6 Ways to Successfully Market Your Business During a Pandemic
Is your small business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Businesses may need to reassess their marketing message during this turbulent time. Here are 6 crucial actions you can take.
1. Keep Your Customers Informed
During these uncertain times, your loyal customers are looking for the most up-to-date information about your business. Have your hours changed? Are you temporarily closing? Are you having to change things up for the time being? Let the public know! Your customers should feel like you’re riding this storm with them — you’re there to help. Keep them informed on your website, social media, email newsletter, and whatever other channels you use. If you do have to close temporarily, your customers will be watching your website and social media for updates on when you re-open. Don’t let them down by re-opening without telling them.
If a business is directly affected by COVID-19 and hasn’t posted an update, it may appear as if they either don’t care or aren’t active online. Both perceptions are negative. Of course, there are exceptions, as several businesses may not require an update at all. If you are going about business as usual, great! You may not need to compose anything regarding Coronavirus specifically, but it’s always a good idea to communicate with your customers to keep them happy.
2. Utilize All Your Marketing Channels
When you put out an important update via email, copy it over to your website. Post it on your social media. You may even copy and paste it onto your Google My Business! Whatever channels you use to market to and inform your clients, update them. Stay active and engaged.
If you post an update on Instagram, don’t assume 100% of your business contacts follow you on Instagram. Perhaps some are only on Facebook. Or maybe a few engage only with your email newsletter. That’s a compelling reason to copy your updates across all channels.
Also, remember to always tweak your posts as necessary to fit the corresponding channel (e.g. instagram relies heavily on images. Facebook allows a couple sentences for link previews. Emails are generally longer.).
3. Turn Your Message Into a Positive
Certain industries, such as travel, B2B, gyms, entertainment, window cleaning, restaurants, venues, theaters, and coffee shops, just to name a few, are really struggling right now. Some are required by local mandate to shut down for a few weeks. Others are able to stay open but must get creative to bring in business. Whatever you’re having to change, turn it into a positive. Your marketing message should build on your strengths. For example: as a vacation rental, market your property as a much-needed respite from Coronavirus. In the fitness industry, stress the importance of not neglecting your health during this period of quarantine. In the food industry, brag about your on-the-go take-out and delivery options (and sign up for all the food delivery apps!). In the healthcare industry, explain the detailed steps you’re taking to prevent diseases and viruses from spreading.
Emphasize your commitment to the health and well-being of your precious customers. Reassure your valued clients that you still wish to serve them but might have to do so differently than normal. Remind them of what you offer, even if your services haven’t changed, because they might be curious how your business has been affected (even if it hasn’t). Overall, stay honest and stay positive.
4. Reinforce Your Benefits
Why do your customers choose your business in the first place? When the economy is good, why are you the ideal choice instead of your competitors? What value do you bring to your clients? Throughout this pandemic, remind your followers of the answers to those questions. Remind them why they fell in love with your product / service in the first place.
What are your benefits? Is your food healthier? Do you provide a more affordable service than your competitors? Do you have the top certifications in your industry? Have you honed your skill for several years, even decades? Whatever your particular benefits are, reinforce those. Remind your loyal customers why you’re the top choice in your industry.
5. Emphasize Your Promotions
During an economic crisis, spending is down. People are cutting back. They are looking for discounts and coupons now more than ever. Whatever product or service you provide, can you offer a discount? A promotion? A BOGO or Free Shipping? 10% off? Free inspection? This is a golden opportunity to bring in new customers and retain your current customer base by running a special offer.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Do you like discounts? How do you feel when you receive free shipping? Do you like to pay full retail price? Empathizing with your customers can give you the inspiration needed to serve them throughout these difficult times.
6. Keep It Up
Mastering the first 5 steps doesn’t mean your marketing ends once COVID-19 subsides. To be realistic, the economy will stabilize in the future. We don’t know exactly how long that will take, but when things do finally go back to normal, the marketing habits you’ve formed should become routine. Don’t neglect your website, social media and email marketing just because business is back to the way it was before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Effective marketing is just as important when times are good as it is when times are tough. Make it a priority to regularly communicate with your customers, utilize all your marketing channels, and promote your benefits in a positive way.
An economic crisis is an opportunity to build resilience and empathy. To adapt. To reassess our message. And to support one another. Those are qualities that will fortify our businesses as we move forward and power through this economic storm.