Think You Should Cut Your Marketing Budget During a Pandemic? The Answer Might Surprise You…

Written by Justin Abbate

I’d like to think that’s what Thomas Paine would say if he were around today, rather than 1776. Let’s face it, the world as we know it has been turned upside down. Economies are shuttered. Entire countries are sheltered-in-place. And, here in the United States, more than 3 million people filed for unemployment in just one week. 

Not surprisingly, many businesses are confronting how to operate on thinner budgets while still maximizing efficiency. As an Account Director at a performance marketing agency, I understood the very first channel to be pulled back on certain accounts would be paid media, and so did our executive team. After numerous conversations with our clients, team, and business partners, I wanted to share some insight as to how we are strategically advising our clients through this period of uncertainty. Before going on, however, I want to stress that the magnitude of this situation is not lost on me (or our agency) and the last thing I (and we) want is to appear insensitive.

Image of the quote "These are the times that try entrepreneurs' souls."

I am terrified for all the small business owners out there. My mom is a small business owner. This agency is a small business. My hope is that reading this offers you some reassurance and guidance if you don’t have a performance marketing partner in your corner. Now is not the time to get scared and sit back. It’s time to look for the opportunities and search out ways to go on the offense.

Walnut Creek marketing experts

Strategic Insights

Since most products and services have become non-essential and consumers are not in a buying mindset (unless you sell toilet paper), it’s wasteful to spend precious business revenue on customer acquisition. But not all customer acquisition is created equal. And the economy will recover. It always has–whether it was SARS, Measles, or EbolaSo, the last thing we are telling our clients to do is completely halt all marketing operations–specifically investments in channels that tend to create the largest exponential ROI, such as search engine optimization (SEO). Companies that continue to execute on their planned content creation and optimizing (or investing in!) strategies around SEO as an acquisition channel will be poised for faster, more effective growth when we come out on the other side of this thing.

How Can We Be So Sure? People Lie — Numbers Don’t.

Similar to paid search, some accounts are seeing performance losses in the organic channel due to a drop in overall search demand. But unlike paid search and social, we are recommending continuing execution on SEO and content marketing efforts.

Talking out of both sides of my mouth you say?! Not quite. 

While organic performance has dipped, keyword rankings remain flat. In fact, Google Search Console shows a considerable drop in search impressions. Since rankings are staying the same, this is further validation that this is not an SEO/ranking issue but rather a drop in search demand due to COVID-19. Therefore, if you choose to reduce investment in your SEO and content marketing efforts, you significantly risk your organic rankings. So, once search demand returns (and it will) you will still drive considerably less organic traffic than before the pandemic began. That’s why it’s vital to maintain – if not grow – your SEO efforts.

marketing agency Walnut Creek 

What We’re Saying To Our Clients

Yes. Traffic/revenue is down right now, but if you continue to work on your content as well as onsite and offsite SEO optimization, you could continue to increase your search engine rankings. This will pay off big time once search demand for your industry increases. In fact, we are pushing our clients to double down on investments in website technical updates, content and video creation, as well as diverting budget from paid campaigns to other projects that have been tabled for various reasons like, “We don’t have time for that. Let’s get to it next month.”

Nah, nah, nah. 

Right now, all we have is time.

Reach Out To Us

The bottom line is, just do something. Take action. Go on the offensive. Don’t wait for the virus to suck the life from your business. There are plenty of opportunities to be had…you just need to know where to look. Not sure where to start? Reach out to Single Origin today!

Make the most of your digital brand.

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