During the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses have a tendency to pull back or stop their marketing all together (like your competitors!) while the smartest businesses use it as an opportunity to get ahead.
There is so much information floating around regarding COVID-19: how to avoid it, proper hand-washing techniques, practicing social distancing, what to do if you get the virus and more.
If you’re a small business owner, you probably have additional questions like this:
- How is COVID-19 going to affect my business?
- How should I market my business during this time?
- SHOULD I even market my business during this time?
To answer that last one, absolutely yes, and here’s why.
You have two options as a business owner:
Option #1: Embrace being a victim, pause all advertising efforts & brace for little to no results.
Option #2: Take your business by the horns and maximise this opportunity to get ahead!
Now, you may be thinking, “Yes of course I would rather see results than not, but how do I do that? How do I market my business through the Coronavirus?”
If you sell toilet paper or hand sanitiser, you probably don’t need to read any further. Otherwise, valid question!
Let’s look at a few ways the rest of us can utilise digital marketing to get ahead.
Marketing Strategies That You Can Utilise Now
1. Social Media Marketing
People are spending more time online now more than ever. With so many adults working from home, kids taking classes at home and people in general trying to stay in as much as possible during the Coronavirus, people are glued to social media right now!
With increased reach, engagement and time spent on social platforms, why would a business owner choose now to pause their social media efforts?
Put your brand in front of where your target audience is already scrolling.
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Given the nature of your business, is it common for consumers to Google search the product or service you provide? If so, SEO is a process that can help your website appear in the top rankings on a search results page.
For those who are already familiar with SEO, you know that it really is a process that can take some time – unless your competitors pause their SEO efforts!
This is exactly what’s happening for many of our clients; their competitors are scaling back their SEO efforts out of panic, causing our clients to jump ahead in SEO rankings at a faster pace!
3. Email Marketing
As a business owner, are you ever really done learning about your audience? Is there ever a good time to stop building relationships with potential customers?
Whether you’re B2B or B2C, email marketing can be a great way to connect with your clients. For B2B businesses, take this time to nurture your existing leads via email newsletters!
For B2C and eCommerce businesses, understand that consumers purchase from brands they trust.
Establishing that brand-consumer trust is invaluable to the longevity of your business now and long beyond COVID-19, why not take the time now to set yourself up for long term success?
Email marketing is a great way to do just that.
4. Social & Google Advertising
When business slows or uncertainties arise like they are now, it’s a common reaction for business owners to want to stop all advertising efforts.
Why continue spending money if consumers aren’t actively purchasing as much, right? Wrong! First of all, it’s important to note that not all consumers are tightening their wallets.
For those that are ready to spend now & continue life as normal, you want your business to be ready and in front of them!
For consumers that aren’t spending as much now, they will later as soon as normality resumes, and who do you think they’ll purchase from? A business they spent all of COVID-19 learning about and familiarising themselves with – not companies they didn’t see or hear about at all.
Advertising on social media and Google keeps your brand relevant and in front of your target audience so that when they are ready to purchase, they purchase from you and not your competitors.
Tips For How To Execute These Marketing Efforts During COVID-19
While a lot of people are taking precautions against catching the Coronavirus, it’s important to keep in mind that many people have already caught it or know someone who has caught it.
As a brand, it’s important to maintain a level of sensitivity to your messaging. But don’t let this scare you away! Showing empathy can actually cause a consumer to favour and respect your brand more, giving you yet another edge over competitors.
Let’s look at a few more tips together.
Use Relevant Hashtags
As we mentioned, heightened social media use is happening during this time. One way to maximise that reach on social media is by using relevant hashtags.
This extends your reach while also portraying your brand in a credible light, as one that is current and up-to-date with the modern consumer.
Some good hashtags to get you started might include #StopTheSpread, which is in reference to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
A more lighthearted hashtag is #JOMO which stands for the joy of missing out. This is a playful replacement of the usual #FOMO which is fear of missing out; people are using #JOMO as a way to embrace cancelling plans and staying indoors for the time being.
Another hashtag we’re seeing is #SocialDistancing which encourages people to take a break from socialising in-person with others as a means to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Now, you may be wondering how your business can smoothly work these hashtags into your content, but don’t worry. We’re covering that next!
Be Mindful Of How Your Business Fits Into The Big Picture
Think about what your business offers as it relates to the general public and the Coronavirus. Is there anything you could do differently?
For example, many restaurants (which depend on in-store foot traffic to make money) are closing their dining halls and instead offering delivery options.
This presents their brand in a responsible light to the public while still giving them a means to make money that’s helpful and convenient for their customers.
Even if all you can do is let your team work from home and carry out business as usual from home, communicate this message to potential customers!
Let them know you’re doing your part to prevent COVID-19 and that you’re still here to help them.
Consumers will appreciate your communication and your acknowledgement to the world outside of your industry.
Benefits Of Continuing Marketing Efforts Through COVID-19
What can you expect from your marketing efforts during this time period? Let’s take a look.
1. Get Ahead Of Competitors
Anything you do now that your competitors are not doing is putting you ahead. Think of it like a race. Even if you’re running slow, you’re still lapping everyone who’s sitting on the couch!
2. Learn More About Your Target Audience
It’s always beneficial to learn more about your customer base. What are their pain points? Their buying behaviours? What motivates them to purchase?
The more you understand about them outside of their demographics, the more strategic you can be in creating content that converts them into customers.
Your research can equip you with the ability to create content that addresses their specific needs. You can position your product or service as a solution to your audience’s specific problems.
Taking this time to learn more about your customer base will allow you to be strategic in the language and imagery you use in your content moving forward.
3. Build Relationships With Potential Consumers
Whether you’re a B2B company that needs to nurture leads or a B2C company that needs to “warm up” potential customers, every business can benefit from guiding potential customers through the sales funnel.
Why let this time go to waste? Use this time wisely to build real relationships with your potential customers and convert them into a paying customer.
4. Capitalise On Customers Ready To Purchase Now
So many businesses are temporarily closing down for COVID-19, narrowing down the public’s options of where they can turn to for goods and services.
If you’re open for business, let people know!
Continuing to market your business through the Coronavirus can be as simple as letting customers in need know that you’re here, you’re open and you can provide your product or service like usual.
5. Set Yourself Up For Success Post COVID-19
This is probably the most important benefit of them all. At some point, the Coronavirus will pass.
When that time comes, do you want to be starting from scratch with your marketing again? Or do you want to be leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, building on the efforts you’ve already put in for the past few months?
We know that most business owners are long-term-minded anyway, so don’t let the Coronavirus deter you from that forward-thinking mindset.
Now is not the time to stop marketing efforts, it’s the time for you to be even more strategic in implementing them!
We’re taking our own advice and so are our clients, and so far all we’re seeing is more results. Some of our clients are even seeing double the amount of results as usual!
If you want to invest in marketing but are nervous to or don’t know where to start, don’t worry! That’s exactly what we’re here for. We can guide you every step of the way.
Contact us today to get started.