How to Market Your Small Business During Coronavirus Pandemic

GUEST BLOG INTRODUCTION: Just as business was gradually opening up a bit, new Coronavirus cases have increased dramatically worldwide. Marketing advice for small businesses trying to navigate this unprecedented territory is extremely important. We thank our guest blogger, Kally Tay, for her insights. Having more than 20 years as a manager in various industries, she founded a career website to help others to thrive in their jobs. Featured on numerous platforms such as WordPress Editor’s Pick and AllWomensTalk, her website MiddleMe.net discusses difficult and sensitive issues like workplace abuse and discord among coworkers while providing practical advice on how to handle those situations. We encourage you to read more about her in her bio.

Photo by tirachardz

The coronavirus pandemic has definitely changed the way many businesses conduct their business. They are now forced to try out several strategies to help them keep afloat, especially now that people are not going out to shop due to the fear of the virus.

Small businesses have it rough most of all because they have limited options available to guide them through the pandemic. Fortunately, these options are enough for small businesses to create an effective marketing strategy for their business to remain afloat even during this crisis.

To help you out, here are some ways on how you can do it in the most efficient way:

Always Focus On Open Communication

Maintaining an open communication with clients has always been a major marketing strategy for businesses even before the pandemic. It is a way to show customers that they are open for business and can assist with their daily needs.

But, with the pandemic changing the way businesses do business, having an active and open communication can help customers know you are still available for clients. Keep your customers updated through social media, text and even through your website and let them know what services you have to offer. You can even post your contact details on Google’s My Business Directory so people can search you more easily if they need a certain product or services.

Show How You Can Help During This Pandemic

When you are showcasing your business to customers, they don’t look at the promises you offer them. They remember you with the services and products that you offer. Since they can’t see your products and services in person because of the pandemic, you can show that your services and products still matter during this time.

To do this, spotlight the products and services that can help improve customer lives during this pandemic. Be honest and sincere when doing your campaign and provide discounts for frontliners and anyone working in the field in your area.

Check Out Your Loyal Customers

Got loyal customers who always check your products and services? If you do, do they know that you are still in business despite the pandemic. If they don’t know you are open, how can you rake in sales and stop them from trying out other brands that offer the same stuff as you do?

Check out your loyal customer database and reach out to them through social media or email. Since the pandemic has closed down many businesses, competition is not very fierce and you can use this opportunity to ramp up your brand for new users. Use the time wisely and you can definitely rake in these clients easily to your midst.

Put The Customer First

In business, the adage “the customer is always right” is a constant thing that must be followed religiously. During this time of pandemic, it opens up a great opportunity for your business to reach out to your customers and see how they are doing.

Since people are not allowed out, especially those who are vulnerable to the disease, they depend on businesses and other content creators to give them something to look forward to. They use the content to alleviate their fears and also pass the time because they exhausted everything they can do at home.

With this in mind, you can give your customers tips on how they can use their time wisely at home with the help of the products or services you have to offer. You can also offer advice on other things related to your business that your customers may not have realized before. For example, if you are offering your accountant services before, you can put in advice on your website regarding how they can save money even while at home.

Boost Your Social Media Presence

For several small businesses, it is no longer plausible for customers to visit you in your brick and mortar stores because of social distancing and other coronavirus prevention measures. If you want to keep people still checking out your offerings, you will need to find other ways to sell your product or services.

Social media is a great place to do this, especially now that people are looking online for everything they need. Customers can check your social media pages for what you offer and reach out if you need it. However, if your social media page isn’t up-to-date or your campaign strategy is all wrong, then it can be hard to get the conversion you need to make a profit. Look into how you update your social media and provide credible information that visitors need. If you stay consistent with your brand and offer relevant information, visitors will definitely check your brand often and peruse your products and services.

Use Your Creative Mind To Think Of New Ideas

With many people now stuck at home and running out of things to do, it is a great way for small businesses to offer solutions to this problem.

You can start selling things like coloring kits or startup planting kits for customers to use on their idle time or offer tutorials on how to photo edit or produce the next big viral hit. It doesn’t have to be related to your business. So long as it can help customers pass the time, it is a great way to get people to remember your business.

Stay Flexible And Learn To Adapt

If you want to market your small business during the coronavirus pandemic, it is important that you remain flexible. You can never tell what will happen next during this pandemic and you need to be on your toes for any changes that may affect your business. Learn how to adapt with these changes and be as flexible as you can for your customers who may need your services during this time.

It is unclear as to when things will go back to normal and for small businesses, this uncertainty can be disturbing. However, utilizing the best strategy available, like the ones above, can definitely make a difference and reduce the losses your business may be having due to the pandemic. See which of these tips above can help you and faithfully cultivate them because when you do, you will see things improve gradually.

The Simplest Social Media Strategy

JUST DO IT . . .

