How to Confidently Continue Marketing Your Business During COVID-19
By JENNIFER HOFFMAN
With the government now mandating that every non-essential business shut down, or at least operate in a way that enforces social distancing, business owners everywhere are scrambling to figure out how to continue moving forward without completely going under. This has been a huge hit for the business community and one that needs thoughtful guidance in how to move forward.
When the news hit, I quickly reached out to my clients and other business owners to see how things were going and offer up my help. While I expected to hear that most everyone was struggling, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from some that were busier than ever. It just depends on the industry.
But there was one question that echoed from one phone call to the next…
How can I continue to market my business right now without being seen as insensitive?
No one wants to be seen as a money hungry business person when our hospitals are full of very sick people and tens of thousands of people are now unemployed. But as business owners, we also have an obligation to our employees and to support our own families. So where do we go from here?
Here are a few things to think about…
1) Your economic duty.Our economy is in dire need of you to keep your business going if you can. You have a duty to the American people to do what you can to contribute to our economy. Yes, there are a lot of sick people and people who have lost jobs. But there are even more who are healthy, and still fully employed. Those people want to support locally owned businesses, so give them the opportunity to.
2) Be human. Be relatable.
If you are going to continue your marketing efforts, be sure what you are offering is relevant to our current situation. You might need to tweak your offerings (what you sell) to match the needs of your audience and change up your messaging and photos on your website, ads, future blog posts, and social media posts to be relevant to our current crisis. Although you might not want to talk about the pandemic, you run the risk of not being relatable by not saying anything. Don’t be a jerk. Be human.
3) Give and then give some more.
Maybe the best marketing program you can implement right now, is to give away your time and expertise.
I’ve heard some pretty touching stories lately…
Like software companies that are giving away free subscriptions. And tattoo shops that are donating their masks and gloves. And restaurants that are feeding doctors and nurses. And naturopath doctors that are giving away free information about protecting your immune system. And marketing agencies that are helping struggling businesses for free. And, and, and…..
How much more will your audience love you if they see you contributing?
4) Pivot. Don’t panic.If your current business model is not doable right now, think outside the box. Get creative with how you can continue to provide your services and products in a new way. What is the new need that your customers have? And how can you fill that need with your expertise? Here are some examples to get you thinking:
- Create an online course.
- Turn your brick and mortar store into an ecommerce store.
- If you’re in healthcare (and not dealing with COVID-19), provide your appointments through video conferencing and/or create some videos on protecting your immune system, self care, etc.
- If you own a coworking space, provide connection opportunities online through video conferencing.
- If you’re a realtor, use the power of 360 photos and virtual tours for your listings.
What will your story be?
As a business owner, you get to write your own story. So do it and stand strong. We’re all here by your side.