How to market during the pandemic
From connecting in our relationships to managing 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 Boost Your Small Business Strategy During the COVID-19 Crisis” on our website.
I also hear many small business owners wondering whether or not they will stop marketing during COVID-19. That article showed entrepreneurs how to market during the pandemic, including ways to create a crisis marketing strategy and:
- Helping customers instead of just selling to them
- Focus on events and online offers.
- Plan for future growth
- Empower employees
As we continue to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, I wanted to pursue 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 physical companies, entrepreneurs rely 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 online business.
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 66% of brands that spend more on ads are also seeing increased efficiencies, with 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, Google Ads, Instagram for Business, or LinkedIn Ads to drive traffic to:
- Well researched and useful blogs and videos
- Online products with free shipping
- Virtual services you can offer, whether it’s 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 right now, or that you think may disconnect your customers.
Part of brand marketing during this pandemic is knowing when to re-strategize and pivot, rather than continue an ad campaign that isn’t going to resonate with, or even offend, your target audience.
2. Update your Google My Business file
Your customers and prospects count on you for the latest information on your small business. If you’re temporarily closing your business, whether you change the hours it’s open or offer a curbside pickup right now, you should let people know.
Using Google Posts can be a great way to update people on everything from short hours to gift card purchases. Here is a Google guide 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 still show it 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 they can check for quality updates before posting.
3. Do not stop posting on social networks
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 latest news. It looks very bad to have outdated posts or languishing information 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 hours or business policies (for example, only allowing one person to enter the store at a time)
- If you are taking online orders and / or offering free shipping
- If you have private purchases or sidewalk pickup options
- Uplifting quotes or personal messages
One of our clients offers private shopping appointments and sidewalk pickup for clients. Malary’s in Cloverdale, BC is a good example of a small business that spins during COVID-19 and provides customers with a small 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 incorrect advice (not to mention that it hurts their reputation tremendously).
Here is 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 reporting that hot yoga can help prevent COVID-19.
So map out your crisis management strategy and think before you send that article to all of your email subscribers or republish something you saw on your Facebook feed. Use reliable sources for coronavirus resources, such as the World Health Organization or the Government of Canada.