The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people and businesses to learn how to adapt to a crisis. For example, employees are now working from home if at all possible, and business trips and conferences have been canceled. It, therefore, follows that marketers also have to tweak their strategies to meet the changing online behavior of their customers.
Online search is now crucial as people are spending more and more time browsing the internet. Surveys have revealed that lockdown has led to a more than 70% increase in internet use. The popularity of social media platforms and apps has also risen considerably. Marketers can take advantage of this opportunity to promote their brand using paid searches.
Time to adjust your strategy
Coronavirus has had an impact on every industry, although the effects have varied. For example, the healthcare industry has suffered badly from the epidemic. While many COVID-19 patients have required hospital treatment, other people have been hesitant to seek medical help for their non-COVID-19 symptoms; instead, they look for healthcare treatment that can be delivered in their home. Studies have shown that people are increasingly receptive to telemedicine. This has in turn meant that it is now easier for healthcare providers such as GPs and nurses to offer virtual or telehealth services.
As a result, it is important for marketers to adapt their keyword research. The example provided above highlighted that people are now using different search terms for actual hospitals and clinics than for virtual health services. Consider checking this list of free SEO tools to help you search for the new keywords.
The situation for B2B firms has changed
B2B companies have different concerns compared with restaurants and other small businesses. They are not concerned about the lack of cash inflow in the next few days or weeks. Instead, they are worried about how they can recover in the months or years ahead. Often, the initial reaction is to cut their marketing budget as a cost-saving measure.
However, continuing with a paid search strategy can yield long-term positive results. During bad times such as the COVID-19 pandemic, B2B companies need to continue with brand building and the sales funnel. This approach can compensate for the loss of sales that may occur in the near future.
Financial services searches are increasing
The pandemic has caused economic hardship for both individuals and companies. This is one of the primary reasons why there has been an increase in finance-related services. Therefore, it makes sense for banks and financing companies to increase their advertising budgets. In addition, e-commerce companies that sell certain high-demand products, such as cleaning supplies, can benefit from paid searches. The adjustments these companies make are less about their offering and more about sending the right messages.
When times are tough, don’t stop your marketing campaigns.
Although COVID-19 may have caused some difficulties, this is not the time to abandon or scale down your paid search strategy. Surveys have revealed that around 8 out of 10 advertisers have postponed or cut their marketing budget due to the epidemic. However, adopting this approach will only make it difficult for you to recover once the crisis is over. Moreover, you don’t want your competitors to benefit from or monetize branded search results.
For example, the 2008 economic downturn deterred many companies from pursuing a paid ads strategy. However, the few who did persist managed to build a stronger brand. As a consequence, they emerged in a much healthier position once the crisis had passed.
Paid search has several advantages. It is often a cost-effective marketing tool and easy to implement. It also allows you to see the results in real-time so you can adjust your campaign accordingly.
Strategy for paid searches
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to adjust how they optimize their paid searches. The tactics you employ will usually depend on the industry to which you belong. For example, ads for a healthcare company will differ from those for financial service providers.
1. Adjust the message
You need to present a message that is both accurate and suitable for the current situation. For instance, in relation to COVID-19, you can update your message by informing customers about your new business hours. You can also change your CTA – ‘Visit in store’.
2. Check the tone of your message
An ad for a package holiday may be insensitive during the pandemic. To readers, it may seem as if a company is trying to profit from the crisis. You should instead create ads that focus on your brand identity and values.
3. Adapt your offering based on the situation
As discussed earlier, healthcare companies are offering virtual services, while restaurants are providing pick-ups and deliveries to clients. In addition, companies are now hosting virtual webinars rather than actual conferences. Connecting virtually has become an important means of supporting your customers.
4. Create or modify your strategies based on current digital behavior
The global quarantines and lockdowns have naturally caused internet usage to rise. Interestingly, desktop usage has increased while mobile search traffic has decreased by almost 25%. Since most people are staying at home, they are using their PCs and laptops for both work and leisure.
While mobile-friendliness is an essential element of web design, responsive online stores are much better. For example, your website can adjust its appearance regardless of whether people are viewing it on their mobile phone or their laptop.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to make painful adjustments to their strategies. However, this won’t be the last problem to arise. As a result, marketers need to be able to adapt their campaigns to current issues. When it comes to paid ads and SEO, swift action is required as things can change quickly. When crafting a message, it pays to acknowledge the difficulties felt by your customers and offer tailored solutions.