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10 Points to Consider as You Market in a COVID-19 World

Business these days feels, for some, like a scary roller coaster. Each day, you go into work, wondering if your company will survive. For others, it’s drudgery, just going through the motions in an industry that’s doing OK (not great, but fine) for now. Others have jumped on the opportunity to pivot and are overwhelmed with new ideas and ways of doing business. 

Whatever happened to your business, marketing has changed. In April, we talked about preparing for your business to bounceback, but that never really materialized the way people speculated. Here we are in mid-July, still mostly closed and seeing only uncertainty in the days ahead and record-setting numbers of Coronavirus each day in the news. 

As you take a deep breath and figure things out, here are some marketing aspects to consider: 

  1. Plan strategically. The word “planning” is laughable these days. Sure, we can make plans, but none of us really knows if we’ll be traveling to see family at Thanksgiving or able to go to Disney next February. Even in our businesses, we’re forced to forge ahead as best we can. Instead of planning too far, create a way to plan by the week. That might be a weekly team meeting or a marketing check-in every Wednesday. How you prepare depends on your business, but internal communication is critical. 
  2. Get online. If you’re not online yet, you’d better be, like, yesterday. The global pandemic has accelerated the shift to online everything and delivery or pickup. Do an audit of your online presence and dig deep. Think about: 
    1. Your Website
    2. Social Media Profiles
    3. Review Sites (e.g., Yelp, BirdEye) 
    4. Google or Social Media Ads
    5. Your Online Store, if applicable
    6. SEO 
  3. Be authentic. None of us have lived through a pandemic before. It’s OK to be honest with your patients, customers, and clients about figuring things out as you go. 
  4. Communicate. Send emails or post on social. Let people know what changes are happening as soon as you can. Don’t wait for that perfect launch time like you would have before. And if your business must see people face-to-face, such as a dentist, be sure to offer online communication, ways for people to reach you for questions. 
  5. Check your messaging. Your messaging needs to have a caring tone. Those messages are on your website and social media and in your ads. But again, be real. A fake “we care” is not going to help. 
  6. Connect with your customers. People are craving connections. We miss seeing other humans, even strangers, as we walk around. We miss meeting friends, the energy of restaurants, the quiet hush of a museum. How are you helping create connections? That might be virtual events, or it might be something simple in your advertising. Progressive is showing a commercial with their team members as video blocks, as you’d see in a video conference call. They poke fun at the different problems we experience on those calls: background noise, the person who forgets he’s on mute, the poor quality due to Internet problems. Many of us can connect with that because we’ve been there. This post has some good examples of what national brands are doing to “be there” for us. 
  7. Create videos to share on social. One easy way to connect is to show people your faces. Have your primary team members or those who typically interact with customers create videos of work or messages they’d like to share, even announcements if needed. 
  8. Don’t stop marketing. Marketing is often the first line item to get cut in a crisis. We understand. But to survive, you need to find a new audience or shift to find your audience where they are now spending time (at home, online). 
  9. Stay in touch with your core audience. Many of these points have a theme around connection and communication. If 80% of your revenue comes from just 20% of your loyal fans, you know what to do: stay in touch with those fans! Now is the time to be sure you’re doing everything you can to keep them happy. 
  10. Avoid capitalizing on the crisis. Of course, it’s smart business to pivot and change your messaging, and if you’ve managed to turn this pandemic into a brilliant and growing business, awesome! No need to brag about it, though. Plenty of people are still without jobs, and plenty of others are working overtime in essential industries. Although you can tell people what you’re up to, keep it positive and professional. 

If you have questions about making marketing work in this new landscape, please contact us for help.