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How to Help Your Business Stand Out During COVID-19

There is no other way to say it: it’s a scary time to be a business owner right now. There’s more that you need to know and understand beyond how to stop the spread of COVID-19. As a business owner, you need to know how to address this issue within your individual business strategy.

If you’re like me, then you are now not only working from home, but you are also homeschooling your children. For me, that means I not only have to continue to work, but I also have to teach my 6-year-old daughter Kindergarten math, writing, reading, Greek language, specials (art, music, gym, etc.) as well as keeping my preschool 4-year-old daughter busy with fun activities. While juggling work and homeschooling, I also have to balance cooking, cleaning, laundry and everything else we are expected to do as the head of households. Let’s be honest—it’s a lot to manage.

That’s the bad news. But let’s talk about the good news.

The good news is that this is a unique opportunity that may never happen again. We are in the middle of a pandemic, but we have food in our stores available if we need it, and we are able to stay home and enjoy time with our families. When it comes to operating a business, this is like an opportunity to invest in Amazon or Apple before anyone had heard of those companies. Investing in those companies now would be a smart decision, but very expensive. However, when they first launched, it was a risk because their success was unknown. With many businesses closing down or scaling back, investing in digital marketing for your own company during this time can help you stand out among the crowd and get ahead of your competitors.

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted businesses across the US, as well as the way these businesses are able to reach their consumers. As a result, business owners need to find opportunities and alternative ways to not only reach their audience, but also to build personal relationships from a safe distance. Unprecedented times call for adjustments to your business’s digital marketing strategy. Before we talk about how to create content in this time, let’s talk about why you should continue your digital marketing strategy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital marketing is more important now than ever. Here are two reasons why:

1. Digital attention is at an all-time high.

With many businesses closed and most people working remotely in order to reduce the spread of the virus, social media usage is surging.

Since many people aren’t going out or socializing, they are turning to social media and the internet more than usual. This means that if you can craft some relevant content, the amount of impressions or your total reach can be greater than normal.

2. Competitors are scaling back on their marketing.

Whenever there’s a disruption to “business as usual,” many businesses scale back their marketing and/or sales and focus on the essential core of their business, such as a product or service. Their plan may be to increase marketing once the situation dies down. This is exactly why content marketing is essential during this time. With your competitors potentially stepping out of the running, your shared customer base will be yours for the taking. Now is the time to invest more, not less, in your marketing. That is how you can gain traction and a competitive advantage in the days and weeks ahead.

How can my business market during COVID-19?

1. Focus on digital or online advertising.

Since trade shows or other in-person events are no longer an option at this time, you can take the money you were planning to invest in in-person events and look at investing it in some other channels, such as digital marketing. Whether it’s online advertising with Google Ads, social media campaigns, changing a conference to a webinar, or revamping your company’s website to be more search engine friendly, these improvements can help you overtake your competitors when the pandemic is over. This investment could yield a strong return once business returns to normal.

In this uncertain time, many companies are pulling back on their ad spend. Since many companies are reducing their online advertising budget, bids in many industries are lower than they have ever been. If your company is selling products or services that still have a demand or need at this time, look at maximizing your online ad spend. It may just give you that competitive edge that you need.

2. Make health and safety your number one priority.

Many people are stressed right now, some even to the point of panic. So when marketing, look for a way to address their needs and concerns rather than focusing on your own needs. Whether it’s your clients or your employees, you need to make sure everyone feels safe and knows that you are handling this pandemic with caution and care. Maybe you allow your employees to work 100% remotely to increase social distancing. Maybe you share your sanitation procedures or policies you have implemented since the COVID-19 outbreak. Whatever it is, make sure both staff and clients are well aware that you are taking this seriously, while also still trying to continue to operate your business.

Besides your clients and employees, look beyond your company for ways that you can help your community. People are finding ways to come together and help each other during this time, and it’s important to be empathetic to those around you that have been affected by this virus as well.

3. The time for social media is now.

Social media viewing has greatly increased due to so many people staying home during this time. Start by making sure your information is up to date, and look for ways to spice up for your social media. Social media is a way that everyone can try to connect with the outside world while staying safe in their homes, so it’s a great time to improve your presence and work on strategies and campaigns to stay relevant during this time.

4. Maximize email.

Email is cheap and effective. Email campaigns allow you to reach clients or prospects, keep them up-to-date on your operations, and show them how you can still effectively meet their needs—all online. This is a time to focus on how your business is here to help, and not necessarily hard sell. How you respond during this time may lead to a long game with prospects to come down the road and an increase in positive reputation in the community.

Focus on quality in your email campaigns. Make your content relevant to what is currently happening in the world. Target your emails to your audience and work on segmenting the emails according to need, audience, industry and anything else relevant to making your campaign as focused as possible.

5. Continue SEO and content marketing efforts.

If you have to focus on one area for marketing during COVID-19, make it SEO and content marketing. If you have to reduce your paid advertising efforts due to budget restrictions, that’s not the end of the world—it shouldn’t hurt your organic search results too much. But, if you don’t continue your SEO and content marketing efforts, you risk significantly lowering your organic rankings. If those organic rankings drop, you may end up driving significantly less traffic than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, it’s vital to maintain (or grow) your SEO and content marketing.

We’re all in this together.

We wish you the best in this time of uncertainty. This is a trying time for everyone, and understanding the balance between business need and sensitivity to the current situation can be difficult. When marketing to your target market, consider the situation that your audience is facing, what they need, and where your business can help. Build thoughtful campaigns and relevant content focusing on meeting their needs within the current situation. This not only will help others but can help your business as well as we all navigate through this crisis.

Feeling overwhelmed? From SEO to content creation, Jennasis can help! Click to reach out to our team, and learn how we can help improve your overall marketing strategy - and increase traffic to your website. Also, check out this article from Search Engine Journal giving you some useful tips and recommendations for social media, SEO, paid advertising and more during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Megan Augustine is a Cleveland, Ohio native who relocated to Charlotte, NC in 2018. She has over 5 years of experience marketing in the technology field, and a passion to learn more every day. She enjoys traveling and scuba diving, and spending time with her 2 daughters.

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