50 Coronavirus Marketing Tips for Small Businesses (COVID 19)

About the Author:

Mike Salvaggio has over 20 years of digital marketing experience specializing in digital marketing with a focus on client acquisition through organic and paid search. A graduate of The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania , Mike co-founded and is currently the CEO of SEO Brand. SEO Brand is an award winning digital marketing agency trusted by some of the biggest and most influential brands.

It is time to get a bit creative and this guide for the top 50 digital marketing tips will help your small business.  Yes these are strange days but the opportunities are all around us.  If you do not have a digital strategy, you are at a disadvantage but it is not too late.  Coronavirus is a black swan event which no one could have expected and a lot of businesses are suffering. In fact, the coronavirus could cost the global economy $2.7 trillion and reports are saying north of $4T is likely.  

That said, brands need to address the issue with empathy and mindful marketing. If not, you’ll face a similar response just like KFC for its “Finger-Lickin’ Good’ campaign.” A lot of people took to social media to label the ad as “irresponsible.” KFC temporarily paused the campaign. Shocker.

How can you adapt your market strategies and engage in responsible marketing?

Here are the top 50 ways to promote your business during COVID-19.

1 – Invest In SEO, Duh.

With trade shows and seminars getting canceled or postponed, it’s best to reallocate your budget for in-person events to other channels like SEO. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are spending more time online. Total internet traffic has already increased by over a quarter between January and late March 2020 which seems obvious on the surface but consider people are spending more time researching things they may want to buy once the pandemic calms down.

By leveraging SEO, you can increase your chances of getting your business in front of your target audience right when they’re searching for your products and while companies are slashing marketing budgets, it is the perfect time to invest and gain valuable ground in the digital real estate world.

2 – Invest in Paid Ads , Yeah PPC actually works!

Paid ads have become cheaper as a lot of small businesses have stopped their PPC campaigns. As a result, there isn’t much competition and the price of ads continues to drop which if you think about it, doesn’t make much sense.  More people online, and price of ads dropping?  Sounds like a buying opportunity to me.

It makes sense to leverage paid ads. What’s more interesting is that the ROI of paid advertisements is increasing. Some businesses have witnessed a 71% increase in ROI post-COVID-19.  

If you haven’t tried running paid ads for your business, you probably should start right now. 

3 – Heighten Your Email Marketing — No Spamming!

Email marketing drives the highest ROI among other digital marketing channels. I’m sure you are probably sick of emails like Audi is responding to COVID 19 but you can take a different approach.  Reach out to your customers to know if they’re okay, share information on how you’re adding value to their life by distributing valuable content. 

People are more likely to remember your brand if you support them at crucial times. There is nothing better for a business than a word-of-mouth recommendation from a loyal customer.  Just be careful on your choice of content and messaging.  I have probably unsubscribed to 100 different email lists because people are just saying annoying things that provide no value. Think about it before blasting someone’s inbox.  This guide for coronavirus marketing tips isn’t for spammers! 

4 – Leverage Social Media

(use Facebook for something other than stalking people)

Instead of sharing the latest cure for the Coronavirus, how about using social media to generate revenue for your business?

Social media has seen a surge in users like never before. Instagram Stories usage is up by 15% since the outbreak. Other platforms, like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn, are also seeing an increase in usage. 

You need to start running social media campaigns to reach your target audience across different social networks.  The reach is astonishing and the costs are cheaper than they have ever been before.

Check this out. Revolve, a one-stop-shop for designer clothing brands online, is making the most of social media during COVID-19. They collaborated with Aimee Song (an American fashion blogger and author) and Amaze Bowls to share amazing smoothie bowl recipes you can try during the quarantine. The post also says, “not into cooking at home? Support local businesses by ordering pickup or delivery”. In the end, they promoted their product by adding a link to shop their store. 

 

Source

5 – Let Your Customers Know What You’re Doing For Them and Your Employees.  It’s People time!

Consumers are expecting brands to step up and take the necessary measures to fight COVID-19. Therefore, it is crucial to inform the customers about the precautions taken for the safety of  your employees and your customers. Marketing your safety practices will help people show confidence in your services, and they are more likely to start doing business with you.

