9 Key Steps for Businesses to Weather the Economic Storm

Weather the economic storm
This article is constantly being updated. Please bookmark.
Current clients: we're doing fine here at O8. Learn more.

What can small-to-large businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations do to make the best of the current situation? How we manage the chaos in these uncertain times will ultimately determine our success or failure. Here are 9 key steps to help you find success.

9 Key Steps for Managing COVID-19 Economic Impact

  1. Do Better Remote Work
  2. Adapt to the New Online Life
  3. Replace In-Person Events With Online Alternatives
  4. Implement a Digital-Forward Strategy
  5. Raise The Bar on ROI From Marketing Spend
  6. Think Before Chopping Your Marketing Team
  7. Focus on Your Local Online Presence 
  8. Batten Down the Hatches
  9. Look Toward the Future

But first, what is the current situation?

Our Current Perspective

Seth Viebrock, Founder and CEO at O8
Seth Viebrock, CEO

As a strategic digital agency, we are poised to offer knowledge and advice that can save entire businesses during these troubled times. I do not take this lightly. 

We are also an SMB, a small-to-medium business with 1 to 999 employees – as you may be too – trying to pivot and stay healthy during these uncertain times. We're in this together – let's help each other out. 

While many are struggling, we have to think smart, strategically, and dial back the panic as much as we can. An HBR study found that firms that cut costs faster and deeper during a recession don't necessarily flourish. They have the lowest probability (21%) of pulling ahead of the competition after the recession is over.

While no one can predict the future right now, we can certainly try by consolidating all we know from scientists, public health experts, and those who study pandemics. That's why we added a section called "Look Toward the Future" – we all have to find a way to look forward through the difficult times.

We are offering $2000 in free digital marketing services for businesses impacted by COVID-19.

1. Do Better Remote Work

The coronavirus has forced a large part of the Western world to work from home. This is new for some, not-so-new for others, but it involves processes and an artform that can be constantly improved.

Why Do I Know?

I have been working remotely since 2006. Since I founded this company in 2010, we have been featured in Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the forerunners in remote work. We have learned a lot about what works well, and what doesn't. We have time-tested a variety of tools and demoed most of the alternatives out there.

I'm going to list the tools, tips, and insights we have collected over the last 10 years. We receive zero commissions – we simply want you to succeed during these tough times and quickly navigate the dizzying array of choices. These are all good, smart, safe choices. Don't get suck in analysis paralysis -- get signed up, test it out, see if you like it, then get things moving: now is the time to act. 

Read More 

 

2. Adapt to the New Online Life

People are social creatures by nature, and the disruption to that by COVID-19 has drastically changed how people live their lives online, what they spend time on, what platforms they use, and how they interact.

The implicit tragedy has also shifted the way we should talk to each other and show empathy for people in a wide variety of situations, i.e. how we reach out to each other,  our advertising messages, and how we avoid being "tone deaf" in general across all media.

Read More

 

3. Replace In-Person Events With Online Alternatives

Everything from networkers to conferences to fundraisers are being moved online. Previously held beliefs about why events "had to be" held in-person are dissipating as people find new ways to interact online.

How Have Needs Changed?

Right now, people are craving human-to-human social interaction, idea-sharing, collaboration, networking, and face-to-face contact.

For more simplistic event structures, such as meetings, smaller gatherings, and certain types of webinars, we recommend Zoom + Breakout Rooms for events and meetings with less than 200 people, and Zoom Webinars for webinars and larger events.

Read on for more information about recommended event structure, or if you are attempting to emulate more complex events such as a conference, or looking to replace social functions like networkers and meetups. We also discuss social media as part of your event strategy, including hashtags and various live-streaming options.

Read More

 

4. Implement a Digital-Forward Strategy

What is a digital-forward strategy? The world changed almost in the blink of an eye, and will continue to change as this pandemic impacts the world. Everyone, everywhere, will be more digital once this pandemic gets under control. The degree which you embrace this now will determine your future success.

What this all looks like from a technical, marketing, and strategic perspective is what we are calling #TheNewMix. While we don't like creating hashtags from disasters, they can help people think about an important new concept that we all have to understand in order to adapt. The faster you can adapt, the better off you and the livelihood of your company or organization will be.

Read More

 

5. Raise The Bar on ROI From Marketing Spend

As an experienced marketing professional and owner of a digital agency, we list and delve into the 6 most common pitfalls we see in a company’s marketing efforts that are killing its competitiveness, efficiency, and ROI from marketing spend. 

Read More

 

6. Think Before Chopping Your Marketing Team

Right now, it can be tempting to consider outsourcing in order to reduce costs. While that can work in some areas of your business operations, it can be a disaster for your marketing department. There is actually an alternative called "nearsourcing" that can help your marketing team adapt, thrive, and drive ROI during uncertain times.  

