How to Market (And How NOT to Market) in the COVID-19 Era

small business marketing tips covid-19

We’re halfway through 2020, and so far, the year has been an unqualified disaster. International tensions. Race riots. Murder hornets. Every month seems to bring a new horror, and we’re all rooting for Robin Williams to return to earth, shout “Jumanji” and save us.

Overshadowing all of this, however, is a global pandemic. Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on our health, economy and sanity. Millions of people have lost their jobs. Small businesses have been forced to close their doors or, at the very least, obey stringent measures such as one-way aisles, increased sanitation and strict social distancing guidelines.

Overall? Not our best year. But the show must go on.

If your small business is lucky enough to still be doing business in these challenging times, you need to be following some specific marketing guidelines if you want to come out on the other side of this with your customer base still intact.

Here are our best dos and don’ts for marketing in the Covid-19 era.

DO Emphasize Social Distancing

Six feet apart has become our “new normal.” Gathering in large groups is highly discouraged and, in many states, actually illegal. Many people haven’t seen their extended families in months now, let alone their social groups.

Thus, the last thing they want to see in your marketing imagery is people having the fun that they themselves are not allowed to have! Instead, choose images that emphasize social distancing, as well as other COVID safety measures such as face masks and people staying in touch through technology.

DON’T Bring Politics into Your Marketing Missives

People have strong feelings about the way this pandemic is being handled, whether it’s being blown out of proportion and when we should go back to normal. You most likely have an opinion (or several) on the subject as well. Keep that opinion to yourself.

Politics and marketing don’t often go hand in hand even in normal times. When tensions are high, it’s a recipe for disaster.

DO Offer Contactless Options

For the elderly and immunocompromised, Covid-19 can be a death sentence. Even those without pre-existing conditions can easily end up hospitalized or worse. So offering contactless options for people who don’t feel comfortable going out is an absolute must.

If you already offer services such as contactless delivery or curbside carryout, shout it from the rooftops. If you don’t yet have these systems in place, start.

DON’T Offer In-Store Only Specials

You miss your customers. You miss interacting with them face to face, helping them find just what they’re looking for in your brick-and-mortar store and cultivating live, in-person relationships with them. And an in-store-only special would bring at least some of them through your doors, right?

Possibly. But is it really worth alienating the people who can’t or aren’t willing to risk their health by venturing out in public? Absolutely not! Make sure any coupons, specials or discounts you offer during the outbreak are available for use in-store or online.

DO Understand the Economic Impact on Your Target Market

Money is tight for many people right now. Especially if your target market is largely made up of customers on the lower side of the economic scale, now probably isn’t the time to unveil expensive new options or aggressively market to people who are already robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Be cognizant of what your customers are going through. What can you do to help ease a bit of their burden while ensuring your own burden doesn’t become too much to bear? The more we come together in troubling times, the easier it will be on everyone.

DON’T Beat the Subject to Death

We are living in unprecedented times. Things are scary and getting scarier by the day. No one knows when this will end or when life will resume some semblance of normalcy. But dwelling endlessly on the subject isn’t helping anyone.

Sure, mention the steps you’re taking to keep your customers safe. Offer discounts where you can afford them. But don’t drone on endlessly about the Coronavirus. We have enough doom and gloom in the world; a little positivity can go a long way!

Challenging Times Call for Stellar Solutions!

We might be in this for the long haul, but that doesn’t mean that your small business needs to come to a screeching halt. If you’re willing to change with the times, you’ll come out the other side of the pandemic stronger than ever!

Do you need help navigating the murky waters of marketing? Get in touch with Mischa Communications and we’ll handle it together, six feet apart.