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Digital Marketing During a Pandemic

by Dan Finney | Apr 7, 2020, 13:00 PM

How Indianapolis Businesses Should be Changing Their Strategies

Three weeks ago, businesses in Marion County did not know they would have to operate under a red travel advisory, but here we are today. Do you know what digital marketing changes you should be making right now? 

If your competitors are turning off their ads in a knee-jerk reaction, this may be a good opportunity to increase awareness of your product or service through online marketing. I’ll walk you through what BoxCrush is doing to help our clients adjust their Indianapolis digital marketing campaigns for the pandemic.

1. Review negative search terms

Coronavirus search queries are outpacing cold and flu searches by 22 times. Unless your business is providing specific pandemic relief services, you do not want these to trigger your ads by accident.

BoxCrush has prepared a list of common irrelevant COVID-19 search terms that are being used in pandemic-related searches. Every click on your ad from someone that is not going to become a customer is a wasted opportunity.

You or your digital marketing agency should be reviewing search term reports at least once a week. New relevant terms should be added to your campaigns, but more importantly, track and exclude new negative keywords that bring irrelevant traffic and cost.

2. Adjust your digital business strategy uncle-bills-curbside-pick6

BoxCrush helps retail stores respond

Online Ordering

BoxCrush has been working with Uncle Bill's Pet Centers to implement curbside pickup for eCommerce orders. Uncle Bill's has six retail locations that no longer allow in-store traffic due to current travel restrictions. Customers can now purchase pet food and toys in Uncle Bills’ online store and schedule a curbside pickup. Inventory is tracked at each store location, and that inventory data is automatically sent to the live eCommerce website.

(We will be writing more about this project in an upcoming blog. Check back here soon for an updated link).

uncle-bills-puppies3Online Pet Adoption Gallery

BoxCrush developed an online pet gallery that Uncle Bill’s uses to display photographs of each adoptable animal. Visitors can filter by breed or qualities such as shedding level or exercise and grooming requirements.

Online Tours

The Seasons of Carmel and Greenfield Village Apartments staff their local Indiana offices with friendly people who until recently offered in-person property tours and allowed residents to make payments at the desk. Now their teams use Apple FaceTime and an Android app to offer video tours. They have always offered online payment services and digital rental applications through website forms, and that aspect of their processes remains unchanged.

3. Tell your clients how you are responding to the pandemic

BoxCrush writers have been assisting our clients with messages specific to their operations. Our coding team then creates  alerts to grab visitors’ attention when they arrive at the website. The alerts help guide customers to the appropriate action.

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4. Adjust performance expectations

  • Google search ad clicks across the board have dropped by 7%; however, search click-through rates (CTR) have increased by 10%, which helps offset the decrease in clicks.

Overall interest in ads is down, but people who are still interested are more receptive to digital marketing.

  • Google search conversion rates have decreased by 21%, but the good news is the cost per click (CPC) has dropped by 15%.

If your business category is travel, hospitality, conferences, events, nightlife, or sports and fitness, the best strategy may be to hunker down, control spending, and stop ads and marketing for the time being. Search traffic in these sectors is low right now.

If your business category is classroom training, live entertainment, or restaurant, it is in your best interest to pivot and offer online services  and delivery with digital ordering. Your entire digital marketing campaign will have to be retooled to promote your changing services. dsc_0544

If your business category is nonprofit, charity, health, medical, finance, business management, beauty, personal care, media, gifts, greetings, or has an online delivery component already in place, you should be seeing a significant boost under the current conditions. Some campaigns will need to be modified to enhance performance, but consumer engagement should be high for you right now.

If your business category is real estate, home improvement, home furniture, home decoration, automotive, retail, legal, or education, the potential exists for increasing search traffic. These businesses need to do a good job of explaining how their services have changed and what they are doing to keep customers safe. For example, many retailers have announced shorter hours, to allow more time for staff to clean and disinfect surfaces.

Opportunities for local Indianapolis businesses

The current drop in conversion rates could be devastating, but ad prices have essentially gone on sale. Amazon and big-box stores have scaled back advertising on Google for the time being, creating an opportunity for local businesses that are usually priced out of ad auctions. With the right digital strategy, it is possible to capture more of the market share while decreasing costs per lead.

Are you positioned to meet the challenge?

BoxCrush can help you easily pivot your Indianapolis digital marketing strategy and web content to meet today’s challenges and opportunities. Call us at (317) 816-9353 or email us at to find out how.


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