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Safe to say, most small- and medium-size businesses did not see a COVID-19 economy coming.
At our marketing agency, we certainly did not.

We wrote this in a “Happy New Year” email:

Happy 2020! Doesn’t it just sound like an awesome year? A year in which you and your business will achieve your goals with:

Clear vision

Perfect 20/20 insight

Fresh eyes on new and old problems

It went on from there. Very rosy predictions. So, now here we are.

What should business owners and leaders do during COVID-19?

First, take a deep breath.

Stay safe. Follow CDC guidelines. Protect your physical AND mental health. Take socially distanced walks or live stream yoga classes at home. It’s a stressful time.

Learn about the CARES Act and apply for any aid for which your business qualifies.

We start with that because we care about you. We’re in this together.

What should you do with your marketing during the COVID-19 Economy?

That depends if you’re an essential business or your doors are temporarily shuttered.

Marketing for Essential Businesses

Don’t stop your marketing! You may think this is the time to cut back on your marketing budget. It is not. It is the time to be in front of your customers.

The purpose of marketing is to generate revenue!

Why would you want to stop that now? Now, more than ever, you need to reach and engage your customers. Some business owners want to slash marketing when times get tough. Don’t do it. Instead, pivot to create campaigns that fit the times.

Reassure your customers now

First, make sure your customers know that you’re open for business.

Second, share what measures you have taken to keep them safe from the pandemic.

  • Are you doing curbside pickup? Drive-through only?
  • Extra cleaning?
  • Taking employees’ temperatures every day before their shifts?
  • Are your employees now working six feet apart?
  • Are your employees wearing personal protective equipment?

Let your customers know. Not only will they hear from you but also, they’ll be more confident in your products or services.

Offer special promotions now

Remind people that you’re open—or available online. Give them an incentive. Encourage them to support you during this difficult time. People are tired of their own cooking. They are reading more social media posts, and they’re looking for something to do. Depending on your type of business, see how you can pivot to feed them (e.g., restaurants, bakeries, caterers etc.), share your posts with them (all companies), and/or entertain them (offer an online opportunity).

Other companies have done it. Ultra Handy is now installing plexiglass coverings to protect cashiers and other workers. Gold Medal Ideas is providing care packages for companies to send virtual workers to keep them connected. You can change up your offerings, too.

Consider news releases

Has your company pivoted in a unique way due to COVID-19? Editors and producers need content for media. People are hungry for good news. Write a press release. After it goes over the wire, share it on your website and social media channels.

Marketing for All Businesses

Communicate with your customers and prospects

Email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) of all marketing tactics. Send emails to let people know you’re out there. Are you open? Waiting to return to business as usual? Let people know.

What’s more, if you haven’t been collecting emails from your prospects and customers, now is a great time to start.

Social Media Marketing

People are home. They are on social media. A lot. Don’t miss the opportunity to have people engage with you on social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Sleigh Family Chiropractic, an essential business, is posting and sharing upbeat and unique campaigns on Facebook. They have collected donations and offered promotions to support other local businesses.

Similarlly, during this stressful time, One True You,  life and career coaching services, has been posting reassuring messages on Facebook. The company continues its focus on SEO.

Both these companies are staying relevant and top-of-mind with their target audiences.

Is business slower or non-existent during this time of social distancing?

Perfect! This gives you time to work on the marketing projects you’ve been putting off. Write a blog or an eBook. Call your marketing agency, and have them start on a sales brochure you’ve been putting off.

In addition to offering virtual interior design consultations, Creative Design Concepts is enhancing its search engine optimization and updating blogs.

Prepare for your comeback

How are you going to quickly rebuild when you come back? Contact us to strategize your comeback marketing plan. Consider some of these ideas:

  • Optimize your website and directories for search engines. SEO is a long-term investment, so the time to do it is NOW—not when the world recovers. Don’t forget local SEO strategies.
  • Prepare your social media campaigns and online advertising campaigns now. In that way, all you’ll have to do is pull the trigger on your marketing when the time is right.
  • Update your website. If your website has outdated branding or messaging, refresh now.

Ask for different payment terms

If times are truly hard for your business, perhaps you can stretch your payments out over several months. At Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing, for example, we work with our clients on the terms of payment, so that you can be poised now for the future.

Continue your virtual networking

Face-to-face marketing has one of the highest returns on investment–even better than email marketing and search engine optimization. Meet new business owners. Find out how you can support them now and when the COVID-19 pandemic social distancing is no longer necessary. If you don’t know how to use videoconferencing tools, now is the time to learn.

Email or call us

Let’s share a cup of coffee (or tea) over Zoom or Skype. Reach out using the form below, and we’ll set it up.

Nancy Burgess

Nancy Burgess is the owner of Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing, a marketing consulting firm and online agency. In that role, she integrates her corporate success as a digital marketer along with her marketing agency experience in marketing communications and branding to help businesses prosper. Nancy's specialties are search engine optimization (SEO) and content creation. She graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, holds a master's degree, and also multiple marketing certificates from DePaul University's graduate school. She is a frequent presenter on SEO strategies and has worked in digital marketing since the late 1990s. As someone who can strategize AND execute, Nancy offers digital and traditional marketing services to SMBs. Agency value without agency fees. Along with SEO and content strategies, Nancy's agency offers website design, marketing automation, integrated marketing strategies, and branding to her clients.