March 25, 2020

How To Market During The Coronavirus

A global pandemic has begun

People are in quarantine

Businesses and schools are being shut down 

Physical restrictions are apparent for businesses everywhere during this COVID-19 crisis. We see companies closed, businesses failing, restaurants moving to only take out and much more. During this article we are going to discuss, not only how to market through this storm, but how to come out ahead of your competition. The goal is for your business to be in a better position AFTER, than they were before. Yes, I know this sounds crazy but it’s the truth.

The Digital World

The digital world is growing faster than ever right now. People are quarantined, sitting at home, looking for distractions, and spending more time with technology.

What Does This Have To Do With Your Business? Everything! 

The world is being forced to go digital. Restaurants are now trying to set up their online deliveries (a little late if you ask me) and businesses are now running completely remotely. Since the physical realm that we interact in each day is slowing down, the digital world is speeding up. This means a few things for your business.

  1. More people will see your digital ads (if you have them)
  2. You have an opportunity to introduce more people to your brand
  3. Your business now could be a distraction from the news
  4. You have an opportunity to help others

Keep Your Customers Informed

As your business operations change, it is essential to keep your customers informed wherever they search for you. Businesses that can think on their feet and adjust to changing markets will always prosper.

Google My Business

  • Update phone number and contact info

  • Update hours and locations

  • Create a post to update users that you’re still open and/or update them about any business changes during the pandemic

Social Accounts

  • Update hours and locations that are open

  • Post something to your audiences – ensure them you’re still open, doing business online, or taking future orders.

Ad Campaigns

  • Update contact information – phone numbers, etc.

  • Update location extensions and geographic targeting

  • Update ad serving times to reflect new business hours

  • Update ads to reflect local inventory and services

COVID-19 Impact on Paid Search

The Bad News

  • Google search ad clicks have decreased by 7% since March 1st

  • Google search ad conversion rates have dropped by 21%, on average.

  • US Store Visit Conversions have fallen 90% since February.

The Good News

  • Google search ad CTRs have increased by 10%.

  • Google search CPCs have decreased by 15%

  • Consumers’ searches and preferences are shifting – not ending.

Industry Performance During COVID-19

Not all industries are seeing poor results, many are seeing performance shifts but not suffer. The performance among industries varies widely:


Better Google Performance

  • Nonprofits & Charities

  • Health & Medical

  • Business Management

  • Finance

  • Beauty & Personal Care

  • Media

  • Gifts, Greetings & Flowers


Mixed Google Performance

  • Real Estate

  • Home Improvement

  • Home Furniture & Decor

  • Automotive

  • Retail

  • Jobs & Education

  • Legal


Poor Google Performance

  • Travel & Hospitality

  • Bars, Restaurants, & Nightlife

  • Live Entertainment

  • Conferences & Events

  • Sports & Fitness

  • Building & Construction

  • Industrial & Manufacturing

Coronavirus Searches Dominate The Search Engine Results Pages (SERP)

New Searches Dominate The Search Engine Results Pages (SERP)

Typically, 15% of daily searched on Google have never occurred before. This has changed significantly during the past few weeks with new searches reaching close to 25% of all search terms in ads.

New searches serp graphic

Timely Ad Creative Changes

Given the change in your customers’ needs and sensitivities, consider revisiting your ads.

Relevant value-props and benefits

Promote more relevant value-props and benefits

  • Free or timely delivery

  • Inventory: “In stock,” “Limited Stock”, “While supplies last”

  • Local messaging

  • In-home services

  • Ads specific to different devices

Consumers have different responses to the popular imagery

Reconsider your ads including:

  • Events like “March Madness,” the Olympics, or other major timely events.

  • Creative that’s counter to social distancing – such as

    • “Out and on the go!”
    • “Your perfect getaway”
    • “Share with all your friends”
    • “Visit us” or “Shop in Store!”
  • Images including interactions like hand shakes, hugs, and high-fives.

Google prohibits advertisers from capitalizing on COVID- 19

Avoid direct references in your ads to:

  • Phrases like “COVID- 19” and “Coronavirus.”

  • Verbs like “Hoard” or “Dying”, even if intended to be figurative.

  • Special sales or promotions targeting the pandemic.

New Searches Dominate the SERP

Typically, 15% of daily searches on Google have never occurred before. During the past few weeks, these new searchers are much more common and closer to 25% off all search terms in ads are new! There are ways to take advantage of that.

