Coronavirus and the lockdown have had a huge impact on the world’s health and economy, but also attitudes have changed on how businesses market themselves online according to a new survey.
Advance Online in Surrey, was hearing from its clients based primarily across the South East, that as a result of the pandemic, they were looking to make changes to their business operations in their respective industries.
Post-Covid19, their clients knew they needed to communicate those changes to existing and potential customers more effectively than they were pre-lockdown, to make sure they gave their business the best chance of surviving – and the most efficient way to communicate these changes would predominantly be through their website and social media.
Wanting to know more about how the pandemic was affecting other businesses, Director Malcolm Porter created a survey to delve into what the post-Covid19 world was going to mean to business owners in terms of digital marketing and online presence.
He discovered that the main focus was for businesses to update or improve their websites with the aim of ranking on the first page of Google.Delving a little deeper, he also discovered that whilst many had some budget to do it, the majority would appreciate a buy now pay later offer or no deposit / lump sum to get them re-launched and back to trading; a bit of financial help now, to get them through these early days.
He said: “The data revealed that now more than before, businesses were aware of the importance of having a website. It was really pleasing to see that 7 out 10 of businesses had been able to keep trading and although 3 out of 10 businesses had temporarily ceased trading, none had closed permanently. The data was encouraging, in that many had the budget and a keen interest to use their websites and digital marketing to push their businesses through to survive the pandemic.”
The effect of Covid19 on business
The survey revealed that whilst more than 80% had been negatively affected by the pandemic, 70% were still able to trade and 40% of them were definitely going to be making changes to services and operations in response to the current situation.
Eight out of 10 businesses have a plan in place for recovery, with over 7 out of 10 business owners surveyed between 27th April and 7th May saying that their website would be their primary marketing focus.
Social media and ranking on the first page of Google closely followed.
Almost 10% of the businesses said they didn’t have a website – of these, the majority, 75% said they would now be getting a website. Just a handful said they still had no need for one.
Before coronavirus, just under 70% of businesses thought their website was either important or very important in promotion and generating leads – now, that figure is 86%, with the majority wanting a new website or to update their existing website with additional services or add new functionality such as ecommerce, new content, live chat and videos -with most saying they would use professional help – and had budget to do it.
A quarter said they were happy with their existing website and that no changes were required.
The majority of business owners said that it was ‘Very Important / Important’ that potential customers could find their business in the natural listings on the 1st Page of Google – though surprisingly, nearly three quarters said that they either didn’t know if their business ranked on the 1st Page of Google (44% of respondents) or that their business did not rank at all (28% of respondents).
Malcolm added: “These results highlight the significance that digital marketing will play for the majority of business owners as they try to ensure that their business continues to trade, as we all move through the various stages of recovery post Covid19.
What is crystal clear is that business owners clearly recognise the combined importance of having a great looking website that appears on the 1st page of Google.
Most business owners have told us that they believe their website is more important than ever in terms of generating leads and that the natural listings on the 1st page of Google is the single most important place for their business to be seen to generate these leads.”
Survey respondent stats:
The survey was carried out from 27th April and 7th May
104 businesses completed the survey
83% of business owners who completed the survey are either sole traders or employ up to 5 people
79% of businesses had a turnover up to £500,000
90% of the respondents are based in the South of England
70% were still trading
30% were unable to trade
Malcolm Porter from Advance Online