that this crisis will pass
How can you turn a crisis to your advantage?
"Every crisis is an opportunity” said Rahm Emanuel, a member of the Obama administration in the US. He first said this at the time of the 2008 crisis but has repeated it regarding COVID-19. His point is that the lessons to be learned from a crisis could be a catalyst for adopting sounder strategies to ensure greater protection against future problems.
For firms battling through that period, there were times when it seemed it would go on forever. But, of course, it did not and many companies emerged stronger, smarter and more resilient, just as they will this time.
How BeUniqueness can help you
At BeUniqueness, we can tailor a digital marketing strategy to your firm to meet its needs at any time. This can include a situation where more of your trading will be done online out of necessity.
To help you at a time of budgeting concerns, we can offer a 30% discount off your first purchase and 8 hours of free services a month until May 2020. Afterwards, it drops to 15% and 4 hours of free services (The free services will be valid for 6 months, only). This means we can go further to help you put in place a new strategy to boost your online impact just when you need it.
As one of the best digital marketing agencies in Manchester, we can help you not just get through the crisis but emerge in good shape ready for growth as the economy recovers.