To shamelessly borrow Nike’s slogan, forward movement is the best route for small businessowners looking to broaden their marketing and branding efforts into social media.  If you’re a large company with a department or firm devoted to your marketing and branding, you likely have a person or staff of people responsible for social media, and they can analyze demographics, develop goals, create a content inventory, and schedule posts.  If that’s a feasible undertaking for your business, this web site probably isn’t for you.  Our target is the small businessowner, who is looking to embrace social media while simultaneously doing most everything else . . . which could include staffing, management, finances, strategic planning, daily operations, sales, and customer service as well as marketing and branding.  Dedicating a huge amount of time and financial investment to social media simply isn’t feasible and is frankly unnecessary in order to be successful. 

JUST DO WHAT?

So how do you move forward into this new corporate endeavor?  Focus on what you know.  For example, if you don’t have a personal twitter account and aren’t really sure what or why one would tweet, that’s probably not the best place for you to start.

We’ve recently decided now is the time to start promoting our blog content on social media.  Personally, I currently frequent Facebook and Pinterest.  Bob, the other voice of Brand Building for Small Business, frequents Facebook.  (Frequent is actually probably an overstatement, but he occasionally visits Facebook.)  Since we have real experience with these platforms, we have a pretty good idea of who else is using them without any research.  However, a quick glance at the following chart, and we can solidify our understanding of the demographics of the most popular social media platforms.

Facebook and Pinterest’s demographics sufficiently align with our target audience.  We also know from experience that our content would be an appropriate fit. . . .

“CONTENT IS KING”

What can you, on behalf of your business, contribute to social media (with the expectation that a meaningful contribution yields dividends for your business)?

At the risk of sounding repetitive . . . focus on what you know. You are likely an expert in your field.  You may have managed to generate an income selling your products or services.  You possibly generate revenue that supports a small staff of people.  Or maybe you just started out and are hopeful about the profits to come.  Regardless, you likely have a wealth of focused knowledge.

You also no doubt have a personality.  I’m sure you’ve got a pretty great one at that.  You may be clever, witty, cultured, or sarcastic.  You may be optimistic, dark, curious, or creative.  You have a voice.  Hopefully, that voice is reflected in your brand, and you can express yourself and your brand on social media, resonating authenticity with your audience.

A FEW GREAT EXAMPLES . . .

Pop-Tarts

The popular brand of toaster pastries Pop-Tarts has a Twitter account bursting with personality. . . .

Pop-Tarts’ parent company, Kellogg’s, has a more conservative brand and voice.  They have approximately 98,000 Twitter followers while Pop-Tarts has 205,000.  With a 280 character limit (up from 140 a couple years ago), a little bit of creativity goes a long way.

Wayfair

A provider of furniture and home goods, Wayfair utilizes the visual nature of their business on a platform optimal for visuals.  Wayfair has approximately 1.3 million followers on Instagram, and they most often post pictures of their products with simple captions that engage, entertain, or educate.  Many posts will lead you to the link in their bio, which ultimately leads you to shop the pictured items on their web site.

Mashable

Digital media website Mashable uses Pinterest as an outlet to reinforce brand awareness and drive traffic to their web site.  They have 58 boards, ranging in topic from “3D Printing Creations” to “WTF” . . .

Mashable has 10 million+ monthly viewers on Pinterest.

A JOURNEY WITHOUT A MAP

Let’s say you glean some inspiration from these social media giants, and you create accounts for your business on the platforms you frequent; you begin regularly posting content – at least once per week – that is optimal for that platform (based on your personal experience), your products or services, and your unique brand; you promote your social media presence as part of your brand on all advertisements, correspondence, etc.; and little by little customers AND potential customers start following you.  Fantastic!  What now?

According to Comm100, some commons social media goals are to:

  • Connect with Customers
  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Drive Traffic to Your Website (directly from social media and indirectly by enhanced search engine results)
  • Generate Sales and Leads
  • Boost Brand Engagement
  • Increase In-Person Sales
  • Build a Community
  • Improve Customer Service

While one or two items on this list may be more important to you than others, all of the goals are worthwhile in some respect.  See what develops for you as time goes on.  You may find that your most useful outcome of social media is invaluable market intel that comes from the comments on your product posts that you originally hoped would generate sales.  Or perhaps people start leaving reviews for you on Facebook, which become an important tool in converting leads into sales.  Maybe you find that you get complaints via social media that provide an opportunity for you to offer outstanding customer service in a very public way.  Navigating without a roadmap means you need to pay attention to your journey.  Try to find an opportunity in the issues that arise.  Be open to suggestions.  Think of creative ways that you can utilize and expand upon the positives you encounter.  Grow and evolve.  And be patient.  Good luck!

P.S.  Read more as we begin our social media journey on Pinterest and Facebook.

P.P.S. For more information on using social media (as well as other online channels) to promote your business, read How to Grow Your Small Business with Online Marketing? by Sparkle Speaks.