6 – Help Fight The Coronavirus 

With most of the non-essential services suspended across the globe, major brands have started contributing to fight COVID-19. People are likely to remember businesses that are helping the world during these hard times. 

For example, Old Fourth Distillery, an alcohol company, saw a desperate need for hand sanitizers so they temporarily shifted from spirits to producing hand sanitizers for first responders and healthcare workers. No matter how small, a contribution goes a long way.  People will remember the brands that stand out and what a brand does or does not do during this time can have long lasting effects on it.

7 – Hold Webinars , Zoom Anyone?

Webinars can be very effective in reaching your target audience while they sit at home. Follow the best practices to make the most out of webinars.

  • Demonstrate your products and services.  We already do a lot of this during pitches and client reporting calls.
  • Showcase your expertise by addressing your audience’s pain points (you can check online Q&A sites like Quora, to find the questions people are asking). 
  • When promoting your business, focus on “what’s in it for them” and not “how your product is great.” 
  • Use a CTA, so your viewers know what action to take. 

At the end of the webinar, viewers should crave for more information about your business, thereby increasing the chances of future business. 

8 – Go Live On Social Media

Ready to show yourself to the world? It’s not easy but going live on social media is yet another way to engage with your target audience in real-time. You can answer their questions while keeping them informed about the safety practices your business is following during COVID-19.   Think of it in a way where you are staying on the radar, if they see you and your company active, they will remember you when the pandemic is over.

9 – Launch New Offerings, If Possible

You don’t need a perfect product. A minimum viable product will help you quickly launch new offerings and stay connected with your customers. 

For example, the travel industry has been one of the worst hit sectors by the coronavirus. Instead of waiting for the pandemic to be over, the Faroe Islands released a new campaign that offers remote viewers to see the island through the eyes of its locals. It even allows virtual tourists to control the movements of locals in real-time.  Its amazing way to stay on the radar and provide their potential customers with the dream of visiting the island when the pandemic is over.

Look for what is missing during COVID-19 and offer your audience just that. The Faroe Islands saw people are missing traveling and hence launched a new offering that fulfills the needs of their customers.   

10 – Promote Social Causes 

The whole world is suffering, and sometimes it’s more important to promote a social cause than your business.   This guide to Coronavirus marketing tips aren’t just there for you to pull in dough, how about doing some good too ya know?

Burger King surely knows how to promote social causes before their business. They had “Home of the Whopper” below its logo before COVID-19, but it now reads “Stay Home” with the word “Stay” added and “Of the Whopper” crossed out. 

Source

When you promote a social cause, it will send a message to your target audience that you care more about them than your business (just make sure you really do) As a result, they’ll trust your brand more than ever and that goes a long way in keeping the customers loyal to your business. Loyal customers bring in more profits.

11 – Eliminate Marketing Language That Encourages Close Interaction

No Dancing for a while.

While the world is practicing social distancing, using words like “get in touch,” “work hand in hand,” or “get closer to your goals,” might seem inappropriate. Instead, use words like “call us now,”, “work together (virtually)”, or “reach your goals faster.”  It is a different world now and you would be surprised at how much of a difference these small tweaks can mean.

12 – Share Employee Generated Content (ECG)

Quarantine is an opportunity to spotlight your culture and people. Ask your employees to share how they’re keeping the things light while staying at home. 

Post fun photos from your video conferencing or interview a few of your employees. Showing your human side can help you emotionally connect with your target audience. 

13 – Focus On Your Existing Customers

Focusing on your existing customers helps keep retention rate high and increases the chances of upselling and cross-selling.  New isn’t always the best way.  Putting more care into the customers you have can mean customers for life.

Stay in touch with your customers during these crucial times by using channels like emails and social media. Respond promptly when they need your help and ensure you offer the best experience to your users.

14 – Ease Up on Urgency.  Relax.

Scarcity-driven marketing like “don’t miss out” or “valid up to X days” is not going to resonate with people right now. The most urgent thing right now is fighting COVID-19. Keep scarcity copywriting for later. Instead, try using simple words that don’t focus on urgency like “book a virtual appointment ” 

15 – Align Your Copy With COVID-19 Safety Measures

Ensure that your website and social media copy is aligned with COVID-19 safety measures. 