While nearsourcing can reduce costs as you scale and grow by avoiding or delaying the need for new hires, it can also be used to fill gaps if you do have to reduce or furlough staff in order to cut costs during these difficult times.

Outsourcing: The Quality Factor

It is difficult to tell which outsourcing companies provide quality, and at what standards. Low-quality standards could harm your brand if not attained. Furthermore, cost-benefit and ROI questions are sometimes difficult to answer. 

Have you ever tried to outsource paid advertising to a consultant or company without a firm grasp of the English language, let alone storytelling, advertising principles, creative design, and other must-haves for a successful ad that doesn’t just completely waste ad dollars? If so, you understand the huge risk of lower quality standards in outsourcing.

Multiple Vendors Can Be Just as Bad as Outsourcing

We have seen companies fire entire marketing teams because they outsourced so much of the work to vendors. These vendors rarely communicate and share knowledge, let alone act as a true extension of your team.

This causes inefficiency to skyrocket, results to plummet, and costs to soar. At a certain point, the CEO asks the marketing team, "what are you actually doing here?"

We call this inefficiency "vendor spaghetti." Nearsourcing with a fractional team is the best solution to vendor spaghetti.   

Nearsourcing: The Intelligent Alternative

Nearsourcing doesn't pull business-critical operations or components out of your company and hand it over to someone else – instead, it enhances and amplifies what you already have. Outsourcing is usually focused on reducing costs rather than amplifying your growth as a company. Think of it as a "fractional team" that you bring in to extend or fill gaps in your existing team.

Read More

 

7. Focus on Your Local Online Presence

Many businesses have been negatively affected or even closed down by the pandemic and government decrees. However, many can pivot and adjust. 

Whether your business is a pet store offering cuddly companions during the pandemic, or a healthcare services provider, grocer, restaurant, or any other establishment that may be able to weather the storm, people will and want to buy local, and they will certainly move their purchasing activity online. 

Read More

 

8. Batten Down The Hatches

There are certain steps you can take to "batten down the hatches" and tie up loose ends that could be harmful in a more vulnerable situation:

  1. Bulletproof your team and business operations.
  2. Contingency planning
    1. In case key players at your company get sick (including the CEO) or things get worse.
  3. Use available resources
    1. Monitor the SBA's disaster assistance program if funding gets tight.
      1. As of 3/31/2020 they are offering a $10,000 advance for those who need funds quickly.
    2. Monitor your local office of employment and economic development. Here is the office from our state, Minnesota.
  4. Stay secure and up-to-date.
    1. People will have both (1) more time, and (2) increased economic inequality and need, which is a breeding ground for hacking and malevolent behavior.
    2. Protect yourself. Keep your web presence and IT infrastructure secure and up to date.

Finally, take a moment to plan or the future, no matter how uncertain. By the time this epidemic is done, you want to be ahead of your competitors and have your infrastructure set to thrive and grow. This will not last forever. Focus on what you can do now, what you can grow, what you can improve, and use this different but valuable time wisely.

Look Toward The Future

We have been tracking scientists, public health officials, and people who study pandemics like Bill Gates. We are also looking at the data, and learning as much as we can. 

None of us can predict the future with great accuracy at this point – not even the WHO, CDC, or the greatest scientists in the world – but there are certain things we do know.

Learn More

 

Top 10 Reasons to Outsource Your SEO in 2020

SEO

So much to do, so little time to get it done.

This is true for any digital marketing effort your business chooses to undertake, regardless of company size or industry.

Busy work

​Search engine optimization (SEO) can be particularly complex because of the fierce competition surrounding those top spots on results pages. Juggling expectations about time, money and human resources devoted to this service can be one of the most difficult challenges for anyone trying to break through and excel in a saturated digital landscape, which is why companies often choose to bring in outside help to get things done quickly and at lower costs. 

There is often some apprehension and worry when it comes to outsourcing any aspect of a business. This is because it means you will need to instill your trust in a third party. The concern is understandable, but that just means that any company considering this move should only use qualified and proven providers.

It's worth it.

Outsourcing something as monumental as SEO can have an incredible impact on your business and the levels of productivity for your in-house marketing team. It is not a quick win – it's a long game – but it is definitely a rewarding game worth playing.

These are the top 10 reasons why any company serious about their digital marketing should consider outsourcing their SEO efforts:

  1. Saves valuable time
  2. Saves money
  3. Hit the ground running with optimized content
  4. Little to no learning curve
  5. Provides access to a greater network of trained SEO professionals, tools and resources 
  6. Reduce tedious work
  7. Ensures your data is being continuously measured and improved
  8. Boosts your competitive advantage by using a dedicated team to keep up with SEO trends and changes
  9. Delivers faster results
  10. You get expert, data-backed insight and advice from an outside perspective

With all these benefits at hand when outsourcing SEO services from an agency, the pros far outweigh the cons. Let us take the time to explore each of these at length:

1. Get Back Valuable Time

This is the first and most basic benefit of outsourcing your SEO efforts because optimizing those pages and the content to rank higher on result pages takes a lot of time. Especially if those handling it are not highly experienced. Having seasoned professionals assume this role for your digital marketing campaigns will save your company some much needed time. 

