COVID19 Marketing Resources
By Kari Tholkes
April 30th, 2019
What is an excellent COVID19 Marketing Resource? Your website, of course! It might be the best!
In this time of social distancing, your website is a great tool to advertise, to offer your client base support, and to inform the general public about any changes you might have made. You may be able to provide wisdom, structure or support, and education as well. You know your industry; you just need to be searchable and findable. Your website can make the navigating of the questions your clients are asking easy to answer.
Or does it?
Quick double-check that your website is kind to all during these challenging times. There are many ways to make your website accessible to all, and accessible to all is a great marketing tool! A small company website with stable content will be somewhat easy to update using tools to make your page visually and hearing impaired friendly.
Look into your host provider and see how they recommend updating your content to be accessible. It also pays dividends on your SEO capability, and you may have found yourself with a little extra time at home. This is time well spent. The other piece to this accessibility is making sure that your content is visually appealing to mobile phones and tablets as well, not just desktops alone. All screen sizes are in play during this quarantine.
You also want to look at your images and make sure that they are friendly for the times with people experiencing heightened anxiety. You do not want to add to the tension in any way. If you have pictures of your restaurant with full seats and lines waiting, you may wish to replace those images with a friendly handshake, or your store-branded bag being handed off to a customer waiting in their car if you are doing curbside pickup. Appear friendly, and your pictures on your website should convey kindness at the appropriate time.
Emphasize that your company is stable. If you have a COVID19 statement, you should post it prominently. See our singular blog post on your need for a COVID19 statement here. You can post direct statements about being ready to open your doors with new safety and protection measures for your staff and your clients once this acute situation passes. You can acknowledge that you believe we are all in this together and how you are specifically helping in this time of need. There will be many phases to this pandemic; show your clients that you have thought through the necessary steps before they question. An example of sharing your plan will be if you are currently remodeling. Wider aisles and plexiglass at the cash registers in a hardware store would help a customer base feel safer with guidelines of six feet distance between shoppers. You can also advertise and promote your special shopping hours for the elderly and at-risk populations, or those shopping for the elderly or at risk.
These are great marketing points, but what about the plans you had? How is this different than marketing during a crisis? Shelley’s Social Media suggests moving forward with your content creation calendar, but be especially sensitive to the TYPE of content you are sharing. If every one of your plans included images of large groups, then indeed take a step back and consider devising a new approach. If you were going to share the National Hashtags Days (i.e., #Nationalpretzelday), try to share info relatable to families in their own homes, or better yet, just the image of the pretzel with the recipe alone instead of a group of people eating pretzels.
Remember diversity during these times. Just like an accessible website, everyone likes to see a reflection of themselves in society. The season of Ramadan is upon us, and maybe you consider adding a sunset special at your restaurant to increase take out orders during your final hour of business, or just a special announcement acknowledging that you are open past sunset. (Then, of course, be sure to stay open well past 8:45 pm on Saturday, May 23rd, 2020.)
Marketing is for everyone. All small businesses still want to market to their target audience in the wake of COVID19 and should do so with just a few minor changes. Continue your path if you have already set one up, being sensitive to the disease and its outcomes. Many seniors are utilizing help provided by neighbors, family members, and other caregivers. Feel free to share how your company is helping others during these trying times or give a quick shout out for some philanthropy project or nonprofit that you support. Try and do whatever you can to keep people's spirits heightened. Our perspective in this time should be on all the good that others are doing, and how, as a collective, we find ourselves rising to the occasions presented before us. Knowing that our needs will be met, and if there is a way to navigate how your specific company provides for the essentials, then now is the time to showcase.
Just be sure that you do not appear to benefit from this situation. Keep your success low key and natural if you are one of the companies whose sales are skyrocketing now. Let the clients know how you have increased production, or support staff on hand, or your availability has increased. Use empathy so that anyone who is looking at your website feels understood.
Marketing is always about increasing sales, client base, and profits. At this time, if you can increase your customer reach, it will pay dividends with the work you have put in. Revisiting all your content calendar, double-checking images on your website, and taking an extra minute to be conscious of any bias or inappropriate phrasing will work well for your small business to weather this storm and come out ahead. If you have found yourself at home with any extra time during the quarantine, updating your website is one of the best marketing strategies we can recommend.