How to Build a Covid-19 Marketing Early Warning System and Action Plan

Every business is concerned about the impact that the Covid-19 virus will have on their revenue. For some, like restaurants and hotels, the answer is obvious and immediate, while for other B2B businesses the answer may not be clear for some time.

CEOs need to understand the impact that this crisis will have on their revenue in order to make good decisions about staffing, R&D investments, sales and marketing.  Predicting demand under normal circumstance is challenging, but in this rapidly changing world, it can be very difficult to create revenue estimates that are even remotely accurate.

There are two important digital marketing tools that can give CEOs an early view of how demand is changing in order to give them the insight they need. The first is Google Trends and the second is Google Analytics.

Google Trends shows the relative search traffic on a keyword phrase. Search traffic can be a proxy for total market demand that will show you how engaged the market is on a particular topic.    It does not show the actual traffic, but it can give you the total search traffic on a relatively scale of 1 to 100.

When you use Google trends, it’s important to interpret the data correctly in order to draw conclusions. The first step is to select the right keyword phrases that have enough traffic to show a meaningful trend. By selecting a group of keywords that represent your most important product or service categories, you’ll be able to see trends and use those trends to help you determine if overall demand is going up or down, and how fast it’s moving in that direction.

The second step is to use Google Analytics to access your actual website traffic and understand the impact. Google Analytics can show you how organic, direct, referral, paid and social traffic changes over time. Some of these changes are influenced by your own campaigns, so it’s important to factor this into your analysis.  For example, if you just launched a campaign for a hot new white paper, and dedicated new advertising spend to it, then you should expect higher traffic and lead flow.  If you didn’t make any changes, it’s easier to see how traffic and goal conversions change over time based on market trends.

The third step is to develop an action plan to deal with a decrease in demand.   Here are four strategies you can use to deal with lower website traffic and lead flow.

  1. Increase advertising.  Start by finding your cost per click (CPC) from your best advertising channel and use that to calculate how much you need to spend to get traffic back to pre-virus levels.   For example, if your traffic is down by 500 visits per month and your CPC is $2, then by spending $1,000 you’ll be able to restore traffic.  If your lead flow is down by 50 leads per month and your cost per lead is $50, then by spending $2,500 more per month, you’ll be able to drive leads through paid search that you are losing because organic search or direct traffic leads are down.
  2. Increase content to drive more organic traffic. Organic search traffic is a direct result of high-quality content on your website. Although it’s less predictable than advertising, SEO can also be a great way to increase organic traffic and leads. By doubling the number of blog articles you are producing, or creating new web pages, you can start to grow organic traffic from new keywords, even if the existing keyword traffic is decreasing.
  3. Send more email. Email with a good call-to-action and a high-quality offer can be a great way to drive new website traffic. This strategy starts with a high quality, opt-in email list of people who value your content.   If you have a good list and are sending email already, you may be able to drive stronger results by increasing your email velocity. For example, if you send two emails a month to your list of 10,000 and get a 2% click through rate, you’re generating 400 visits per month. If you start sending 2 more emails, you could double that traffic flow.
  4. Increase your conversion rate. If traffic is down, it’s time to get more serious about your Conversion Rate Optimization strategy in order to find the offers, messages, landing pages and headlines that work the best at driving conversions.  For example, if your traffic is down by 20%, but you can improve your conversion rate by 20%, you may not need to increase traffic at all in order to get your results back to previous levels.   Some CRO strategies that can be effective are:
    • Offer Testing – Use the offers that perform the best, not just the latest offer
    • Offer Ad Placement – Place ads for offers at the top of the page in a highly prominent position.
    • Landing Page Design – A strong landing page can improve your conversion rate and help you get more leads from a given number of visitors.
    • Chat Bot – A chatbot can turn every page into a landing page, by driving more engagement from your visitors.

These are just a few strategies that can help you turn declining direct and organic traffic visitors into more visitors and leads.

If you need help with the analysis and plan, sign up for a free consultation to help you develop a plan to improve your results.

Let’s start accelerating your success.

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