If you have a Facebook, a TV, or you recently came out from the rock you live under, you are fully aware of Coronavirus. This virus has placed the world on halt, and for good reason. The impact this virus has on daily operations for both small and large businesses is pretty alarming. As a digital marketing agency owner, my mind is pretty much always thinking about the topic of reaching people through marketing. Because of my obsession, I can’t help but notice certain companies that are doing a great job during this odd time, as well as others that are exploiting the virus to boost sales 🤮.
Due to this observation, I felt it was important to break down some “do’s and don’ts” with regards to how your business reaches your audience right now.
Before I do, here is a quick overview of my current thoughts:
• Most companies allocate the largest portion of their marketing budget for trade shows and in-person events. (data company PredictHQ showed that February yielded a 500% increase in cancellations due to fear of Coronavirus) This thing has evolved significantly throughout March, so these figures are likely obsolete. As these events inevitably cancel, don’t just not spend that money (unless you are now dependent on it). Convert it to digital marketing efforts like email campaigning, which yields a $42 return for every $1 spent. You can read more about that here.
• By leveraging digital marketing and digital platforms, you can create a sense of normalcy in your business. If this is something you have never done, now is a time where you may be forced to learn. Once we get past this pandemic, having an integrated digital marketing strategy will greatly improve your business.
• A website is a critical element of your business. ESPECIALLY now that in-person interactions essentially are off limits. By selling your products online, or using the website for business exposure, you can continue operating. If you are a small business, and you do not have a strategic website, I suggest you read this article we recently published before continuing: “Do I REALLY need a website for my small business?”
Okay, with this overview in mind, here are some specifics to consider as you operate through this abnormal season:
Things not to do during Coronavirus as a business leader
- Do not use scare tactics to promote your business.
This is just super gross. I’ve seen too many companies and media outlets tailoring scary headlines to increase clicks to their website. In a time with such uncertainty, people need to feel confident. When you place your business in a position that induces fear, you create a lesser sense of trust for yourself. Just don’t do it.
- Do not fully cease operation of your business.
While now is a time to take advantage of some forced down time, it is not a vacation (if you’re a business owner, you’re probably rolling your eyes over how obvious this is). But, many business owners are likely trying to figure out what they can even do during this season. As a business owner, you are likely constantly on the grind. During this time, you have an opportunity to go back to the drawing board. You can consider new opportunities you likely don’t typically have time for. What opportunity is sitting out there that you haven’t recently had time to think about? How can digital marketing play into a newfound opportunity you discover?
- Do not assume now is a bad time to promote.
This is honestly the understatement of the century. The world is currently looking at their phone for a large portion of the day. While you do not want to exploit this virus, you also don’t want to fully ignore and opportunity to tell your story. Put some information out there about your business. While Facebook advertising could just get you lost in the noise, sending a promotional email right now could get you a different level of attention than you would typically get during normal business operation.
Opportunities as a result of Coronavirus
- Help people – even if it means just making them smile.
Is your business in a position to help? Do it. I am seeing restaurants in my town feeding those that depend on their school for food. I am seeing businesses giving away needed items such as water and toilet paper due to a shortage in stores. I am seeing churches using resources to support the medical community. These gestures are highly advantageous toward the public perception of your organization. If you don’t have the means to provide financially, put something out that makes people smile. We need it. While you don’t necessarily do it to earn business, a helpful gesture will endear people to you and your business better than most strategic marketing would.
- Take any downtime you are given to strategize.
I touched on this in the don’ts section, but I can’t stress this enough. You have SUCH an opportunity right now to improve your business. Get out a pen and pad and get creative. Every business has gaps we miss in the busyness. There is a revenue increase opportunity you are currently overlooking – take the gift of downtime to figure out what that is.
- If you still have a means of revenue, now is a perfect time to build a website.
Even if you can’t pay for a website right now, you can begin drawing a wireframe for one. You can start writing content for the pages you need. Your business is without question better with a website. Even if you realize in hindsight your business would have benefitted greatly now that you can’t operate as normal, something like this could happen again in the future. It could be a while before things are normal again. By having a website, you can continue to operate. You can continue to reach your audience. If you realize now is the time to create a website for your business, or to improve upon what you have, we would love to help.
This weird season isn’t all bad… and fortunately, we will get through it. Your perspective on the matter will either bring your business to a halt, or it will improve it in a way that you didn’t realize was possible. Continue to get your message out there. Consider forms of digital marketing you have never done before. You never know when the next time may come that having a digital marketing presence could be the saving grace your business needed.