2. Save $

Piggy bank

SEO is difficult and complex. If you want it done right you will need someone with years of experience or a team of diverse professionals that specialize in specific areas. This means that handling the work in-house will cost a pretty penny. Outsourcing SEO services will provide your company with an entire team of experts for considerably less than it would cost to house them within your own walls.

Agencies can afford to provide clients with lower prices because their work model has them encompassing a large body of clients, which means they can run costs down in order to become the most viable alternative for companies wishing to adopt a more austere financial posture.

Not sure about your SEO?

3. Hit the Ground Running

Digital agencies – and, in this case, SEO service providers – have large teams with years of experience to their name. They also have a model of work that allows these experts to quickly absorb the information needed and immediately put their ample skillset to the test.

In other words, by outsourcing SEO you know that the work will begin immediately, instead of facing the usual delays that come from pre-planning and planning before execution.

After all, less experienced professionals will still need time to learn and work things out before they even start, whereas proven SEO professionals face…

4. Little to No Learning Curve

If your company is just starting out with SEO and you can’t afford to hire a seasoned digital marketing veteran, chances are the people who take on the task will spend quite a bit of time simply learning the ropes, taking away time from content optimization and the generation of material in general.

SEO experts are, well, experts. They know their way around SEO and all its common challenges. This means they won't waste time having to learn anything new. They are ready right off the bat.

 5. Gain A Large Digital Marketing Network

Digital network

SEO is usually part of a larger set of services offered by digital marketing agencies. In most cases, these agencies employ professionals with different areas of specialization who work together. This means that when your company outsources SEO services, it gains access to a whole network of digital experts, tools, and resources to help with your needs.

Discover our SEO services

6. Spare Your In-House Team 

Burnout is a real problem. Overworking people and forcing them to do menial tasks repeatedly can and will have an emotional and psychological impact on their state of mind and productivity.

After a while, SEO work can, in fact, become monotonous. Keyword research requires long hours combing through pieces of content about the same topic and running through huge lists of phrases, investigating their search volume, and how they perform. Over and over again.

When you have a full team handling the work, you resolve the issue by rotating them every so often. But what happens when the team is small or composed of only a single individual?

Sparing your in-house marketing team from this type of work by outsourcing SEO will make them happier, and it will let you assign them to other tasks. There are several other areas of digital marketing that also require your team’s attention. By removing the tedious demands of SEO from their plate, they're free to focus on those other things, further optimizing the use of your in-house resources.

7. Improve Continuously 

Optimization efforts should be continually measured, tested, and improved over time. It is extremely advantageous to have a dedicated team ensuring your success in the ever-changing world of SEO to propel you ahead of the competition.

8. Keep Up With Trends and Tools

Marketing trends

Proper SEO requires the use of several different tools and an understanding of shifting trends. For example, Google changes its search algorithm around 500 times per year. In most cases, the changes are minor but still important.

SEO agencies are always keeping up with changes in the industry and all the new tools available. They have to. This is their bread and butter. By outsourcing, your company gains access to a constantly updated source of information.

9. Enjoy Faster Results

SEO can take time – research, implementation, and waiting for results to show will put your patience to the test.

Outsourcing your SEO services will not mean you get instantaneous results, but having a barrage of experts working for you drastically reduces your timeline, providing you with faster results.

10. An Objective Perspective and Impartial Eye

It can be easy for people wearing a company shirt to lose themselves in passion for the brand. This is not a bad thing, but it can lead to some problems when evaluating work objectively. When you are too close to something, recognizing cracks and flaws becomes more difficult.

This is probably one of the most understated benefits of outsourcing your SEO services to an agency: you will have people committed to sincerity. Someone from your in-house team may choose to or be consciously unable to perceive mistakes in his work, because his job depends on it; Whereas agencies need to be impartial and get results because it is their reputation at stake.

This means you will be able to get thorough, efficient and detailed assessments of what is going on from objective third parties.

Outsourcing SEO services does not need to be a risky proposition or a wild gamble. It can be a positive turning point for any company, as long as they take the proper time to investigate and evaluate available providers.

Weigh all the options, make an informed decision, and watch your costs decrease and your results soar.

Are you worried about outsourcing SEO or any other digital marketing service? We understand. Feel free to get in touch with us with any questions or concerns. We’re here to help!

 

Contact us today for SEO help!

 

​Original article written by Joe Yaker

Hadley

Equipped with a background in public relations, relationship building, growth strategy and community relations, Hadley now utilizes her expertise in her role of business development and overseeing marketing efforts at O8. A strong networker, she is highly connected and enjoys strengthening relationships with clients.

Team