In a world dominated by COVID-19, how do you navigate all the resources that are available to you. From sources telling you how productive you should be at this time to sources describing what you can do to improve your business, which source is providing valuable information? This blog dives deeper into resources that can help you and your business thrive during this time.
Why You Should Ignore the Pressure to be Productive
A slew of feelings; such as panic, grief, and anxiety, ensued upon us as COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic. Some of us may have felt anxiety about our careers and home life, others may have felt grief about the loss of freedom, and panic may have risen for your family’s safety.
As our work moved from the office to our homes, we started to see social media content filling us with a pressure to be productive. We’re at home now, there is no commute so that’s not an excuse. After all, the greats like Shakespeare wrote King Lear when they were in quarantine. Thusly, we can achieve that level of productivity as well during our self-isolation period.
The productivity pressure may be adding to the other negative feelings that you are experiencing. The Chronicle of Higher Education outlines why you should ignore the productivity pressure and take the time to understand the stages of adjustment during a crisis. Once you do, you will find that you can be productive, but you must give yourself some time. They have outlined three stages that we must go through before we start to be productive during a crisis.
The first stage is the Security Stage. Currently, we are all adjusting to the news and our new way of life. You may be feeling disoriented, lost and anxious. Now is not the time to worry about your productivity levels, you need to take the time to adjust to your new way of life and find ways to create joy and peace in your life. Focus on things like food, keeping social connections with friends and family, and fitness.
The second stage is classified as the Mental Shift. When we are in the mental shift stage a sense of security sets in. We start to adjust to our new life and start to crave more demanding challenges. Our brain is resetting to the new crisis conditions.
Embrace a New Normal
The last stage is Embrace A New Normal. We are on the other side of the shift. We have grieved our old way of life and we have begun to embrace our new normal. We can begin to be more creative and productive, and with this we start to feel normal again.
Don’t fret if you are not at the productive stage yet. You will get there just give yourself some time to adjust.
Should You Reduce Your Digital Marketing due to COVID-19.
Last week, we posted some videos and a blog about why you shouldn’t stop your digital marketing efforts. We take the time to further discuss why digital marketing is an asset during this time, and where to shift your attention to better reach your clients.
As discussed last week there are industries that are seeing a large shift in their online traffic. Essential services are flourishing, along with other products and services that can help make this time easier. Non-essential products and services have seen a reduction in their online traffic but don’t worry, take this time to develop other areas of your business. We dive deeper into the next steps for your business.
Block IP Addresses
Website traffic is going to be skewed at this time. As your employees work from home, new IP addresses are going to be visiting your website. Thusly, your “internal traffic is not internal”. Take the time to block your employees home IP addresses and add annotations to your Google Analytics Account. This ensures that the traffic you are seeing is accurate.
Modify Ad Spend
If your company offers products and services that are essential up your ad spend so you appear at the top of a potential client’s search. If you choose to up your ad spend, keep a close eye on your return on ad spend to ensure that you are spending money appropriately.
If your products or services are non-essential, reduce your ad spend at this time. If your product or service is not a top priority you can reduce ad spend and focus on other areas of the business. Such as creating organic growth.
Use Manual Bidding
This time is uncertain, don’t simply rely on the automated times of before. Using manual bidding can help your business use ad spend appropriately. Reevaluate your max cost-per-click, shift your budget, change your bids and tweak campaigns daily. Adjust, adapt and prosper by using manual bidding.
Maximize the use of email marketing. Email is cheap and effective. Use it to update clients on your hours of operation and COVID-19 practices. A brand that provides value and instills trust into their clients will be creating a loyal following of clients that will pay dividends during more certain times.
No Hard Selling
Even though your business is a non-essential product or service now is not the time to be hard selling or promoting COVID-19 sales. Clients don’t want to be pushed into purchasing unnecessary products, they want to be assured that you as a brand are there for them. Now is the time to work on improving your business, creating brand awareness and working on your organic search results.
Continue SEO and Content Marketing
As we mentioned last week, now is the time to work on your business. Continue to update your content marketing and continuously optimize keywords. Search demand will return to normal; you want to keep your rankings high, so you can drive organic traffic once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Business
Different industries are experiencing varying levels of traffic. Last week we focused on a high-level overview of what is happening in different industries. Today we are taking a closer look at which industries are up, down and those industries that are in between. Yelp has collected web traffic from March 1 to 22.
Food & Drink
As anticipated the food & drink industry as seen an increase in consumers sourcing food from local sources and farms. With everyone at home, and small businesses feeling the largest impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are looking to support their local community. When you support local, you are supporting your neighbours.
Community supported agriculture, imported food stores and takeout or delivery is seeing increases in business (167%, 172% and 53% respectively). At the other end, dining options that encourage bringing people together; such as buffets and food courts, breweries, French restaurants and coffee roasteries are down (32%, 57%, 45% and 43% respectively).
With people spending all their time at home, they need to find creative ways to get active. Activities that follow the governmental guidelines of social distancing has seen an increase in traffic. Fitness and exercise equipment, hiking and mountain biking have seen an increase of 162%, 135% and 119% respectively.
Other sources of entertainment such as videos and video game rentals are up by 41%.
Activities that encourage mass gatherings has seen a decrease in traffic such as personal trainers, yoga, amusement parks and flea markets (51%, 51%, 44% and 35% respectively).
With the new government regulations, and tax season being extended there was a decrease of 26% in tax services, and a decrease of 22% for mortgage lenders.
COVID-19 has surely caused financial strain on us all, on the other end check cashing and pay day loans as gone up by 37%.
Google Ad Credits
Google has pledged $340 million in Google Ad credits to help support small and medium sized business. These ad credits can be used by “eligible advertisers” and can be used throughout 2020 across Google’s ecosystem (search, display and YouTube). To be eligible you must have had an active Google Ads account since January 1st of 2019.
The details of Google Ad credits are still unknown such as; how much a typical business will receive, breadth of coverage and when these credits come into effect. Stay tuned for more information.
Limited Google My Business Functionality
As we all try to follow social distancing rules, Google has also announced measures that will reduce the number of people in their offices. As Google employees start to work from home, there will be temporary limitations and delays in their support.
What to expect from Google
- Google will focus on the quality and reliability of information in Google Search and Maps
- Priority is given to health-related businesses
- Prioritize updates on hours, temporary closures, business descriptions and business attributes
- Expect delays for non-critical edits
What to Do with The Kids
Since many of us have more time on our hands and may be struggling with keeping the family engaged. Or perhaps even want to connect and hang out with loved ones that can’t be in the same home with us. There are many resources available online to help you stay connected., such as online games. Tabletopia is an online gaming resource that allows you to play games remotely on your phone.