Marketing Strategies for COVID-19

There’s no denying that we’re living in scary times right now. COVID-19 (also known as the Coronavirus) is rattling our nation to its core. Borders are shutting down and people are panic buying toilet paper and bread for emergency sandwiches. Your marketing strategy is probably the last thing you’re even concerned about right now, but it shouldn’t be! We’ve compiled a list of productive things you can do while staying healthy and safe during your time at home.

Handle Immediate Concerns First

First things first, be safe and hygienic. Wash your hands and sing the alphabet while you do it. After you’re done, make sure that your organization is practicing transparent communication. Do your employees know if they’ll be able to work from home? (At Outer Banks Media we already work remotely, so we know a thing or two about staying focused and social distancing ourselves. We can always offer you sound advice on how you can do this too!) Do your customers know if you are open? We recommend updating your business hours on local listing platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and Trip Advisor. It’s also beneficial to add a homepage banner or blog post to your website that clarifies how customers can get in touch with you while you’re away from the office. Even if you’re not closed completely, updating your hours and applying the appropriate call outs can help boost your business.

Practice Corporate Social Responsibility (and Distancing)

We already touched on working remotely and closing your business for the next week or so, but how can we use this problematic occurrence to better your business? One answer is simple, and you probably should have done it a long time ago. Move your business even more into the digital sphere! Since the start of the Coronavirus, the Chinese’s internet traffic increased by 20%. With all this extra free time, people are spending even more time online. We’ve seen a lot of our clients in the restaurant industry implementing online ordering platforms to keep employees in the workforce. This is an important win for local economies and even iIf you’re not a restaurant, there are still other options you can use. With the closure of brick and mortar operations, implementing digital chatbots can help you communicate effectively with customers the same way you do in store. This is a great option for our friends in retail and offices that offer consultations.

Whatever you do, please do not try to profit off of this deadly epidemic. (We’re looking at you American Apparel Hurricane Sandy Sale!) Google is already cracking down on ads that use false claims about the Coronavirus. Don’t even consider running COVID-19 related Google Ads. Google will flag you and this can damage your SEO! In fact, consider adding Coronavirus and COVID-19 to your negative keywords to ensure this doesn’t happen. Try your best (in your personal and professional life) to prevent the spread of misinformation. Make informed decisions and announcements. Your audience may not show their appreciation, but they will benefit from it!
Are there any ways that you can give back during this time? You don’t have to offer a free product like Peloton is, but try to support each other! Order take away from your favorite local restaurant (don’t forget to tip your waitress still) or participate in a backpack hunger relief program for the kiddos who aren’t guaranteed their next meal with the school closures. When our community comes together, great things can happen!

Think Long Term, Not Short Term

With the recent stock market fall and overall uncertain economy, it might seem like a good idea to pause all of your marketing campaigns. We strongly encourage you not to panic if your sales, clicks, and traffic are lower this quarter. The sudden decision to shut down all marketing efforts can put your business in a long term and uphill struggle to recover, especially when it comes to your SEO (search engine optimization). This decision is not strategic, it is reactionary. Remember that SEM (search engine marketing) is a long game that takes months to see results. Even if your SEM is temporarily impacted, you can still combat this by strategizing for the future. Take the time during the shutdown to fully optimize your website or plan marketing campaigns for the future. A lot of our clients in the tourism and travel industry may be worried, but now the opportunity to prepare for the future is still there. Just because people can’t travel now doesn’t mean that they won’t later. Maybe consider how you can encourage consumers to book their 2021 travel experiences. After all this time spent in the house, a vacation will probably be well needed!

There is no need to be impulsive. Hold on to a positive attitude and remember that we will recover together. And when we do, don’t you want to be ahead in terms of marketing? We recommend completing an internal marketing audit. Find opportunities on your own that you can improve on. Here are a few quick ideas you can work on…

  1. Ensure your website content has over 300 words per page and write additional content for search terms you want to be an industry leader on
  2. Write the blog post you’ve had in mind, while keeping these SEO tips in mind
  3. Claim your Google My Business account
  4. Gather your business contacts and start a company newsletter, or clean up existing mailing lists
  5. Make your company present on all social media platforms
  6. Plan summer, Christmas, or New Years marketing campaigns

If you’re having a hard time knowing where to start, we can help you begin your marketing audit and give you some pointers along the way!

Get Creative!

There’s no denying that things are going to get crazy. Find productive alternatives to your normal day to day operations. Practice self-care and make sure your mental health doesn’t suffer. Make art, catch up on reading, or learn something you’ve been putting on the back burner.

Need some ideas on what you should do during social distancing? Our staff members have some ideas for you below. How are you going to stay productive during the quarantine? Let us know if you have any marketing projects you’d like to get started or reach out to us if you need to chat!