Diversifying your client portfolio is one of the best resilience strategies your digital agency can pursue.

The Coronavirus pandemic is ongoing, and its effects may well last into next year.

That’s the opinion of Bill gates and a large number of epidemiology experts share. They believe that the “return to normalcy” cannot truly happen until a vaccine is developed and made widely available. This could take up to 18 months to happen.

That means that every agency’s long-term strategy must emphasize resilience and adaptability. We cannot fall prey to wishful thinking, hoping that business will suddenly bounce back next week, next month, or next year.

This leaves digital agency owners wondering what to do until that happens. Before giving into doom-and-gloom thinking, however, it’s important to realize that the economy has not truly ground to a complete halt.

While certain industries are definitely hurting, others are expanding triumphantly. Positioning your agency to serve the needs of expanding businesses is key to making it through this crisis unscathed.

Find Your Niche in Today’s Most In-Demand Industries

Overall, the average click-through rates for Google Search campaigns have increased since February 2020. While many industries are definitely suffering, there is undeniable growth in several high-profile areas:

  • Media
  • Healthcare
  • Food Delivery
  • Finance
  • Education
  • Managed Service Providers
  • Web conferencing and Video Hosting
  • Cybersecurity
  • Mobile App Development

All of these fields of activity are relatively resilient to social distancing measures and economic uncertainty. Whether your agency can exploit its experience and resources to create value in one of these fields, you’ll be much better prepared than many others to survive the Coronavirus storm.

The services of digital marketers are absolutely essential for businesses in any of these fields who wish to capitalize on the monumental gains currently available for them. Even better, in many of these industries, the changes prompted by COVID-19 protection measures are here to stay.

Here are a few examples of COVID-19 response trends that are likely to continue well after the crisis is over:

  • More lawyers and other service professionals are going to take Zoom calls rather than meet in-person. 
  • More educators are going to rely on web-enabled user communities to augment the learning environment.
  • People are going to be committed to consuming the media they started during the quarantine.
  • Managed service providers are going to take center stage for both small businesses and enterprises that need to offset rising IT costs.
  • Cybersecurity is going to become a more important issue as increasing numbers of professionals rely on web conferencing software and use company equipment remotely.
  • More organizations in every industry are going to need streamlined, cloud-enabled tools for managing complex operations remotely.
  • Digital marketing is going to play a larger role in connecting consumers to the products and services they need.

Case-in-point: Building an Online Community

One of the best ways to leverage digital marketing talent towards a value-added initiative for a business in today’s climate is to work on developing an online community. Active, robust communities have built-in resilience against economic uncertainties and threats like the Coronavirus crisis.

Tools like Buddyboss can help organizations create, manage, and maintain online communities directly through WordPress. Having a fully-featured online community web portal with classes, quizzes, job boards, and other integrations built-in can be a supremely effective way to build resilience during this delicate time.

The best thing about Buddyboss in particular is that it is inexpensive. You can build a modern community website with a host of in-demand features and a state-of-the-art user experience for under $1000. Investing in an asset like that while competitors are closing up shop can lead to transformative growth.

Community-building tools like Buddyboss are obviously useful for schools, professional training providers, and other service-oriented community-based organizations, but they can also provide value in unexpected areas.

An Example of Online Community Success: Imperva

Enterprise cybersecurity leader Imperva offers an excellent example of how an online community can help in unexpected ways. Imperva’s cloud-based wireless application firewall products are already well-known and highly regarded. You wouldn’t normally expect a large enterprise IT company to develop an online community for its customers to make that point.

But Imperva doesn’t use the community to boost sales or demonstrate how good its products are. It uses the community to incentivize users to share tips, tricks, and troubleshooting solutions with one another.

Cybersecurity is a complex field. Even experts find public-key cryptography difficult to wrap their heads around from time to time. Launching and maintaining a user community to help cybersecurity professionals solve the often-frustratingly complex problems they face is a genius move that will pay off for Imperva for years to come.

As a digital agency owner, right now is the time to ask yourself whether any of your current clients can benefit from this kind of approach. Don’t wait for them to come up with the idea themselves – be proactive with your customers and help them solve problems they didn’t know they even had.

Diversify: Now is the Time to Pivot Towards In-Demand Industries 

The list of industries where demand is growing is dynamic and constantly changing. As the global situation unfolds, certain fields of activity are going to become more active than others, while cultural and economic changes will push other areas down.

Maintaining a diverse portfolio of clients is the key to navigating these troubled waters. Unsurprisingly, this is exactly the kind of advice that financial experts are giving their clients because they both share the same underlying economic mechanism.

Although it might seem like maintaining a “niche” while diversifying your client portfolio is a contradiction in terms, that’s only the case on the surface. Your niche skill set is virtually guaranteed to be applicable in a broad range of industries – like online community building, cybersecurity, of video conferencing. Each of these examples has utility in nearly every kind of organization active today – and agencies that know how to deliver them to growing industries today will be prepared to handle the challenges of tomorrow.