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Reducing digital marketing due to COVID-19? Read this first

In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, search demand is down. If your company’s product or service isn’t deemed an “essential need” than you may want to consider pulling back on your paid spend.

Failure to reduce spend can make even the most profitable campaigns turn negative for return on ad spend (ROAS). Proceed with caution if you know your product/service isn’t a top priority for your consumers right now. Remember people are thinking about supplies for when they are sitting around in their home initially. Once the new normal kicks in and people get bored at staying at home e-commerce is expected to kick back in for certain products.

On the flip side, bids in many industries are lower than they’ve ever been. This is likely due to advertisers making fewer bids and cutting their budgets. But if your company is selling product/services that still have demand at this time, you should be looking to maximize your ad spend.

Maximize email

Email is cheap AND effective. Considering you can’t impact search demand—leading you to potentially decrease paid search/media—you may be able to claw back some scale with email campaigns. For some industries, it’s as simple as reminding customers that despite brick and motor stores being closed, they can still get all their needs met online.

Remember to be mindful of the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure your clients/customers that you are here to help. This isn’t the time to hard sell or promote special COVID-19 “deals.”

Email isn't enough to make up for recent losses but brans that show value and instill trust from their clients will pay dividends when times are back to normal.

Drive SEO and content marketing

Like paid search, teams everywhere are seeing performance losses in the organic channel due to a drop in overall search demand. Unlike paid search/social, I recommend continuing your execution on SEO and content marketing efforts.

In reviewing over a dozen websites whose organic performance has dropped, most have flat keyword rankings. Google Search Console also shows a considerable drop in search impressions despite rankings staying the same. This further validates that this is not an SEO/ranking issue but rather a drop in search demand due to COVID-19.

If you choose to reduce spend in your SEO and content marketing efforts, you significantly risk your organic rankings. Once search demand returns (and it will) you will still drive considerably less organic traffic than before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Right now, it’s vital to maintain & grow – your SEO campaign.

Stay safe, be kind and market efficiently

In these times of uncertainty, businesses need to prioritize consumers and employees’ safety. Be kind and aware of the situation. The brands that do this best will undoubtedly rebound most quickly once the COVID-19 pandemic retreats. Until then, be critical of your digital marketing efforts and double down on lean effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

These tough times are temporary. For evidence look at every single crisis that has happened in the United States since 1900, the crisis recovered. People were under the belief that things would never turn around, and today we are in the same situation.

During these turbulent times, prepare, learn and refine. Though revenues are down, double down on your brand, customers, messaging and purpose.

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