• Jesi Konen

Marketing Tips for Small Businesses During Covid-19

Wow. Life really takes some wild turns. It's a scary time for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a scary time for small businesses. For any business really. Layoffs, furloughs, panic buying, spending freezes. Forced closures, skeleton crews, and remote workforces. Then there's the added balance of homeschooling our children and keeping the kids entertained. Chaotic is an understatement. I feel like I have a completely new appreciation for teachers (I have always thought them to be superhuman, but now even more so).

Let's flip the switch though, and look at the positive. Increased time with our families. A forced slow-down to lives that are usually packed full with meetings, sports, happy hours, travel. Time to slow down and actually look around. Prioritize. Enjoy nature. Family dinners. Catch up with friends you have been too busy to talk to over FaceTime and GoogleDuo. And let's be honest, more time to make TikTok videos!

For some small businesses, this could be the end. That's the straight truth. However, if your business is not at immediate risk of going out of business through these closures, then there might be good opportunities for you during this time. Here are some tips:

Move around your Marketing Budget

Digital is where people are right now. People have cancelled personal and business plans. Music Festivals, concerts, trade shows, sporting events are on hold. Go where the people are. Social media is exploding as people are spending more time than ever on their social channels and searches. Continue to publish relevant content to your social platforms. Stay at the top of mind, but also speak to the needs of your audience.

My personal suggestion and this depends on industry, cancel ads and PPC's. Focus on engagement, getting to know your clients, and helping where you can. Focus on organic reach and move budgets into SEO. Start that Blog you have been meaning to write, offer Youtube, Facebook, or InstagramTV Videos for your customers, and talk to your customers who are using their social media. Get engaged.

Invest in Marketing if you can

Many businesses are taking their foot off the marketing gas. Don't take your foot off the gas unless you have to. This is a great time to invest in your marketing (if you can). I completely realize that many businesses cannot afford to do this part at this time, but if you can, spend this time focussing on your marketing, giving you the competitive advantage over time.

Let's elaborate on this step. If time allows, a lot of marketing can be done yourself. However, if this isn't your skillset make sure if you hire this out that you look long and hard to see what value each agency you research will bring to your business. Do you have to sign a long contract? If yes, I strongly urge you not to sign it. Not right now. The world needs flexibility right now. If marketing is not your strong suit look for a VA or a company who realizes the importance of what is happening and is willing to be flexible during this time. There is still a lot of uncertainty.

Change your Delivery Method

Get creative. No longer allowed to keep your business open due to the closures? Is there something you can offer online? A service, a product? Restaurants are getting creative with offering meal kits and curbside. What can you offer? Can you do virtual appointments, virtual tutoring, virtual classes. Virtual being the key word so that you can continue to look out for the safety of yourself, your team, and others. Start a youtube channel, move to e-commerce. Find ways to adapt if you can.

Focus on your existing customers

Stop selling and start engaging. This is actually advice I would give regardless if there is a pandemic or not. Stop pushing your products on people, and start engaging with people. Get to know your customers. Develop trust and loyalty. Look for ways to put your audience in first place and address their needs and concerns.

Work on projects but pause PR

Unless it simply can't wait, pause press releases and announcements. This isn't the time. Everyone is scared and focussed on the current situation. Stay away from doing something that is in bad taste. Don't piggyback off the current pandemic in hopes of getting ahead. Focus on projects that have been on your back burner. We ALL have them! Ongoing training, organizing, updating or publishing a new website. Whatever it may be, now is the time to do it.

Help if you can and stay positive!

It's not all about you. And while this can feel crushing right now, there are a lot of people scared for themselves, their family, their business, their finances. Employees and customers have been affected in some way by this virus. If there is something you can do to help during this stressful time, it is the right thing to do. Stay positive! Easier said than done sometimes, but try your best. Remember to take time for yourself. Time to de-stress in whatever way is best for you so that you can put your best self out there.

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