Use words that imply the safety of your audience, such as “contactless,” “home,” “virtual,” and “remote” wherever possible. 

Sweetgreen is an excellent example of a brand aligning its copy with COVID-19 safety measures. Take this Facebook post from them as an example. It reads, “#sghack from Nicolas Jammet’s home to yours”.  Brilliant.

16 – Share Resources That Can Help Your Target Audience

You may not be delivering your products or services right now, but you can share some valuable resources with your potential customers. 

For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, you can share one of your signature recipes via a video or blog post. If you’re into health and fitness, share tips on how to stay healthy at home when the physical movement is limited. 

17 – Leverage Hashtags to Your Advantage

Hashtags can help grow your social media following and increase your reach. Create your own hashtags or join in on trending hashtags to show your humorous side. 

18 – Leverage Content Marketing 

Content marketing can be a very effective way to educate your target audience and increase organic traffic. It can help you nurture your prospects until they’re ready to convert. 

IKEA, a furniture and home furnishings company, surely knows how to leverage content marketing to their advantage. They share various ideas ranging from DIY to cleaning and decorating rooms. 

This helps them attract people looking for ideas and inspiration. Besides, all their posts contain the products they sell along with real advice, thereby nurturing the prospects. Stellar. 

19 – Start a Podcast

An average podcast listener spends eight hours listening to podcasts weekly. See how much time you spend listening to Joe Rogan?

Here’s how you can leverage podcasts to market your business. 

  • Discuss current trends and hot topics related to your niche.
  • Share valuable insights with your target audience. For example, if you’re into SEO, tell your audience how to optimize their website (you would want to share less-known tactics and not something that’s available all over the internet). Blow them away and watch them come to you over and over again.
  • Convert your best-performing blogs into podcasts to share the same content in audible form. 
  • Interview experts. Not only will people be interested in listening to someone well-known in the industry, but even the expert will share your podcast with their audience, too. 
  • Use a Call to Action (CTA) to tell users what action you want them to take. 
  • Share your podcast on multiple platforms, including social media and your website. 

Podcasts help build relationships with the audience. Besides, podcast listeners are growing thus allowing you to reach a large number of people. 

20 – Offer Payment Plans – Flex Time

Many people are struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even the ones who are financially stable are looking to save more for uncertain times. Offering payment plans (EMI) can increase conversion rates by 12% on average. Would you rather have the new deal paying slowly or a chance at losing the deal due to a lump sum?  Seems like a no brainer if you can handle the small amount of cash flow.

21 – Invite Industry Leaders to a Video Conference

Industry leaders usually have a considerable following. Invite them to talk about the pain points of your target audience or on other relevant topics. People have more time than ever during this lockdown, so they are looking for ways to spend their time. Listening to industry leaders will offer them a good option to watch your channel and subscribe to it. Share it everywhere, especially on LinkedIN.

22 – Respond To Online Reviews

Businesses with no dedicated PR or social media management team rarely respond to online reviews. Take this opportunity to respond to each online review on different platforms, including Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other third-party review sites. This indicates that you value your customers, and it also improves your business’s visibility on the internet. 

23 – Offer Value for Free Now

By offering value first, you can build a relationship with your customers for long. Take this example from Moz. They’re giving access to Moz Academy (on-demand SEO courses) for free until 31st May. 

Anyone taking these training sessions will most likely have a strong affinity towards the brand, and the chances are that they’ll become a paying customer in the future. 

24 – Re-Optimize Old Content

This one is my favorite.  Check for content that performed exceptionally well in the past and perhaps give the content a fresh look by updating the facts and tips to match the current trends. Google loves new content; hence, updating your older content will have a positive SEO impact leading to higher organic search traffic.

25 – Engage With Social Media Influencers

Social media influencers have a high following. By collaborating with niche social influencers, you get to widen your reach and increase engagement. 

Influencers have loyal followers, and when so many micro-influencers  speak highly of your business, your target audience will start following your brand.

26 – Leverage Powerful Copywriting Skills 

Copywriting, when done right, can help you go viral in a short time. Here are a few ways to leverage copywriting to your advantage. 

