How to Market a Business During the COVID-19 Outbreak

General Marketing, COVID-19

Businesses are hurting right now. Some are closed indefinitely. Those that remain open are having a hard time generating revenue while the world’s attention is on COVID-19. Consumers everywhere have changed their behavior, which raises an important question: “should I be advertising my business during an economic downturn?”

Should I Continue Marketing During COVID-19?

For most companies, the answer is still yes. Proceed with caution, though, as Global Web Index reports that only 37% of consumers want brands to continue advertising as normal. Marketing efforts should always be tied to the greater purpose a company serves for consumers, and this is especially critical now.

Your stated purpose doesn’t have to be to contribute to a cure (which would seem disingenuous coming from most companies anyway), but this is a good time to take an introspective look at what your company really does or can do for people. It’s critical to avoid Marketing Myopia at this time and stay focused on how consumers’ needs are changing.

Even if your business is closed, you should adapt your marketing efforts to fit the times, then press on. Marketing during COVID-19 is helpful for multiple reasons.

Woman shopping for groceries with face mask on
Even when people absolutely must make purchases, they're doing so differently.

1 – Control Your Brand’s Image

Don’t fall asleep at the wheel of your brand narrative, because your audience is still out there. The conversation will continue with or without you, so it’s best to keep engaging people and maintain your presence.

2 – This Is Temporary

It might not feel like it at times, but this too shall pass. Even businesses that are temporarily closed will (hopefully) reopen sometime in the not-so-distant future, and you can prepare some extra business by staying on top of your marketing in the meantime. For now, the “Place” in your marketing mix will have to be either mostly or entirely online. Adapt to that, then keep delivering the best service, convenience, and accessibility possible.

Even if you can’t generate revenue during this time, you can work to help your brand return stronger than it was before. This downtime is an opportunity to get content queued up for a time when things return to “business as usual.” If your biggest supporters can’t give you any business at the moment, they might be willing to write you some reviews during their time at home. How many marketing projects can you cross off your to do list?

3 – The Online Audience Is More Active Than Ever

We’ve known for years that people are spending an ever-increasing amount of time staring at screens. Now, thanks to quarantining efforts and the boredom that follows, screen time is really through the roof. For example, Facebook has reported a 70% increase in social media time on both Facebook and Instagram. Your audience is spending countless hours scrolling social media and websites, which gives you even more time to connect with them.

Lean into the dialogue about current events and share how you’re doing your part to stay responsible, keeping your community updated. Share your authentic perspective and offer ideas for how your specific audience can stay happy and healthy during the global health crisis. Alternatively, cut through the COVID-19 talk to give your community a welcomed chance to think about something else for a while.

How Can I Save My Business During COVID-19?

The answer will vary for every business. Some companies will have to make hard financial decisions, and even the best marketing strategy is unlikely to be a silver bullet solution. That said, please reach out if you need a Buddy to talk to about your current marketing plan.

If economic hardships have depleted your budget, let’s discuss flexible payment plans that can get you through this hard spot. If nothing else, producing great work now is an opportunity for Buddy Gardner to earn your business in the future. Talk is cheap, too, so we can do that for free. Let’s connect and see if we can come up with a few ideas to get you over the hump.

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