The Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is crushing small businesses in the US and around the world. Schools, universities, government facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, businesses, large and small, all struggling to come out ahead of the virus while making every effort to keep people’s safety the number one priority. However, with every problem, there is an opportunity.
With extreme measures being implemented such as social distancing and public facilities remaining closed, construction companies or contractors are among the small businesses being impacted the most.
Many of US’s construction companies rely on Chinese or Italian made goods and materials, but the Coronavirus has tremendously impacted these countries. Because of government containment efforts, manufacturing in China and Italy has drastically declined due to a reduced labor force, which could mean a slowdown of supply to the market, and even higher material costs. For example, US contractors rely on China for steel, plumbing fixtures, and even cabinets, and on Italy for stone and tiles.
Another challenge is with restrictive travel, construction companies struggle to obtain supplies normally manufactured or shipped from China or Italy, causing them to delay or cancel in their projects.
As the spread of the virus in these countries slows down, production and labor force in factories will pick up, but it will take time.
Contractors also struggle to find work with social distancing measures being implemented. Customers are canceling scheduled jobs with greater frequency. Home or commercial construction and remodeling projects are either being canceled or being placed on hold for these reasons, as well as concerns over a failing economy on the horizon.
Times are tough for everyone, but there are marketing strategies that can be adopted to best foster growth in the weeks and months to come.
Strategies to Succeed
In the meantime, what should service contractors do to overcome these tough times? Around this time last year, we had also written an article about surviving the next recession, which is exactly what we are currently facing. The answer, work on a long-term solution that will get your business on the fast track when the crisis subsides, and consider services you can offer in the short-term that will keep your business afloat.
Whether you’re a plumber, handyman, house cleaner, damage restoration expert, or any other contractor, organic SEO is a fantastic marketing option, however, it takes time to see results via a steady stream of leads. It’s a more “long-term” strategy which many don’t have the patience for. However, during tough times like the present, the key to succeeding is having a long term strategy in place, and focus on services you can offer now and promote with a PPC campaign.
Strategies with Organic SEO:
Organic SEO is an online marketing strategy used to help your website rank at the top of the search engine results. Some of these strategies include:
- Mobile First – With over 75% of user searches being performed from their mobile device, it is essential to have a website which is first mobile-friendly. Because of higher percentage of mobile traffic, Google is making sure the search results are more catered to this group of users.
- Keyword Search – When it comes to marketing or lead generation, you don’t want just any traffic to your website. You want traffic which will potentially turn into a real client. In order to optimize the quality of traffic to your website, it is best generated when using long-tailed keywords, since that group of people knows exactly what they want and are looking for.
- User Experience – User experience refers to how every site visitor interacts with the website which includes the ease of navigating the website, the appearance, the loading speed, the engaging content, and the organization of pertinent information.
- Link Building – One of the key ranking factors is backlinks, not the quantity, but rather having quality backlinks. Having your business listed on relevant directories, third party sites, and social media channels will always help your website’s visibility. Of these channels, the most effective being an optimized Google My Business listing.
- Multimedia – Adding relevant photos, videos, blogs, or other infographics allows visitors to engage more with your site and spend more time on it. With photos and other images, it’s important to include image alt tags so Google understands what the images are trying to display.
With the domestic and global economy headed for a major downturn, contractors will be hit the hardest. Job markets and buying power will decline. Substantial layoffs are inevitable. However, it’s only temporary. Once the current situation with the Coronavirus is under control, the economy and job markets will pick up, and when they do, you want to be ready. Start planning now and beginning (or enhancing current) organic SEO efforts. You will be in much better shape in the months ahead when we are back on the rise, and you’ll be more prepared for those leads to start rolling in.
Strategies with PPC:
There are some industries that will remain busy in spite of this pandemic, such as damage restoration companies and cleaning contractors. For those in these industries, you may offer unique services which are more prevalent now than ever, in which case, Google Ads or PPC may be right for you.
For example, although the number of regular carpet and hard surface cleaning jobs have declined, we’re seeing a rise in the number of sanitizing and disinfecting calls that customers are receiving lately. Consider services you are offering that can be done outdoors, away from crowds, that will be least likely hit by a recession and consider a Google Ads campaign to highlight those services.
Combining short-and long-term strategies will give small businesses the biggest opportunity to weather the difficulties we are facing and position them to surge once the economy and the nation’s health is back on target.