Coronavirus is not a regular pandemic. It has affected the world on an enormous scale. It has impacted almost every aspect of our lives regardless of our age, gender and location.
It has impacted our economy so severely that almost every industry is affected somehow or the other. It is time for the brands and businesses to work together. Many small and large companies have filed for bankruptcy, and some have permanently closed their shutters. Hundreds of firms have permanently closed in the US alone since the epidemic first broke out in March 2020.
According to a survey of 130+ agencies across the globe by Uplers, 66% of agencies experienced a decrease in overall revenue. The majority, 32% of agencies that the pandemic impacted, saw a drop of up to 30% in revenue.
And last but not least, 80% of the agencies indicated that they would either explore, continue or increase outsourcing to survive and stay profitable.
We, too, believe that outsourcing can be a life-saver for many struggling agencies worldwide.
Relation Between Economic Downturn and Progressive Spending
Due to the COVID-19 related disruption, many businesses have lost their search engine visibility and online traffic overnight. They cannot sustain in this way for a long time. Businesses now need to be more aggressive since they've already lost most of the foot traffic and now depend on digital marketing to keep things afloat.
In the 20th century, businesses that transformed their strategy and restructured their spending with a progressive outlook during the downturn outpaced their competitors who hadn't. So, the companies which restricted themselves took a safe route and refrained from any progressive changes either went out of business or suffered losses.
In an interesting study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, it was found that the strategies adopted by the businesses during an economic slowdown decided their future after the recession was over. Many business leaders used such opportunities to ensure long-term gains and refocused their spending rather than cutting it severely.
11 Tips to Market Your Digital Agency in the Middle of a Pandemic
Here are some of the measures you can take to market your digital agency during the pandemic.
1. Be Sensitive to Your Customers' Needs and Situation --Help, Contribute, Offer Tips
Regardless of whether you have tested positive or not, our lives have been severely affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak at both the macro and micro levels. Now, our movements are restricted, which means we cannot meet our relatives and friends too often. Neither can we visit our favorite eating joints and restaurants or go out on weekends to the movies.
Many people are struggling emotionally, psychologically, and financially. It is time to show empathy and offer help and support during these challenging times as a business.
Tip 1: It would help if you were sensitive to your customers' situation without sound too salesy'. If you can win their hearts, sales will pour in eventually.
Tip 2: You can start by providing the essential tips and encourage more active involvement, such as contributing to the local food banks or assisting people with their medical supplies.
Tip 3: Direct, prompt, helpful, empathetic, and informative communication can do magic for your digital agency regarding client retention during an economic downturn.All your sincere and honest efforts would be paid back with gratitude by the social media audiences, and you will likely reap its benefits afterward. We never forget people or brands that helped us and stood by us during the crisis.
2. Use Social Media to Communicate With Your Customers
If you choose to be an optimist, this is the time when you can go from goodā to "great." The good news is most people can be found online as they are stuck at home.
In a world that has suddenly become an isolated place, people love to spend time on social media to stay connected with their friends and family.
Tip: Since most people are spending time online, leverage social media to communicate with them.
Always be available for your customers. Go out of your way to help them and use this time to remind them that you are always there for them. And there is no better medium than social media to do this.
3. Increase Your Website's Online Visibility To Add New Clients
As most people can be found online these days, search traffic has boosted even during the daytime. While most people stay at home, they keep looking for updates within their community and avenues for entertainment online. Gaming, searching for information and online shopping are among the other most popular activities.
Anything online these days is consumable. Therefore, it's high time for businesses to strive for top slots on Google's SERPs using SEO tactics. It is the only way people can find your business. Keeping yourself invisible on the web can be disastrous for your business as people like to order from the comfort of their homes.
Here are the top 10 ways to increase your website's visibility:
1. Target your website pages for popular keywords: Every page on your website should target a specific topic. So, first, conduct keyword research to find high-volume, intent-based and relevant keywords. Use those keywords sparingly on your web page and meta tags.
2. Make your web pages easy to crawl by Google bots: First, perform an SEO audit of your site to ensure there are no indexing errors in it. Add keywords related to your targeted topic in the meta title, URL, meta description, and image tags of your page and your web pages.
3. Create more pages: Create more blog posts and offer value addition through them. Choose popular topics and create unique, engaging content.
