The global pandemic known as COVID-19 is affecting almost every part of life all over the world.
As the global economy reels from the impact of this disease, businesses are shifting strategies, hoarding cash and preparing for the worst.
But the reality is that businesses can thrive in downtimes.
There will be business winners and losers in this new global normal.
And many of the winners will invest heavily in search engine marketing.
Here are five reasons why you should absolutely continue search engine marketing efforts during these trying times.
1. Search Engine Marketing Can Produce Cash
During economic downtimes, cash is king.
Those that have the cash, or cash flow, to push through the hard times are the businesses that survive.
The only marketing technique that produces a better ROI than search engine marketing is an opt-in email list.
Opt-in email lists don’t grow on trees.
They must be created by generating demand – and search engine marketing is one of the best ways to create a profitable opt-in email list.
But that’s beside the point.
Search engine marketing, both paid and organic, reaches the consumer when they are in a state of need.
Forget attribution and the top of the funnel.
Search engine marketing produces sales and leads precisely because the consumer is connected with your brand when they are searching for your product or service.
People still need products and services, even if they are self-quarantined for 14 days.
In fact, when people stay home, my bet is they are going to be searching more rather than less.
By putting your brand in front of searchers, you make the cut when the buying decision is made.
Even if overall sales of your product or service go down because of the economy or the pandemic, you can offset some of your losses by investing in a comprehensive search engine marketing program that puts you in front of those that are still in a buying frame of mind.
2. Search Is Measurable
If you’ve been marketing to the top of the funnel but are experiencing a budget crunch, it makes sense that you’ll move your efforts to consumers with more immediate buying intent.
Search engine marketing does just that – but more importantly, you can prove whether you are successful.
Unlike “branding” efforts, its easy to see if search engine marketing is effective.
All you have to do is look at sales or leads in your analytics.
This allows you to pivot budget and effort when necessary.
Buyer behavior is sure to go through significant changes in the next few months.
It’s important that your marketing efforts can pivot based on data.
Search engine marketing is, by its nature, reactive.
Competent search engine marketers react to data and change tactics accordingly.
A search engine marketer may move budget to keyword phrases with stronger buyer intent, or promote content that will appeal to the current mood of the consumer.
But at the end of the day, when you don’t have a big budget, every dollar you spend needs to be effective.
With search engine marketing, you can know pretty quickly if your dollars are working for you.
3. When There Is Scarcity, People Search
There is already an indication that some goods are going to be hard to find in the near future.
Free Google Ads report finds improvements in 60 seconds
Based on actual data from your own campaigns.
I would imagine that the first ecommerce listing for “toilet paper” (FYI – it’s Amazon) is worth its weight in gold right now.
When goods are scarce, consumers will search for them.
If goods are not available, consumers will search for alternatives.
If you can be in the search results when people are searching for scarce goods or services, your business can be the recipient of a windfall.
The types of scarcity we may see in the coming months are unprecedented in most of our lifetimes.
Forward-thinking search engine marketers will be looking for opportunities to:
Capitalize on the scarcity of specific items.
Start working to rank for those items, as well as ranking in the topics around those items.
Many SEO professionals will build link building campaigns around alternatives for products that are exorbitantly expensive and hard to find.
Those that can capitalize on SEO will be better off, as the keyword costs around scarce items will most likely increase as the demand increases.
4. People Still Need Products & Services
Despite what some of the folks in my Facebook feed seem to think, the world is not coming to an end.
Humans still need products and services.
And as I’ve already stated, search engine marketing, both paid and organic, is the best way to reach consumers with buying intent.
I’m not saying that search engine marketing is always a quick fix – but you can get a Google Ads campaign up and running in a few hours or less.
When the CEO starts panicking, suggesting a search engine marketing campaign may be the best way to calm them down for a bit.
Especially if you haven’t been doing search engine marketing in the past.
5. Eventually, Things Will Get Back to Normal
Eventually, things will normalize.
It may be different, and there may be a new normal, but the world will stabilize.
And search engine marketing will still be one of the most effective ways to reach consumers.
Those that implement effective search engine marketing programs during the downtimes will be primed to clean up when things normalize.
Especially those that invest in search engine optimization.
While you can see results from SEO in a short period of time, the overall effectiveness of SEO doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes time to get an SEO campaign to run effectively.
But in the time that we are dealing with global pandemonium, a business could create an SEO campaign that will reap results for years to come.
And those results could produce the revenue your business needs to make it through the inevitable hard times that are coming.
So I encourage all businesses to either continue or start aggressive search engine marketing efforts.
Search engine marketing is the most effective way to market your business in downtimes.
We saw this to be the case in 2009, and things haven’t changed that much.
So get started today.
You’ll thank me tomorrow.