No matter whether you voted leave, remain or you sat this one out, major events like Brexit can have an impact on your online marketing results, whether negative or positive, and as such, cannot just be dismissed as not relevant to your business.
This blog is not about the rights and wrongs of how the vote unfolded, nor is it about whether the result is the correct one or not, but over the past nine months since the referendum, it has been interesting to see the impact that such a move can have across the board, and whilst the direct impact may be limited, I think it is clear to see that when something like this happens, or something causes a period of change, the impact on businesses small, medium and large can often be seen.
So, let’s have a look at what can happen when major events like Brexit come along.
When there is a period of uncertainty, buying signals often drop and therefore online marketing results can be impacted. For example, if you are looking to invest in a £500 Curved TV, you will still look for it online like you did prior to the event happening, but, you might now take longer to purchase the TV. This period of uncertainty where people worry about their jobs, worry about the value of their money and generally just worry impacts buying decisions, and the process can often take much longer than it previously did. Therefore, you might see no change in traffic, but more of a change in conversions, as people are still keen to look but that buying process just takes longer, as if you don’t need a new TV, the uncertainty of change can impact these non-essential purchases or upgrades.
Whenever there is potential of huge market changes, this can also impact your results, as following on from the above point, customers might genuinely just hold off to see whether the impact of such an event could open up a new buying angle where they can save money. For example, if leaving Europe opens up new trade channels, consumers might hold out to see if they can get it cheaper when all is said and done, as although maybe unlikely, the change in market forces can often make people just hold out to see if they can save money.
Value Of Money And Currency
The day after the referendum result, the Dollar and Pound situation immediately changed, where if you were paying suppliers, contractors or partners in Dollars from Pounds, you ended up paying more than you did the previous day. Whilst this has gone up and down now for months, the impact of the value of money and currency is a big one on consumer and business decisions, which is why you might see changes where customers are waiting for the currency to be in their favour, or, they might choose a different supplier if they think they will save money. For example, reports of people holding off buying their holiday currency are widespread at the moment, as they might get a better deal if they wait, but on the other hand, they might not, and this can impact your results from the top down to the bottom.
The Wait And See Affect
Customers will always want the best deal. So, if Brexit turns out to be positive, they will think they might get things cheaper if they wait, or, they may just want to wait and see how their financial position is before they commit to buying something. For example, if you run a large warehouse and need 5 new forklift trucks, you might wait to see how your contracts with large hauliers work out over the next 6 months, or how much business you gain or lose before committing to that decision. Therefore, if you run a company selling forklifts, you might see a drop in sales, but a company that just repairs them might see an increase, as the business shifts to “make do” instead of “buy new”. Again, when it comes to online marketing, you might see traffic fall for your business, as people just do not want to go down that road at this moment in time, but may decide to go for it when things are known and understood.
The Overall Domino Effect
This is probably one of the biggest aspects that a major change such as a Brexit event can bring, and we call it the domino effect and is often a cumulation of all the of things above, causing the business chain to be hindered as a result, or positively impacted, depending on what happens. So, how do this work?
Well, let’s imagine you are running a company producing packing materials for people moving homes, and one of your biggest trade customers are removal customers.
This is how the domino effect could affect that business. So, the uncertainty causes people to stop selling their homes, or going for mortgages to buy new ones, which is also backed up by the banks not lending. Therefore, less properties are purchased and sold, less people end up moving, the removal companies do not need as many packing boxes, and therefore your business gets less orders. So, in this chain of events, estate agents are impacted, mortgage lenders are impacted, IFA’s are impacted, removal companies are impacted and finally, you at the bottom of the chain are also impacted.
Of course, this could always go the other way, where more people buy, more sales are made, more removals happen and therefore more packing boxes are ordered, but no matter which direction it swings in, every single person that relies on the chain sticking together and working well will see the impact.
Therefore, if your traffic and sales drop, this is sometimes nothing to do with your SEO, PPC or online marketing, it is simply that people are not buying at the same rate they were, a bit like seasonal businesses see every year.