4. Create your profile on online directories: Increase your online footprint and create listings on online directories such as Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Manta, Local.com, and Yellow Pages, beginning with Google My Business.
5. Collaborate with influencers: Influencers and bloggers can boost your online visibility by bringing your website in front of their audiences, so leverage them aggressively.
6. Create quality content: Create quality content with compelling topics to rank higher on SERPs. Use trending topics.
7. Use Google Ads: Invest in Google ads. It will bring traffic, increase visibility for your website and help you with conversions.
8. Provide outstanding customer service: Extraordinary customer support differentiate you from the competition. It results in positive reviews by your customers, which will again boost your SEO and online visibility.
9. Post to social media: Social media channels are mighty and effective when spreading your word. So, create your social profiles on the popular channels in your niche and post frequently using social media posting tools.
10. Be shareable: Provide value addition, use compelling captions and images, and target the followers of your social media followers subscribers.
For further information on how to boost your SEO and online visibility, you can refer to these posts:
Tip 1: Increase your online visibility so more and more people can find you. The more extensive your portfolio, the more stable your agency would be.
Tip 2: Automate your routine tasks that consume your maximum time. For example, in the agency business, generating weekly, fortnightly, and monthly online marketing reports consumes a big chunk of your productive time. Your most productive employees waste hours and hours on these repetitive tasks. You can use tools like InstaReports and InstaSites, which will save you tons of time generating professional-grade reports and building niche-based websites within a few seconds. You can utilize this time to establish better communication with your clients.
4. Try Paid Advertising
Since most people spend their maximum time online, it is imperative to use PPC marketing to connect with these audiences and gain an early advantage, mainly because the cost per click is decreased across many industries.
However, it doesn't mean that every industry will perform better with Google ads during the pandemic. Specific industries such as non-profits and charities, health and medical, business management, finance, beauty and personal care, on-demand media, flowers, and gifts saw tremendous growth and an increase in conversion rate.
According to another survey, these were the top four industries that saw the highest growth during the pandemic:
However, the benchmark study released by WordStream reported mixed results in PPC performance for sectors such as real estate, home improvement, home furniture, automotive and retail jobs, and education.
The industries that were hit hard include:
- Travel and tourism
- Bars and restaurants
- Live entertainment
- Sports and fitness
- Building and construction
- Industrial and manufacturing sectors
With decreased cost per click, PPC advertising has become an attractive alternative for advertising and promotion. You can utilize this opportunity to reclaim your share of the market you lost to your competition.
According to Uplers' survey, 47% of agencies experienced a decrease in leads, whileĀ 27% saw an increase in leads during the COVID-19 pandemic. 90% of the agencies that experienced an increase in leads were proactively spending on marketing, including paid advertising.
5. Focus on Organic Rankings of your Website
If you want to score over your competition, nothing can be better than grabbing the top slots on Google SERPs. The optimization process should continue for the website and the content as a long-term strategy.
If you don't do that, the likely drop in rankings could cost your business thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Pausing your SEO campaign during the downturn is not a solution, as it becomes even more critical during tough times to strengthen your organic rankings. Make sure that you continue to rank on popular keywords. If you lose rankings during the recession, your revenue will suffer later on. If hiring SEO professionals turn out to be a costly affair, try white label SEO services and see the difference.
6. Offer Discounts, Coupons, and Build RelationshipsĀ
Never stop the momentum you build during good times, as you will be able to reap the rewards once the market starts rising again. In other words, you should utilize unique circumstances to create a loyal customer base. You can use tough times as an opportunity to show your concern for your clients by offering special discounts. It will act as a goodwill gesture from your brand and keep your revenue flowing.
As emphasized earlier, many people are online these days browsing for products and looking for discounts to save money during these uncertain times. It's the best time to engage with your customers and offer them discounts. So, instead of going for a conservative approach and keeping a low profile during uncertain times, offering discounts can ensure a steady flow of revenue to keep you in business. It will also help you bounce back faster when the market rebounds.
You can use paid advertising tactics such as pay-per-click and social media to announce these discounts and offers.
7. Pay Attention to Local SEO and Online Reviews
Since we are mostly confined to our homes, we look for supplies and services nearby. Local SEO becomes highly crucial as it helps you optimize your website for "near me" searches.
