During the Covid-19 pandemic, many small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), have had to show extreme agility and acumen to survive. Now, as lockdown eases, MailOnline is showing how they can maximise their local reach easily and effectively with minimal outlay.

The past year has been tough for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), many of which went bust or suffered crippling losses as the Covid-19 lockdown hit their trade.

Yet, according to a report by McKinsey & Co last year, SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy, accounting for 50% of the revenue generated by UK business and 44% of the country’s labour force1. However, the same report found that while, prior to the pandemic, 80% of SMEs had reported stable or growing revenue for the year, by May 2020, 80% had seen declines in revenue and had concerns over business loans and employee retention.

While the UK government has weighed in to help with job retention schemes, business interruption loan schemes and business rates relief, among other measures, SMEs still needed to be agile, react quickly and review their whole operations in order to survive. Indeed, a study by SumUp in November last year, as reported on Yahoo Finance2, suggested that 51% had changed their operations in some way, including remote payment and online stores, while 5% had completely pivoted their business as a consequence of the pandemic.

Now, those who have survived the worst of the Covid-19 crisis are looking at how they can maximise the number of customers they bring to their business and retain those who have been loyal throughout.

Case study


Andy Storer, left, and Michael Anfilogoff, right, used the Ad Manager to advertise their new deli to potential customers (pictured with chef and owner Damien Riseley, centre

This was the challenge faced by Suffolk deli operator Andy Storer and his business partners Michael Anfilogoff and Damien Riseley, who have run the Black Dog Deli in Walberswick for the past six years. The trio had been on the verge of expansion as the first lockdown arrived, following the success of their first outlet, and had just spent £50,000 on a new production kitchen in the nearby village of Halesworth with plans to open a new deli there.

“We had to think on our feet about how we could adapt and survive,” says Storer.

The business increased its range of frozen foods, figuring locked-down families would appreciate these, and diversified with a pop-up shop in nearby Southwold, offering street food.

Now, with lockdown easing and the new Black Dog Deli in Halesworth finally opening in April this year, their next challenge was to drum up business.

Looking to boost their fortunes after a difficult year, the partners discovered that help was at hand in the form of the UK’s biggest news brand, MailOnline, which is assisting small businesses by offering the chance to advertise to its huge audiences – without a huge price tag.

Anfilogoff found he could advertise on MailOnline to target local customers and encourage interest in the new venture. He created the ads himself, set the budget and chose the people he wanted to target – and the results have impressed him.

“Once the ads had been live for a few days, we saw our website traffic go up by over 200%. The deli in Walberswick has felt busier, and we had lots of phone calls and visitors asking about when our new deli was opening up.

“We’re really pleased with this campaign – it has helped us grow as a business and get our name out there.”

Black Dog Deli ads: The results

● Cost: £1,300
● Ad impressions (how many times the ads were viewed): 351,818
● 788 clicks through to their website
●· Website traffic up more than 200%
●· Shop feels busier; lots of visitors and calls asking about new deli opening

The MailOnline’s new self-serve Ad Manager makes it easy. Taking only minutes to set up, a small business campaign can be live in less than 24 hours.

Businesses can advertise to more people in their area than local titles can reach, says the news outlet. Ads can be targeted by postcode, interests and life stage to reach as many of MailOnline’s 25 million consumers as wished and the Ad Manager enables small businesses to reach more adults across all UK regions than ever before, with hyper-local advertising for relevant, affluent customers, it says.

SMEs can control everything, from budget to target audience to creative design, and will be able to see live data for their campaigns, as well as adjust targeting and pause campaigns as wished. Automated email reports can be set up, and different creative and targeting strategies used to get the best results.

This new opportunity means SMEs can manage their own ad campaigns easily and effectively across MailMetroMedia’s online portfolio, which engages more than 10 million UK adults every day.

Martin Clarke, publisher of MailOnline, Metro.co.uk and iNews.co.uk, says: “We are passionate about helping SMEs recover from the Covid crisis, and proud to be launching a tool that will enable small business owners to purchase and set up ad campaigns in a few easy steps.

“We look forward to helping you build your business.”

Visit manager.mailmetromedia.co.uk or see the video below to see how you can transform your small business.

1 https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/how-the-covid-19-crisis-is-affecting-uk-small-and-medium-size-enterprises
2 https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/small-businesses-coronavirus-lockdown-financial-support-uk-government-110617936.html