Marketing Tips for Your Small Business during a Pandemic
Oluchi Johnson-Achibiri has a background in Management Consulting and is…
Due to the Corona Virus, many businesses have been forced to close, many others have lost a significant percentage of customers, and most have been reduced to skeleton crews and/or a 100% remote workforce. Now is not the time to go silent. Online engagement is surging with social distancing in place. More people are spending more time on social media and accessing web-based resources than ever before. There’s a great opportunity to reach your audience and provide them with information, interaction, positive thoughts, and relevant resources.
They need to know if you’re still operational, what services you’re now offering, how you’re adjusting and how you can help. They need to be reassured that if they interact with your company or employees, appropriate cautions are in place. However, it’s crucial that you address this issue with a sense of tact, mindful marketing, and empathy.
Please find below what you CAN & SHOULD do in terms of marketing in this period:
1. Update customers on changes in your operations:
Now is the time to emphasize any online products, pre-sales (think gift certificates or vouchers), or delivery services you offer. People are also looking for great resources and activities to stay productive and positive. Communicate any hours, service, safety protocols, or operation updates through your – Your website, newsletters or social media accounts.
2. Invest In Your Marketing If You Can
Many of your competitors are taking their foot off the marketing pedal, which means you have an advantage. Don’t take your foot off the pedal! This is good news for you, the savvy marketer, as your marketing will go MUCH further because ad rates are on the decline and there is less clutter in the market. Lean times are exactly when a business needs marketing. Consumers are spending more time on social media, they are restless and are rapidly making changes to their buying decisions. So, don’t quit marketing.
3. Adjust Scheduled Content Timelines and Marketing Campaigns
The first step for a brand to consider is what is currently running or in the pipeline, including pre-scheduled content that is set to launch soon. During this audit, consider the following:
- Determine what to pause right now
- Consider what to pivot or prioritize
The good news is that taking a break from content may provide an advantage after things get back to normal. Right now, it’s a good idea for you to prepare for upcoming cultural moments (i.e., post-quarantine) and figure out what content will be most impactful and relevant then.
4. Evaluate the Language and Imagery Being Used
There’s no question that visual communication is powerful, along with the words that are used. It’s crucial to think about what type of message your brand is conveying. Some things to look at and consider changing include:
- Remove or avoid the use of visuals where people or crowds are touching
- Re-frame your marketing language that may describe a close interaction with others
- Swap out your visuals if needed
Take some time to see what changes you can make that would be beneficial to the Crisis right now.
5. Change Your Delivery Method
If you have a brick-and-mortar business where you’re no longer able to see customers/patients in-person, then see if you’re able to generate revenue or generate leads or set appointments through other means.
For example, here are some ways you may be able to change your delivery methods during this pandemic:
- Dentists/orthodontists can offer virtual consultations instead of in-person consultations – and the same goes for financial advisors and other types of professionals.
- Local retailers can offer to deliver goods to customers instead of people coming into their stores.
- Massage spas can promote their products instead of their services since they can’t see people in-person
- Other businesses can offer discounts for payment up-front.
6. Focus on Your Existing Customers
This pandemic is a good reminder that it’s much easier and less costly to market to existing customers versus acquiring new customers. The key question here is, “What else can you do to help your existing customers?” Can you offer additional products or services? Can you speed up your delivery for an additional fee? Can you sell more with a bulk discount? Can you partner with another business to enhance your product or service?
Happy clients act as ambassadors for your business and share their experience with other potential customers. Right now, you need advocates to support local businesses. Your customers have a lot of time right now to help your business.
7. Don’t try to Capitalize on the Crisis
This is applicable to any crisis or tragedy, but it is especially important to remember in the existing climate where fear and worry are top of mind. While it’s a good idea to keep people informed about how the Crisis is affecting the business, make sure you aren’t spreading panic or becoming an alarmist.
When it comes to marketing through this Crisis, being informed is the best way to ensure you are able to make it through this Crisis unscathed and that your customers see your efforts during this difficult time.