When we rang in 2020, no one knew what the year had in-store for us. No one could’ve predicted that, in mid-March, governors across the country would issue shelter-in-place orders and businesses deemed non-essential would shut down operations. Now, months after the first COVID-19 cases, many small business owners are beginning to reopen in full capacity. As they do, they want to implement marketing methods that capitalize on the pandemic, rather than succumb to it.
Marketing during a pandemic
Major brands started incorporating pandemic-related messaging and imagery into their advertising and marketing campaigns months ago. Turn on the TV and you’ll see plenty of commercials with people wearing masks or mentions of social distancing.
Just because people are staying home more doesn’t mean they aren’t spending their money. Data reveals that 36 percent of US consumers made impulse purchases based on advertisements they’ve seen since the pandemic started. This tells us that not only does pandemic-conscious marketing work, but people are willing to spend money on businesses openly addressing it.
Meet your audience where they live
We’re not referring to meeting your audience in a geographic location sense. Instead, this is all about engaging users on the digital spaces where they while-away the hours they would normally spend out and about. A study shows that 50 percent of consumers say they’re spending more time consuming content than before the pandemic. This indicates an opportunity for small businesses to get the attention of their target audience.
It starts with content
Right now, your target audience wants to disconnect from the gruesome news stories about the pandemic and the contentious election cycle. Instead, they’re opting to browse social media and the internet for content that takes their minds off of current events.
The best idea for marketing your business amidst the confines of the pandemic begins with creating more content. This includes everything from videos to blog posts. Snap pictures around your business. Research topics related to your industry that your customers want to know more about. Develop evergreen content for your website. Also, take the time to optimize existing content and/or repurpose it for other uses.
Small businesses benefit from creating content that targets trending themes. For example, people search for keywords like “DIY,” “virtual” and “in-home” more right now. Create content that incorporates these themes and keywords.
Social media campaign ideas
Research shows that between 49-51% of U.S. adults increased their social media usage since COVID-19 arrived in this country. That means it’s time to shift your marketing focus and meet them where they’re browsing.
- Ad retargeting: With social media as retargeting, engage users who have previously visited your website or those currently in your database as a customer or leader. Ad retargeting converts interested users into paying customers.
- Increase Posting: Embrace the uptick in social media usage to increase brand awareness and engagement. Start by publishing more content directly to your profile. Play around with fun features like Instagram Reels and Facebook Stories.
Search engine marketing campaign ideas
Harness the power of search engines to drive traffic to your site and boost sales. Google offers various tools that empower small businesses to advertise to their target audience and build their reputations with reviews.
- Local SEO: A recent study found that 49% of consumers, “have made a purchase specifically to support local small businesses during the pandemic.” Optimize your website for searches that include your geographic location and “near me” to attract shoppers looking for local options.
- PPC Marketing: In 2020, the cost per click has decreased by at least 6%. It costs less for you to engage more people. Run various campaigns targeting different audiences and keywords to increase site traffic and click-throughs to sales pages.
- Google My Business Listing: Optimizing your Google My Business profile makes it easier for people to find your company. Fill out the profile completely. Add pictures such as your logo and a cover photo along with images of your location, your products and work in progress. Publish updates to your profile as you would with your social media channels. Look into industry-specific features such as product catalogs, menus and online ordering. Respond to reviews.
Email marketing campaign ideas
It didn’t take long for users to increase their email consumption once the pandemic began. As early as March 25, 2020, companies in almost every industry experienced increased engagement with their emails. By April 14, there’s more than a 30% increase in click rates for emails. Even though people spend more time clicking through emails, businesses decreased the number of campaigns they sent.
If your audience spends more time reading the emails in their inbox, you need to provide them with the messaging they crave.
- Show how your business complies with safety measures to lower the risk of COVID-19.
- Share website updates and new features that make it easier to buy from your company.
- Remind them about your hours and other ways to shop your business.
- Create a monthly e-newsletter that repurposes blog and social media content.
Managing campaigns during the pandemic
Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. While non-essential companies can continue operations once again, we’re living in a very different world right now. While we face the challenges of a pandemic, use this time to turn a profit and keep customers engaged. As you increase marketing efforts, manage your campaigns daily.
- Check analytics to understand performance better.
- Analyze performance data and tweak campaigns as necessary.
- Improve content that’s already performing well by adding new information, higher ranking keywords, high-quality pictures or videos and links to other portions of your website.
- Engage with customers when they comment on your content.
- Keep your short-term and long-term goals in mind and make adjustments to campaigns that allow you to complete these objectives.
The pandemic has created new challenges that most business owners never anticipated. However, there’s plenty of opportunities disguised as hardships right now.
Increase engagement with your target audience while they’re stuck at home and attached to their devices. When the pandemic fades into history, your small business will continue to thrive thanks to your marketing efforts now.