  • Keep a positive, inspiring, and helpful tone. 
  • Tell a story.
  • Ensure the information you provide is correct and updated. Also, back the claims you make.
  • Focus on verbs (e.g., do, learn, create, decide, etc.). 
  • Emphasize benefits more than features of your product/service. 

Fantastic Sams has a simple, yet an effective message for its website visitors. Their home page reads, “To our valued guests, we are all in this together”. This is great because the brand assures you’re not alone even when you’re locked inside your home, all while keeping an inspiring and positive tone. 

27 – Secure Media Early 

While at home, most people are watching the news to update themselves about the COVID-19 situation. It would be best to secure key spots at media channels to promote your brand. However, in the U.S, businesses will have to compete with the presidential political campaigns for key media placement. Work with media planners to secure a spot before it gets crowded. 

28 – Start selling on Amazon. 

Starting an Amazon store is easier than you think.  If you have some products that you are already selling on your Shopify or WordPress websites, consider adding them to Amazon, the largest e-commerce shopping engine in existence.   With all of the time you will have to practice listing items, you can also read up and learn how to rank your products properly using Amazon SEO techniques.

29 – Start Advertising on Niche Blogs

Niche blogs usually have a specific target audience. Kinda like this one for Coronavirus Marketing Tips.  Their followers have already shown interest in your industry and are more likely to become your customers. Identify the top niche blogs and pitch them to advertise your products on their blog.  

30 – Run a COVID-19 Unique Ad Campaign to Reward Customers

Create COVID-19 unique ad campaigns to reward your existing customers for doing business with you. This will help you convert them into loyal customers. How you reward them depends on you. Whatever you choose, make sure it encourages safety and loyalty. 

31 – Partner With Online Coupon Sites

Coupon sites usually have thousands of subscribers who are looking for promo codes and discounts. When you partner with online coupon sites, your offer will go to each of their subscribers, thereby advertising your business to a broad audience.   Everyone forgets about Groupon but they are still around and should thrive in this environment.

32 – Create More Videos

Video streaming has increased by 12% in the first week since a quarantine was implemented due to COVID-19. 

Creating videos can help you reach more people and keep them engaged for long. You can create product demos, advanced tips to make the most out of your product, or simply share a message that your business is with the people at this time of need. 

For example, this 45-second video by Campbell Soup Company showcases people making the most of their social distancing with a quick view of its products, such as Goldfish Crackers. 

These kinds of videos can help you promote your product while reminding people about COVID-19 safety measures. It sends a message to the viewers that you’re a responsible company and increases the chances of them doing business with you. 

33 – Offer a Free Tool

Pandemics or not, everyone loves free stuff. If you have the potential to create a tool, then make sure to act fast on it and offer it for free. A simple tool that is useful for people at this time will do enough for your brand. Gamification is the need of the hour, and one of the best ways to get the attention of people is to offer something useful for free.

34 – Market With E-Books

E-books …remember those?  Well they can provide tons of value to the readers. Besides, people share content with their friends and colleagues that they think might add value to their life. Combine all sorts of tips and tricks and convert them into an e-book. 

35 – Start Sending Exclusive Deals

You already have the contact information of your customers and subscribers. Make good use of it by sending exclusive deals to them. Segment the list and personalize the campaigns to increase the chances of conversion.  Make sure your list is clean though.  A lot of people are becoming annoyed at the increase of email marketing since COVID 19 started.

36 – Learn Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is cost-effective and helps broaden your target audience. It can help you reach a new set of audiences. Moreover, you won’t need to pay until there’s a sale.  Research your competitors, find out if they have an affiliate program, sign up, check it out.  Educate yourself.

37 – Sponsor Guest Posts

Find popular blogs in your industry and sponsor them in exchange for guest posts. This will not only help you reach a wider audience but give you some good branding as well.  Be careful not to use Guest Posting as a way to circumvent Google’s TOS.  Don’t use it to spam Google or learn the hard way.

38 – Create an E-Brochure

Due to COVID-19, it is obviously not possible to distribute hard-copy brochures. Why not create an e-brochure that can be downloaded from your website?  Offer the e-brochure in exchange for an email address this way you can build your database. Highlight the key benefits of working with you or buying your product. You can share the e-brochure on social media platforms to increase the reach. 