People will turn to you if you are prominently visible in local searches. People need more convenience during these challenging times, so if you can help your customers with prompt services or home delivery, they'll be happy to buy from you.
The best way to appear in local searches is to set up a Google My Business profile for your business. Google My Business is more than just a free business profile, as it allows you to increase your visibility in local searches and helps you connect with your customers across Google search and Maps. It also boosts your online reputation through positive customer reviews.
Positive reviews boost your local SEO tremendously as they help your prospective customers make a quick decision. Online reputation management will pay off many times over as it helps you to build trust around your brand, especially during these chaotic times when people prefer to read reviews before contacting a business. Providing excellent services and quality products during these times will naturally attract genuine positive reviews. A proactive approach will bring its natural rewards.
8. Be as Flexible As Possible
Flexibility and agility are the two most desired characteristics of a modern business. During an economic crisis, it becomes a decisive advantage for most small agencies and startups.
Tip: Being flexible with pricing for a limited time is a sensible step during tough times as it helps with client retention. All you need to do is to be proactive and reevaluate your contract. It helps communicate to your customers that you know the situation and value your relationship with your customers.
9. Recognize What Your Customers Expect
There are two critical things to consider while doing digital marketing for a business -- first, your customer should be able to access your information in a single click. Your clients should also get basic information about the opening hours, happy hours, and your approach to safety during the pandemic.
Are you doing anything special for your customers during the tough times? It can be disastrous for your business to be absent from social channels or unavailable through online phone or chat support. You should be able to answer people's queries quickly and clearly.
Tip: For frequently asked questions, you can use pinned posts on your social media pages. Make sure you answer your DMs quickly. If someone is not available to respond, you can use chatbots to acknowledge that you have received the message and will address the query soon.
What is an AI chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer program used to interact with website visitors, take their contact information, and refer them to the sales team. It imitates human conversation and can speak, write, or do both. So, when you open a website, a dialogue box that usually appears on the button right and looks like a human representative is trying to talk to you can be a chatbot. It's designed to assist the visitors with their basic queries about the particular business or the website.Some of the best chatbots are Lobster by EBI.AI, Chatfuel, MobileMonkey, and Aivo.
10. Add Value Wherever You Can for your Clients
Identifying areas where you can add more value to your customers can boost your prospects in difficult times. So, apart from their existing service portfolio, identify the additional services that you can offer. Indeed, it's not always possible, but if you make it a part of your mission statement, you'll soon find many avenues where you can offer value addition.
For example, if you are offering digital marketing services, you can add conversion rate optimization, reputation management, or video editing as additional services, and your clients will appreciate that.
You can occasionally offer discounts, promotions, and bundle offers to engage your customers and boost sales. Focus on increasing customer expectations while creating value-added services.
The bottom line is to make your customer happy by saving their money, helping them achieve their business goals, or making life easier for them by providing exclusive services.
11. Consider a New Niche and a Variety of Clients
While providing more value to your existing clients, you may also want to consider new niches you hadn't considered before. For example, you may have a specific lower limit for your projects in terms of revenue. Also, you may not have accepted certain business types as your clients during good times because they were either low-ticket clients or dropped off frequently. It is high time that you should start targeting those business types to maintain your cash flow and keep your agency operational.
Apart from that, you can target a new niche altogether. For example, let's suppose your client is a digital marketing agency. In that case, you can offer email marketing solutions, Web design, website development, content marketing, and social media marketing apart from the existing services you provide, such as PPC or SEO.
You can select a particular niche to target, such as:
- Real Estate
- Financial Service
It will help you position yourself as an agency specializing in one or more of these domains. This way, you'll be able to achieve a better conversion rate than if you had positioned yourself as a me tooā agency.
It is vital to have a plan during tough times. Use it as a survival kit when your major clients are either leaving or downsizing their contracts with you. Focus on maintaining cash flow even if it calls for doing what you never did before and focus on industries and clients you never considered before. Try to cut costs wherever possible and keep your agency lean, adaptable, and flexible. Your goal should be to survive the economic slowdown when the timelines are uncertain. Remember, even during a slowdown, there are businesses that are doing exceptionally well. You need to refocus your strategy and change your gears. As highlighted above, our white label platform can act as a lifesaver for digital agencies.