How to Market Your Business and Services During a Pandemic without Feeling Slimy

Apr 14, 2020 | Marketing

I am so tired of business advice that tells me to take care of myself, get some sleep, and take a freaking walk. I understand these are helpful tips but everyone is saying the same thing. I want something more tangible right now and I’d bet you are feeling the same way I am. In that spirit, I have put together this quick guide on how to market your small business right now. If you can still operate your business in some way, shape, or form in the midst of this pandemic, the question becomes how do you advertise your products and services in this current climate?

Have you noticed marketing lately that makes your skin crawl?!?! I sure have and some of the messages I have seen have completely changed the way I feel about certain brands and personalities. This is a terrible time for pushy sales and taking advantage of people’s insecurities. But this is a great time to use your marketing channels for content and information to really help your customers.

#1 Check Your Timelines

Obviously, this is not the ideal time to launch new products into the market. Take a hint from the movie studios that pushed back numerous major movie releases. Instead of bringing new things to market, this is the time to look at your current offerings and find ways to improve or adapt to a world of social distancing.

#2 Look at Your Efforts with Context in Mind

Google’s guiding question on marketing content: Is this campaign right, given the current context in a local market?

Look at the product, wording, imagery, and tone of your marketing, campaigns, emails, website, and social media posts. Do all of these facets of your public image convey a message you are proud of in this current climate?

#3 Review All Creative and Content

Are all of the visual and audio elements appropriate and relevant right now? This includes: text, images & pictures, ad placements, and tone of voice. You will do better keeping a positive, inspirational, and helpful tone. Try to avoid humor, wit, and an overly casual approach- if done wrong it can come off as un-sensitive or flippant.

Your creative should keep people informed with specific changes to your services, products, or experience. Avoid generic messages that lack substance.

  • Great words to include: “contribute,” “connect,” “play a role,” “navigate,” “cope,” “respond”
  • Words to avoid: “capitalize,” “advantage,” “offer,” “gain,” “profit”
  • Tread lightly: “opportunity,” “make the most”

Given lack of timeline on economic recovery- it is best to avoid urgency messaging for the most part. Keep you messaging to service not ‘missing out’, people are losing enough opportunities right now.

Avoid politicizing the situation thinking it will help you connect with people.  It won’t.

#4 Perspective

You can not put together a ‘pandemic sale’ and expect it to go over well. You are also not marketing in the same economy as February of this year. High end purchases will be a tougher sell. A lot of business owners right now are overly optimistic to the point of being unrealistic. I’m not a ‘doomsday’ type of person but you have to make plans based on data. Make your plan a, b, and c for various types of demand you will likely encounter going forward. I like to say I plan for the worst and hope for the best.

This is the best time to focus on serving your existing customers. How can you utilize your marketing efforts to serve those people who have supported your business in the past? What content can you provide that will enhance their lives right now? The businesses that keep that perspective in these tough times will most likely be the ones who are around next year and growing.

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