The COVID-19/Coronavirus crisis has deeply affected the world of business. We have had to move our operations to our garages, kitchens, basements, and rec rooms to protect ourselves from the virus and those carrying it. Of course, many of us small business people, such as this author, already worked at a home office, so the adjustment was fairly easy.
What isn’t easy or simple, however, is marketing during the crisis. It is not “business-as-usual” and engaging with a public that has been traumatized by the pandemic requires thought, compassion, and care. Marketing departments must make adjustments quickly and thoroughly.
Here are some small business marketing tips that may help you as you navigate through this pandemic:
1. Shelve any large scale marketing campaigns: As this blog is being written, we are already two months into this crisis. So, any large scale spending campaigns may have already been dropped. If not, don’t start one. No matter your industry, it’s a good idea to hold off spending big money on any campaign.
2. Continue social media management: The crisis has driven many people to Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter. So, these channels are busy with an audience wanting to learn, engage, and, perhaps, even buy. Don’t scale back too much from utilizing the social media channels you are using for business. Instead of selling too heavily, post images of people who still work in your company or post about a campaign your company has done to raise food donations for employees. Keep using your social media and make it a positive and educational experience for your followers. Post videos and images that are friendly and education not sales-heavy or in-your-face selling.
3. Branding assistance: COVID-19 is here and no one knows how long it will be around. In the meantime, your brand of products and/or services can certainly help others. Under your brand, you can raise money for restaurant wait staff or flight attendants. Also, you could collect canned foods for families whose parents have lost their jobs and give donations to the food bank. Or, you could donate time to the unemployed in the form of searching for jobs or loan out office space for interviews. Your company brand can be a beacon of hope to those in need. It doesn’t have to be a large group. You could even adopt a family or restaurant near the office.
4. Calm and compassionate images and narratives: All of your marketing should reflect respectful imagery and text. Avoid any “COVID-19 Specials” campaigns that seem to trivialize and downplay the real crisis we are all experiencing. Now is the time for marketing which touches people not offends them. Use images (photos) that are not groups of people or large crowds. Marketing copy and images which reflect the current crisis are more appropriate.
Marketing should never be put on the shelf during any time period. However, it always should be sensitive to current events and be understanding to your audience. Be approachable and helpful.