The COVID 19 pandemic has caused phenomenal loss to human lives and business. Apart from the physical loss, it has dampened business sentiment like never before.

Well-laid out business plans and investment strategies, all have taken a hit not only in large enterprises located globally, but also in small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) located in Canada.

For such SMBs survival is absolutely critical. They need to stand firm in the face of the crisis and absorb its impact head-on, continue doing business in the new ‘normal’ and at the same time be ready to resume operations in a ‘business-as-usual’ manner once the pandemic blows over.

The question is how? What is the way forward? Digital marketing plays a big role here. A Calgary SEO company can help SMBs adopt a digital marketing strategy to beat COVID 19 blues.

Understanding consumer behavior
Consumer behavior has become unpredictable
This is true because over the last few months people have indulged in panic buying and hoarding. They have bought large amounts of food items and toilet paper in a knee-jerk reaction to the pandemic. Clearly, news about stores closing down and lockdowns being imposed has given rise to rumors and affected normal consumer behavior.

Consumers are deferring their demand
Consumers are using their existing resources and stocks to meet their daily needs. They are deferring demand, especially if it is for a non-essential item. Once the pandemic lessens, they would continue with their regular buying pattern, and probably buy even more than they used to.

Businesses are assessing their expenditures
Businesses too are deferring their investment decisions as demand from consumers is muted. They are evaluating their products & services to see how they can be adapted to the new ‘normal’ and the ‘changed’ market. Online businesses are offering package deals and discounts to woo their customers, whereas SMBs are reinventing themselves to cater to consumer needs during COVID19.

Consumers are demanding value for money
Money has suddenly become scarce and consumers are demanding more and more value from their service providers for every dollar spent. Be it a cash discount, or an extension in warranty, or simply free home delivery, consumers have become more demanding and willing to switch their loyalty, wherever they see a price advantage.

Digital marketing for SMBs during COVID19
Given this changing consumer behavior, digital marketing can help SMBs across all Canadian provinces get a firm grip over the market, understand and monitor key business trends, uplift market sentiment, create demand, and spur consumers to spend.

So for instance, if you are a small to mid-sized business in Alberta and have a limited budget, and yet want to maximize your ROI, then it is recommended that you work with a Calgary SEO company to define and implement your digital marketing strategy. Below are some pointers:

Re-adjust focus of digital marketing
This means focus on just the most critical aspects of digital marketing:

Display Ads & Paid Social:
You might want to discontinue with these ads, unless they are positioned around a direct response that you are expecting from your consumers.

Paid Search:
This could also be discontinued for the same reasons as above. Most companies are anyways struggling with their budgets.

Social Media:
You can lower the frequency of your posts and keep them relevant by including context to COVID19 situation.

Content Marketing:
This can carry on but try to contextualize the messaging keeping in mind the COVID19 situation.

You can continue emailing prospects, but alter the frequency of your reach outs as you deem fit and on a case-to-case basis.

SEO is a long term strategy and so you need to continue with it. This will help you once the pandemic lessens and business returns to normal. If you cut down on SEO, it will be difficult for you to retain your rankings that you have achieved with so much effort.

Capitalize on digital marketing opportunities
This is a time to capitalize as most companies are struggling due to the pandemic. There is less competition in the market and by deploying smart digital marketing tactics you can achieve quick results at a low cost.

Focus on digital ads:
This is a good time to maximize your ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) since trends indicate that CPMs and CPCs are moving down on Facebook and Google Ads due to a slash in digital marketing budgets.

Identify and target new potential customers:
The market dynamics are changing and lockdowns imposed in cities are leading to creation of new business models and emergence of new potential customers. For example virtual trainings and classes have replaced home tutoring and outdoor activities have been replaced by craft lessons that can be done at home.

Continue with your email campaigns:
Create crisp and focused email campaigns that appeal to your customers and motivate them to engage with you.

Create new content:
Continue to create brand new content and re-purpose existing content by leveraging your employees who might have more time available with them during the pandemic. For example, website content, series of blogs, or new marketing collaterals.

Build empathy in your messaging:
Focus on your messaging so that you appear as not being completely aloof of the pandemic, and as also not exploiting the lockdown situation and making a quick buck. You should come out as a company that understands and empathizes with the consumers in terms of what they need during the pandemic.

Build a road map for the future
The COVID19 pandemic will have long term repercussions, so it makes sense to re-jig your portfolio and offer those products and services that serve the needs of the new ‘normal’ world:

Be an information provider
Consumption of videos, blogs and articles has increased and it makes sense to disseminate this information from your website.

Enable the consumer become self-sufficient
Yes, this is the trend going forward. Focus on Do-It-Yourself type of scenarios with your products and services, so that consumers don’t need external help or assistance and can do things on their own.

Focus on eCommerce
Ecommerce is already seeing an explosion and will grow even further in the future. If you are not doing eCommerce, then this is the best time to start. A Calgary SEO company can easily help you with your eCommerce strategy as well.

SMBs reeling under COVID 19 impact need not despair. The times are tough no doubt, but by adopting a professional digital marketing strategy and taking an optimistic approach, they can over the impact.