Why You’ll NEED Digital Marketing After COVID-19

At this point, it’d be hard to even make an educated guess when Coronavirus, or COVID-19, will end and we’ll all be able to go back to our normal lives. Through all of the news updates, online chatter, and governmental procedures, one thing is for sure; a lot will change.

COVID-19’s Effect On Small Businesses

To say COVID-19 has affected small businesses would be an understatement. As of April 3rd, 2020, at least 46 states and Washington D.C. have shut down non-essential businesses. As a result, 24% of small businesses have shut their doors and another 40% say they will likely follow in the upcoming weeks. This colossal impact has forced the Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer up to $2 million for each business that’s been impacted.

Here’s a list of all businesses deemed “nonessential”:

  • Theaters
  • Gyms and recreation centers
  • Salons and spas
  • Museums
  • Casinos and racetracks
  • Shopping malls
  • Bowling alleys
  • Sporting and concert venues
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Liquor stores (in certain states)
  • Industrial manufacturing (not related to essential function)
  • Construction
  • Labor unions
  • Marijuana dispensaries
  • Gun stores
  • Home office supply stores

This list includes thousands of small businesses that need their daily cash flow from operation to stay open. When forced to shutdown, 1 in 4 say they’ll permanently close within 2 months or less.


The Importance of Online Presence

The Diffusion of Innovation Theory suggests that there are 5 segments to the adoption of technology or ideas. These segments are innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. If by now, your business still has no online presence, you fall in the “laggards” segment. This means you’re in the 16% (give or take) of businesses that have still not embraced the internet as a means of doing business.

Rest assured, if you’re reading this and you have a business, you most likely already have some sort of presence online – whether that be a website, social media account, or even an online POS system like Square. Now that may have been enough 10 or even 5 years ago, but today you have to do more for your business to survive, or dare we say it… compete.

Remember how we mentioned earlier that 16% of small businesses (give or take) still have no presence online? It’s more like 46% in the U.S. alone. Congratulations, you’re already ahead of the pack! So why doesn’t it feel like it?

Most of these businesses are either brand spanking new or control very little market share, relative to small businesses of course. They operate locally and don’t really need a presence online, or do they? As we’ve seen in recent events, many of these businesses have been forced to close their “brick and mortar” doors for the foreseeable future. We bet they wish they had the online presence now. 

No one can predict the effect COVID-19 will have on small business in the coming months, but these businesses who operate with no online presence are already feeling the wrath of COVID-19 in full force. They’ve been forced to realize that the old way of doing things is just that, the old way. If they want to survive, they’ll have to embrace the online revolution wholeheartedly if they haven’t scrambled to do so yet.


Digital Marketing After COVID-19 will be a MUST

Having an online presence is not enough, you need to do more.

“I think the winners are going to be very connected. They’re going to be curated. They’re going to feel more local, they’re going to feel more personalized, and they’re going to have a better value proposition.” This is what billionaire mall owner Rick Caruso thinks businesses will have to do to adapt during and after the Coronavirus. Pay attention to the word “connected.” How can businesses stay connected?

As we mentioned earlier, 10 or maybe even 5 years ago, just having an online presence (website, social media account that’s never used, etc.) might’ve been enough, but in today’s day and age – especially after the Coronavirus – consumers need to know that you’re online. Digital marketing is what brings people to your site, lets people know you exist, gives your brand a voice, lets you know who your customers are, and gives you the power to talk to your customers.

And NO, you don’t need to be a globally scalable brand for digital marketing to be worth it. Take Jim, the local sandwich shop owner for example. Just like you, he’s already ahead of the pack with a website that showcases his menu, contact info and more. However, because of COVID-19, Jim is forced to only offer takeout options. So, Jim makes a “quarantine” specific menu featuring family meal kits and more. Jim’s loyal customers know about these options because they visit his site regularly, but what about the hundreds of other casual customers that have no idea?

Digital marketing makes it possible to reach those customers and more potential customers even if your business is a local brick and mortar store. Through advertising, SEO, social media, and email marketing, you can leverage your brand to reach people you’re missing out on everyday, whether that be globally, nationally, or even locally.

The consumer floodgates will open, like never before.

The good news is, once all of this is over, consumers will be practically begging to buy your products/services. Here’s the catch, consumer behavior will change, permanently. 

Even with everything that’s happened, consumers never stopped shopping. The only thing that’s changed is the method in which they shop. In fact, a survey shows consumers are spending 10-30% more online. A lot of when, how, and what consumers are buying is completely dependent on the Coronavirus, but some of the ways in which they’re buying will exist far after this pandemic subsides.

With this data, it’s clear that when people can’t get what they want from stores, they go online. Could this permanently change how consumers shop? It most likely will. Grocery stores are likely to be where the biggest long-term impact could occur.

Data shows that grocery delivery platforms like Instacart, Walmart Grocery, and Shipt are seeing huge surges in their sales. This is likely contributed to new users who never thought about using the service before. The thing is, once these shoppers have used the service once, they’re likely to return and eventually become loyal to the convenient, online grocery delivery method of shopping.

Although this surge in online shopping is relevant after being cooped up in our homes for however long, we’ll all need to go out when everything opens back up. Bars and restaurants will be crowded, people will be spending money in brick and mortar retail stores, salons will be booked out and much much more. 

This means people will want your products/services, but if you’re not marketing online how will they know? Say you put together a bunch of great deals to outsell your competitors. If you’re not marketing, it’s likely that only your loyal customers will know about them. You can be sure your competitors are also doing some marketing of their own. If you want to recover your losses from COVID-19 and come back stronger than ever before, you’ll need digital marketing.

The competitive landscape will be crowded.

If by now, you’ve realized that there’s huge profits to be made after COVID-19, it’s likely your competitors have too. Due to this, more businesses will come out of the gates heavily focused on ramping up their marketing spend. There’s going to be more competition than ever before by large and small businesses alike.

The only way to survive in a market like that will be to ride the wave and invest in marketing yourself. This may not be true for other channels, but with digital marketing, even a little goes a long way. Something like sending a “welcome back” email to your customer list, posting offers on your social media pages, and even investing in some online advertising will likely yield a great return on investment.


Final Thoughts

Predicting where your small business will stand after COVID-19 is next to impossible. All you can do is make sure your business is ready when the floodgates open.

If you agree and want to learn more about the digital marketing options available for your business, give JEMSU a call and see how we can help!