Small Business Marketing: The COVID-19 Effect

small business marketing covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we do nearly everything.

Jobs were made remote. School took place over Zoom. Businesses closed their doors, slashed their hours or enforced capacity limits.

For a moment there, it seemed like we were nearing the end. And then the Delta variant arrived. Now, even states that fared well during the initial pandemic are breaking records as cases skyrocket across the country.

Small business owners were hardly immune to the pandemic. In fact, they tended to fare worse. While big-box stores like Walmart and Target were deemed essential and allowed to remain open, small mom-‘n’-pop shops were forced to close — 9.4 million of them, to be exact.

Many of them will never open again.

When everything changes, seemingly overnight, the only thing left to do is change with it. And that’s exactly what small business owners did, especially when it came to marketing amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Marketing in the Era of COVID-19

According to volunteer network SCORE, digital marketing is all the rage. Seventy-eight percent of small business owners intend to invest more in digital marketing going forward, while 75% are bulking up their social media budget and 45% are looking to increase their social media advertising spend.

Why? Because people aren’t venturing out as much as usual. It’s impossible to profit from in-store sales and promotions if no one is in the store.

It doesn’t look like that foot traffic is coming back any time soon, either. Sixty-four percent of people say they’ll continue to use a store app for purchases, says SCORE, and 62% plan to go virtual for health and wellness advice.

The vast majority (91%) of small business owners intend to utilize digital marketing strategies this year. 51 percent say websites are among their top digital marketing channels, while 49% say social media is. Only 13% call search engine optimization (SEO) a top digital marketing channel. Video marketing isn’t as popular as you might think, either, with a mere 22% saying “lights, camera, action.”

When it comes to the most popular social media channels, Facebook leads by a wide margin, with 66% of business owners saying it’s among the top platforms they use. Next comes YouTube at 42% and Instagram at 41%. Snapchat and TikTok round out the list of favorites with a mere 15% and 12%, respectively.

What Does the Digital Revolution Mean for Small Businesses?

Digital marketing has always been a tool in your arsenal, but the pandemic has made it the most important tool. It’s the hammer that fits in your hand just right, the screwdriver your great-grandfather brought over from the old country, the socket set you’d be lost without.

What we’re saying is amid the COVID-19 pandemic, digital marketing is irreplaceable.

The numbers don’t lie. It’s too soon to tell whether digital marketing will continue to be the preferred method in perpetuity. But for the moment, it’s clear that it’s what you need to focus on if you want to weather the storm.

Overwhelmed? Confused? Not sure where to start? Mischa Communications can help you create a pandemic-proof digital marketing strategy. Let us know when you’re ready!