Marketing Tactics Every Business Can Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic

When sales plummet and revenue dries up, the natural human response is to panic.  Whether it’s the current COVID crisis, a natural disaster, or some other market influence, our innate fight or flight reaction kicks in and prevents us from thinking clearly.  Inevitably, this leads to short-sighted decisions that hinder long-term success when this pandemic is over (that’s right, this crisis will pass and businesses will reopen!).

Unless your business already folded, you have to plan for the future.  And that means planting some seeds today that you can harvest later…

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

– Robert Louis Stevenson

Your 2 Marketing Priorities During COVID-19

There are two key marketing priorities to focus on during the COVID crisis:

  1. Generate sales and revenue right now (if you can)
  2. Invest in sales and revenue in the future (every business can do this)

Not every business can generate revenue right now, but if you can, then this is critical to improve your cash flow and keep the lights on.  However, at the same time, every business needs to be investing in marketing that will help them post-COVID.

Let’s talk about the marketing tactics for each of the key priorities…

Marketing Tactics to Generate Sales Right Now

Nearly every business has been forced to change its product and service delivery during this pandemic.  Last week I published some resources to help you provide remote service delivery via 1-on-1 video conferences, group webinars, and video recordings.

Once you’ve updated your service delivery, then it’s time to publicize it on your website.  I strongly recommend adding a popup notice that is automatically displayed to visitors.  You may have noticed on our website, we added a notice in the bottom right corner that says “Yes, We’re Open!”.  This will tell prospective customers that you are in fact open for new business during the COVID crisis.  Plus, you can clarify how your product and service delivery has changed in response to COVID.

That’s step 1, which every business should do ASAP.

The next steps depend on your current business situation:

1. Email marketing

If you have an email list (newsletter subscribers, prospects, customers), then now is the time to start email marketing if you’re not already.  If you’ve been following our company, then you know we have been preaching the value of email marketing from day one.  The businesses that have an engaged email list have a huge competitive advantage right now.  But if you haven’t started, then this crisis should be the kick in the pants to draft some emails.

2. Follow up 

If you have contact information for prospects and customers (email, phone, and/or direct mail), then launch a follow-up campaign.  Start with customers since they are most likely to buy again and then move down your list of prospects.

3. Social media

If you have an engaged social media audience, then use social media to follow up and remind everyone that you’re still open for business.

4. Advertising

If you have an advertising budget, then you may be able to get cheaper clicks online right now due to less competition.

In addition to the tactics above, you may want to create a special offer to help your customers in their time of need.  For example, at Main Street ROI, we created the COVID-19 Small Business SEO Stimulus Program to help businesses survive this pandemic.

If you do create a special COVID offer, then you can use the same 4 tactics listed above to generate sales right now.

Next, let’s focus on planting seeds for the future…

Marketing Tactics to Generate Sales Post-COVID

Not every business has the opportunity to generate sales during the COVID crisis, but every business can invest in their future.  All the effort now will position your business for success when your doors are fully open again.  Plus, keep in mind your competitors may be in hibernation, which means any marketing you do now could give you a competitive advantage later.

Below are the tactics I recommend to help generate sales post-COVID:

1. Keep your email list engaged with relevant content.

I can’t emphasize the value of email marketing enough and now is certainly not the time to take your foot off the pedal.  Keep your audience engaged so that you can reap the rewards later.

2. Keep your social media audiences engaged. 

Similar to email, you want to continue to invest so that your audience sticks with you through this crisis.

3. Invest in search engine optimization (SEO). 

SEO is a long-term investment that could pay dividends down the road.  This is especially good timing because you and your team likely have more time to write content, which is critical for SEO.  Consider publishing FAQs, How To’s, and other informational content that your prospective customers would be searching for via Google and voice search.

4. Reach out to prospective partners with complementary businesses. 

Every business is struggling and looking for opportunities so now is a great time to form some dream partnerships that may not have been possible prior to COVID.  You’ll never know unless you try and what do you have to lose?  Consider hosting a virtual event/webinar with a partner as a way to generate leads.  Or if that’s not possible, start with guest posts on each other’s blogs as a way to cross-promote your businesses.

I hope this gave you at least one idea to help your business get through this pandemic.  Remember, don’t panic!  We’ll get through this together.