  1. Review you search terms at least once a week
  2. Proactively identity new negative keyword opportunities
  3. Follow trending COVID-19 searches
  4. Refresh your ads with new messaging
trending insights coronavirus in Google trends
Free 30 minute session with marketing expert t Digital Space Marketing

During this time, I can’t help but think of my favorite salesperson. Well, it’s not exactly a salesperson because it doesn’t eat, sleep, poop, take breaks, talk back, or require a 401k matching plan. This salesperson requires no physical space, can increase in value every year, and can be sold with your business for a high multiple. So who is this salesperson?

Your Website

As screen time reaches an all time high now and will continue to do so the next few weeks, you need to go digital with your resources. Not only is your website more powerful than ever for building an audience, but your social media is as well. 

So Now What Needs To Change? 

Your mindset! First of all, you need to adapt to the technology trends. People are doing more Zoom and virtual meetings. Employees are working more remotely so understanding the best tools for working remotely, is key. You must have a growth mindset and understand that this is only temporary. There are many opportunities for your business to gain traction and for you to help others during this time but you have to be open to the idea of doing so. 

So How Should We Use Social Media And Our Websites?

Shift your focus to the top of the funnel! During this time you are going to want to create more top of the funnel ads and content. Your message might need to be different depending on your industry (more to come on messaging during this time further in this article). Now, if your website is set up properly (we will help you with this for FREE – more to come later), you will be building an audience that you can later retarget once everything gets moving again.

Create more content and lead magnets. This is a great time to generate high quality content and give it away! People are sitting around, staring at their screens, looking for content to read. Your team is sitting around and looking for things to do. You need to redirect their energy into helping the business grow! This is how you come out stronger than before! 

What Should The Messaging Be?

The messaging of your ads will need to change. Instead of offering consultations, office visits, in person meetings…etc, you will want to take a different approach. During this time, you want people to become familiar with your brand. Going after your target audience(s) with a brand awareness campaign is what we suggest.

If you are a dentist, this could be simply getting a video out to your target market of you during your quarantine or updating everyone with your favorite videos. If your website is set up properly, we could get this message in front of your entire email list through an email blast & social media. Additionally, we could re-target ALL website visitors. This would, during this time, remind them that they are there for them and ready to work when things get back to normal. People want to see you as a human. We are all in this together! 

During this time you want to focus on expanding your audience, not your profits. That requires different messaging and we can help you with this for FREE.

Right now people want engagement, socialization, and community. Since we are restricted in our physical world, the place to do this is in the digital space. Is your business getting in front of them? Are you out there with them in the digital-community? 


Right now is a great time for promotions. We can not address all types of businesses here, but if you are in retail here is a tip. If you have the ability to sell gift cards, you could discount these. That would put cash into your pockets that would later be spent at your store where hopefully your margins and upsells make up the difference of the discounts.

Small/ mid sized companies have the advantage! It’s time like these that the little guys do have an advantage. Why? Because you can pivot easier. You can move things through your systems, make quick decision, and get scrappier than the larger companies. This is your advantage so act quick! 

Give More!

Helping those around you is not only something you could do but something you should do. If you are a business that does have the ability to give, do it! We all need people who are willing to put their heads down and simply help out. A good example is Yale University giving out their most popular psychology course out for free. This is why we are offering to help for FREE. Schedule a call and we will chat all this out with you! 

Last thing, remember, this is temporary. If you don’t believe me, check out the video of the chinese medical workers who found out recently that their temporary hospital for the Corona Virus will be shut down because the number of cases have dropped so much. 

What We Can Do For You! 

The good thing for our pre-COVID-19 clients is that their marketing systems were built and are moving forward month over month. But for you who are unsure, we will help you. We know this stuff and it’s at times like this, where we need to all come together. 

  • Can you even retarget all your website visitors?
  • Does your website generate organic traffic and leads or are you dependent on other channels?
  • Are you collecting proper data and analytics? 
  • Do you have a secure website?
  • Can internet users with disabilities access your website?

Right now, we are offering completely free website marketing audits. We want to make sure your business is set up to grow through this, not just get through it. During your audit we will tell you what opportunities are available, what can be improved on your website, strategy for marketing during this time and/or anything else you want to go over. If more time is needed, we can definitely schedule more time at no cost to you!

Free website marketing audits at Digital Space Marketing