In one way or another, nearly all small businesses have adapted to the new normal of the coronavirus shutdown. Some closed fully, some partially, and others experienced a drop in demand. Under normal circumstances, investing in marketing is the fastest path toward generating new leads, landing sales, and ultimately driving revenue. But we’re not living in normal circumstances—so should you continue marketing during the coronavirus?
If the coronavirus shutdown has limited your ability to conduct business and keep cash flow smooth, your first instinct might be to scale back your marketing spend. In the short term, it might seem like the right move—if you can’t make sales, then why spend money to spread the word about your business?
Instead of focusing on the short term, consider the long term. Spending money right now—when some costs are lower—could help lay the groundwork for your business to reach the next level.
Once the global crisis ends, you’ll be back to business as usual. You want to be ahead of your competitors, not a few paces behind. Marketing during COVID-19 can help position you for greater success once the economy picks up.
Cutting or scaling back your marketing activities, like SEO, social media, PPC advertising and more could prevent you from regaining the same pace once your business is back in full stride. Maintaining (or increasing) your marketing spend might be just what your business needs to reach the next level.
While you should continue marketing during a crisis, it’s crucial to take a strategic approach. The strategy and messaging that worked well when the economy was prospering may not be as effective now.
Start your research by investigating competitors to learn how they’ve pivoted. Think about how the coronavirus has affected your industry, and market your business in a way that makes sense.
You might not have to reinvent the wheel, but be sure to think before recycling messaging that might be ineffective or insensitive. Or, shift from marketing your products to brand awareness.
Before launching into things, take a look at how some businesses are currently succeeding at marketing during the coronavirus.
Some brands adapted faster than others, but by now, most have caught up with the times. Many of the most effective coronavirus marketing campaigns don’t emphasize the standard value proposition.
It’s no secret that toilet paper was one of the most sought after items, both before and during the pandemic. Cottonelle, a toilet paper company that doesn’t exactly need publicity, urged customers to “stock up on generosity”. This simple message—which breathes positive brand values—drives the primary point home: we’ll make it through this.
Walgreens shifted their strategy to advertise helpful resources, like advice about which medication people should take. They also advertised their free delivery service, which customers can use to continue obtaining medication while staying safe.
You don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. By diversifying your approach to digital marketing, you can reach more people through both free organic methods and paid advertising.
Like some of the giants, be sure to include in your marketing messages how you’ve adapted to the times. Be proactive, transparent and detailed.
If you’ve scheduled biweekly deep cleans, then communicate that clearly. If you’re now offering delivery, be sure to mention that. Even basic steps above your normal practices can go a long way.
Whether you’re open for business or operating remotely, be sure to continue posting on social media. This organic marketing channel can be immensely helpful in keeping your business top-of-mind for existing customers, and may get you on the radar for new clients.
If you’re not open for business, post information that your followers might find helpful. You can also keep things light by posting memes that your followers might find relatable or funny.
In addition to posting content, you should also consider Facebook messaging. Automated messaging can help answer simple questions without any effort on your part.
Uplifting content about how you’ve helped the community (or plan to) can also help you remain in the back of your customers’ minds. If your small business is donating to any local charities, be sure to share the details—including how your followers can donate.
Whether you’re marketing during the coronavirus or normal times, your website is your single best selling tool. If your business is slowing down, then now’s the best time to put work into improving it.
Web trends evolve quickly—even if you finished a complete redesign five years ago, your website might not be competitive in the modern landscape. Look into redesigning your website for a fresh, modern look—you’ll be thankful you did once you’re back in business.
Aesthetics aside, be sure to prioritize your website’s search rankings, too. A strong web presence can dramatically increase your search-related web traffic, and drive a massive increase in sales. Investing in SEO now will pay off in the form of a boosted visibility once things are in a better place.
Be sure to publish new content, optimize your Google My Business profile for local traffic, and look out for unique industry opportunities.
Internet advertising (like Google ads) generally works on a pay-per-click basis. The more clicks you get, the more people visit your website, and the more you pay. Due to the coronavirus, though, ad space across most industries has become more affordable.
Naturally, it makes sense to capitalize on lower ad prices by jumping in. Sales aside, PPC advertising is a fast track to appearing in Google searches next to your competitors. The brand awareness of raising your ad spend could pay off in droves in the future.
Your normal prices and offers might not be enticing enough to lure customers out during quarantine. However, a little creative thinking could be all it takes to drum up renewed interest in your business.
If you own a restaurant, then try creating unique family packages that offer a discount and appetizers. Or, if you operate a retail store, include a free item with every purchase. No matter which direction you go, be sure to find a way to keep your staff and customers safe.
A little creativity can go a long way—try tailoring your pitch to the current situation.
Email marketing isn’t just cheap—it’s also one of the fastest ways to reach your entire customer base. It can also be quite effective.
By emailing your list, you can quickly and easily update your customers about everything you’re offering. You can also offer some much-needed reassurance about the steps you’re taking to keep your location safe.
If you’re busy managing your business, you don’t have to miss out on the new opportunities available through marketing during the coronavirus.
At National, our Marketing services help your business get the exposure and results you need without any effort. With guidance from you, we’ll manage your marketing across one or several channels—including social media, organic web content, and more.
Get started pushing your business to the next level by applying now!
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Matt Carrigan is the Content Writer at National Business Capital & Services. He loves spending every day creating content to educate business owners across every industry about business growth strategies, and how they can access the funding they need!