The ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is likely to cost the world economy $2 trillion, according to the UN trade agency. Other estimates suggest that Coronavirus could cost the global economy $2.7 trillion.

The situation is still developing, and the COVID-19 cases are increasing at a rapid pace throughout the world. At the moment, we cannot know for certain the economic damage this pandemic will do. 

Most governments are announcing economic relief packages to support small businesses. Just recently, the United States passed the COVID-19 CARES bill into law, which includes a $2 trillion economic stimulus package to help with the coronavirus crisis.

Regardless of this financial help, one thing is for sure: the business world is in a state of uncertainty, fear, and depression. This does not bode well for the economy.

Amidst this economic and medical crisis, businesses will be forced to change their marketing tactics, cut their advertising budget, focus on retaining current customers and converting a bigger percentage of their current leads.

In this blog post, we are going to discuss the potential economic impact of COVID-19 — especially on search and online marketing — and what marketers can do about it.

The rise of online shopping

While the situation looks bleak for business activity in general, there is a silver lining for online marketers.

A lot of business activity will shift to online because of social distancing, public lockdowns, and curfews in various parts of the world. As not everyone can freely roam and visit retail outlets and brick-and-mortar stores to purchase the products they need, a larger percentage of customers will go online to shop.

What does this mean for online marketers and businesses?

While this shift to digital likely means more business opportunities for online marketers, it also presents unique challenges and problems.

The renewed focus on digital business activity means the following for online marketers and advertisers:

  • A possibility to increase revenue by catering to a larger group of potential buyers.
  • Production of high-quality informational content at a higher frequency.
  • Cut in advertising and marketing budget.
  • Effective utilization of the marketing budget, employees, and other resources.
  • Optimization of conversion rate.
  • A more targeted email marketing campaign.
  • A renewed focus on customer happiness and retention.

Let’s discuss some of the more important points mentioned in this list and a few tips on how to be successful in these uncertain times.

1. Reduced marketing budgets and advertising cuts

In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, most companies will likely reduce their marketing budgets. More specifically, these companies will reduce the money they spend on ads.

Generally, 7 to 8 percent of gross revenue is allocated by businesses for advertising. Because of a significant cut in advertisement, businesses are likely to experience a slower growth rate, reduced revenue, and fewer marketing-qualified leads (MQLs).

Businesses and online marketers need to be strategic when dealing with this unprecedented situation.

First, make sure to identify your most profitable channels with the highest number of MQLs generated and the biggest return on investment (ROI). For example, email marketing campaigns, organic social marketing, organic traffic, referral traffic, search marketing, or paid social ads.

Once identified, those are the channels you should focus most of your time, energy, and money on.

2. Competitor analysis

At a time when you are trying to optimize every bit of tactic and cent of money, it is more important than ever to thoroughly analyze your competitors and see what they are doing right.

By analyzing your competitors, you would be able to identify their best- and worst-performing strategies and advertising channels. Based on that information, you will be able to learn from their mistakes and overtake them without spending your own limited amount of advertising money.

There are many tools that can help you do that, e.g., SpyFu, Alexa, and SEMRush.

During competitor analysis, make sure to pay special attention to the messaging of your competitors. Effective utilization of resources is an extremely crucial part now, and that happens only after successfully fine-tuning your messaging.

3. Reach out to existing customers

New customer acquisition is approximately five times more costly than retaining an existing customer. At this time of possible recession, you can’t waste money by not retaining your customers.

Reach out to your existing customers and see if they are facing any problem that you can solve. Sometimes, just establishing a communication channel and engaging with customers can go a long way.

Studies suggest that increasing customer retention by just 5 percent can increase profits from 25 percent to 95 percent.

4. Upselling

Upselling is something that you should always focus on. At this time, however, it should be considered more important than ever.

Studies suggest that selling to a new customer has an average success rate of 5 to 20 percent. On the other hand, upselling to existing customers have an average success rate of up to 60 to 70 percent.

This is a significant difference, which can have an excellent impact on the bottom line of your business.

5. Focus on high-quality content production

At this time, many businesses will reduce the amount of content they produce. If you can manage it, keep producing high-quality content.

With more people in their homes and on the internet than ever before, they will need more content and information online. If your competitors are slowing down, you can get ahead by producing higher-quality content on a more regular basis.

This will not only help you in the short run with extra traffic and potential leads, but it will also benefit you in the long run with higher search engine rankings.

6. Update old content

If producing new content is tough for you, update old content that is still relevant and has the potential of bringing targeted traffic to your website.

Log into your Google Analytics account and identify your best- and worst-performing web pages, so you can make an informed decision about which pages to update.

7. Dig up old, unpursued leads

If you have any old, unpursued leads, now is the best time to dig them up and pursue those leads. The lead-generation department is often the first one to go in times of recession. But you still need a consistent flow of MQLs to keep your revenues steady.


As we all know, this is a tough and uncertain time for everyone. Almost all countries have been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. Apart from the obvious loss of human lives and the medical emergency being experienced throughout the world, the economic impact of the pandemic is something that is yet to be fully determined.

Many businesses may have a hard time ahead, with potential downsizing and reduced marketing budgets. 

The tips mentioned in this article will, hopefully, help businesses cope with this uncertain and difficult situation.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below.