How to Market During the Pandemic
From connecting our relationships to running our small businesses, COVID-19 has transformed the way we live, work and socialize. I feel lucky that my family and I are healthy and safe, and I am trying to find positive opportunities in all of this.
That’s why I recently shared an article called “How to Drive Your Small Business Strategy During the COVID-19 Crisis” on our website.
I also hear from many small business owners wondering whether or not they should stop marketing during COVID-19. That article showed entrepreneurs how to market during the pandemic, including ways to create a crisis marketing strategy and to:
Help customers instead of just selling them
Focus on events and offers online
Plan for future growth
As we continue to isolate ourselves to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, I wanted to stick with some other effective ways to keep your business running smoothly and successfully.
Here are 4 marketing strategies to consider:
1. Focus on digital campaigns
With the closure or slowdown of most brick and mortar businesses, entrepreneurs are relying more than ever on digital strategies. A lot of brand marketing during this pandemic and in the future is going to change most (if not all) of your small business online.
In fact, Larry Kim of Mobile Monkey just wrote: “A new customer closed their physical locations across the country and found that web traffic increased 150%.”
According to Klaviyo, an email marketing platform that leverages a network of 30,000 companies for information, 22% of brands said they are spending more on ads. And the 66% of brands that are spending more on ads are also experiencing greater efficiencies, with a reduced cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) and cost per click (CPC).
If you’re wondering how to market during the pandemic, consider using Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Instagram for Business, or LinkedIn Ads to drive traffic to:
Helpful and well-researched blogs and videos
Online products with free shipping
Virtual services you can offer, be it financial therapy or online music lessons
Gift cards that can be used now or in the future
With that said, don’t be afraid to stop campaigns that are not relevant at the moment or that you think may put your customers off.
Part of brand marketing during this pandemic is knowing when to rethink strategy and turn around, rather than sticking with an ad campaign that is not going to resonate with, or even offend, your target audience.
2. Update your Google My Business listing
Your customers and potential customers are counting on you for the latest information about your small business. If you are going to shut down your business temporarily, whether you change your business hours or offer curbside pickup at this time, you need to let people know.
Using Google Posts can be a great way to update people on everything from reduced hours to gift card purchases. Here are some google targeting on how to better change your profile.
And don’t worry about SEO implications when editing your profile. For example, marking your business as temporarily closed will not affect your search ranking and Google will continue to show you in search results.
If you don’t immediately see the changes you make to your Google My Business profile, don’t panic. Google has said that they can review the quality of updates before publishing them.
3. Don’t stop posting on social media
Even if you have to completely shut down your business for now, stay active online. In addition to tools like Google My Business, customers search their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram channels for the most up-to-date news. It looks very bad to have outdated posts or information languishing on your social media pages.
Some of the updates you could share include:
Your crisis management strategy, including the steps you are taking to protect your employees and customers (sanitizing workstations, not letting sick employees work, making sure employees wear gloves, etc.)
Changes in business hours or policies (for example, only allow one person to enter the store at a time)
If you accept online orders and / or offer free shipping
If you have private shopping or curbside pickup options
Uplifting quotes or personal messages
One of our clients offers private shopping appointments and curbside pickup for clients. By Malary in Cloverdale, BC is a good example of a small business that is changing during COVID-19 and provides customers with a little TLC.
4. Be careful what you share
There is a lot of misinformation circulating on social media and it can be dangerous to give your customers the wrong advice (not to mention hugely damaging to your reputation).
Here’s an example of poor marketing strategies for the COVID-19 crisis: A yoga studio in Delta, BC was closed in March due to complaints that the facility was not following social distancing. Not only that, but they sent out a newsletter claiming that hot yoga can help prevent COVID-19.
So plan your crisis management strategy and think before sending that article to all of your email subscribers or republishing something you saw on your Facebook feed. Use reliable sources of coronavirus resources, such as the World Health Organization or the Government of Canada.
For example, instead of sending one of the articles on homemade hand sanitizers that are circulating, consult this list .
READ: “Finding Your Purpose During Self Isolation” on our website:
Stuck at home? Now is a good time to discover your purpose! Our lives are very busy and we rarely have a moment to sit quietly and reflect on our life’s journey and how it has gotten us to where we are now.
For many of us who have chosen to isolate ourselves, now is a good time to take advantage of the calmer surroundings and find out if your valuable resources are being used to the fullest.
Whatever your marketing strategies for the COVID-19 crisis, always look to your brand for guidance. Your brand vision, mission and values should always be your “North Star” as you stay active online and let your customers know that you are here for them, now and in the future.