39 – Create an AR or VR Effect

If you offer physical products, create an AR or VR effect to allow customers to enjoy your product from home. Allow them to try your product virtually. This will help you increase traffic to your website and enhance your brand image.  See Warby Parker who pretty much pioneered this effect.

40 – Change Your Delivery Method

Businesses that offer in-person services are the rage during COVID-19. If you’re one of them, try changing your delivery method. For example, if you provide consultancy, provide your services via a voice or video call.  From virtual birthday parties to therapy patient calls, Zoom is the platform that is taking over.

41 – Start an E-Magazine

I know this sounds a little wacky but Magazines are a great way to advertise your product and broaden your reach. Create an e-magazine where you interview thought leaders, share industry news, and offer advice that interests your target audience. This will not only act as a great online marketing tool, but it will also demonstrate a different side of your company. 

42 – Focus on Branding

Analyze your branding. Does it send a strong message to your audience? What message is sending?  Is the main message not clear within 3 seconds of visiting the page?  If not, consider reassessing the message to ensure that it matches your brand’s personality. Here’s how you can enhance your brand image. 

  • Define a unique value proposition.   Make it easy to understand.  (This is so important and mostly overlooked)
  • Get more reviews and testimonials (don’t be afraid to ask happy customers to share one). 
  • Engage with your customers on social media. Respond to every mention and unlinked mentions. 
  • Don’t focus solely on selling. Share valuable content with everyone for free. 
  • Encourage people to engage with your brand. 
  • Use a consistent tone of voice. 

43 – Promote a Sale

If you’re able to offer your products or services at a reduced price, don’t hesitate because discounts generate business. Besides, when you offer them during a crisis (like COVID-19), it appears as unselfish as you’re helping people to better afford what they need.  Just make sure its sincere.

For example, Bones Coffee Company is offering a 20% discount on the entire order. It’s worth noticing that the coupon code you need to use to get the discount is “STAYHOME”, reminding people that they shouldn’t step out of their home during COVID-19. 

Source

44 – Run a Contest

Running contests on social media can help you engage your followers. You can ask users to refer/tag three friends to enter the contest and offer a prize or discount to the winner on their next purchase. 

45 – Advertise on a Local Newspaper

Newspapers are considered essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advertising in local newspapers can help you reach a wide range of audiences and improve your branding in your neighborhood. Yeah I still read newspapers so don’t judge.

46 – Engage in Online Forums

By engaging in online forums, you can reach people asking questions about your business and industry. Answer their questions to demonstrate your expertise in the niche. Forums still generate a ton of leads and opportunities and I think they are the forgotten stepchild of the internet.  I still use them and so do you, admit it.  Thats why the legendary forum use makes it to the coronavirus marketing tips post.  Respect.

47 – Tell a Story

No not Peter Cottontail a brand story. Stories can help connect with your target audience emotionally. Tell the “why” and “how” of your business. Why did you start this business, and how? The story builds perception, perception builds value, and value brings conversion. 

48 – Submit a Request on HARO (help a reporter out)

HARO is an online service that provides journalists with sources for upcoming stories to secure valuable media coverage. Submit a request on HARO explaining what’s special you are doing as a business in this time of need. There is a chance that you might receive a response from interested reporters who are ready to give your business free media coverage in return for a worthy story. 

49 – Run TV Ads

Billboards and flyers are no more an option to advertise your business, but you can buy ad space on TV channels. If you already have a video, then it’s excellent, but if you don’t, then try creating one while following COVID-19 safety measures. They are really cheap now BTW.

50 – Join Social Media Groups

Social media platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn, usually have various industry-related groups. You can find them by typing “your industry + groups.” Join a few of them, engage with the group members, and let them know about your business. 

Summary

COVID-19 is a new era and while it threw a monkey wrench into our business operations and plans, there are so many opportunities it also created.

You need to think and modify your marketing to match the current situation. These 50 coronavirus marketing tips above can help you promote your business and increase your customer base.

Happy Marketing and thank you for reading.

Mike