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Small Business Marketing Tips During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated: May 11

It’s trying, uncertain times for all business owners, especially small business owners. Due to unavoidable circumstances, many businesses have been forced to close, losing a significant percentage of customers, and most have been reduced to skeleton staff and/or a 100% remote workforce. That’s the bad news…


But, Let’s Talk About the Good News!

The good news is that current affairs present us with a unique opportunity- that comes maybe once in a lifetime. Think of it as an opportunity to invest in Google or Facebook; when nobody had heard of those companies. Obviously, if we had known what current affairs would have on our businesses, investing in online marketing companies such as Google or Facebook would have been a no-brainer. However, it was a daunting concept when these services first launched, mainly because it was uncharted territory.


We arguably currently find ourselves in a similar situation. Staying fixated on the future, and all the possibilities it could hold, aids us in gaining far more as opposed to getting caught up in negativity circulating in the media.


Don’t Panic!


For some small businesses, this pandemic could possibly cause collateral, irreversible damage. Here are however some tips to help you come out on top during this pandemic:


Tip #1: Invest In Your Marketing (If You Can)


Many of your competitors are taking their foot off of the marketing pedal, which means you may be able to blow right by them! Think of it like the hare taking a break while in the lead- only to let the tortoise win the race with consistent effort. Don’t take your foot off the pedal!

Of course, many businesses are simply not able to invest due to lost revenue. However, for everyone else, this is the most important takeaway of this blog. Now is the time to invest more, not less in your marketing; ultimately helping you gain a competitive advantage in the months and years to come.


Tip #2: Reassess & Reallocate Your Marketing Budget


Evidently, conferences and workshops are simply not an option with the COVID-19 pandemic. So if you were planning to invest Rx-amount into these sorts of marketing networking opportunities or other in-person events, now would then be the time to divert that budget into other channels, such as digital marketing.


Also, some of our clients have paused or reduced online advertising with Google Ads, and moved that budget over to search engine optimization (SEO). That way, they can make improvements in their organic rankings that will help them overtake their competitors when the pandemic is over.


Tip #3: Change Your Delivery Method


If you have a brick-and-mortar business where you’re no longer able to see customers/patients in-person, then see if you’re able to generate revenue or generate leads or set appointments through other means.

For example, here are some ways you may be able to change your delivery methods during this pandemic:


  1. Dentists/orthodontists can offer virtual consultations instead of in-person consultations – and the same goes for financial advisors and other types of professionals.

  2. Local retailers can offer to deliver goods to customers instead of people coming into their stores.

  3. Massage spas can promote their products instead of their services since they can’t see people in-person

  4. Other businesses can offer discounts for payment up-front. For example, restaurants near me are offering “bonds” where customers can pay R75 to get R150 worth of food in the future when the restaurant reopens. Businesses could do something similar with discounted gift certificates.



Tip #4: Focus on Your Existing Customers


This is really Marketing 101. However, this pandemic is a good reminder that it’s much easier and less costly to market to existing customers versus acquiring new customers.

The key question here is, “What else can you do to help your existing customers?” Can you offer additional products or services? Can you speed up your delivery for an additional fee? Can you sell more with a bulk discount? Can you partner with another business to enhance your product or service?



Lastly, Try to Enjoy the Ride!


As mentioned earlier, this is a trying time to be a small business. This is, however, a time to be cautiously optimistic and to truly believe that your business will be stronger and healthier when this is all over.

It’s a unique time in history and it’s worth taking a moment to soak it all in. Chances are you and your business will be just fine.


(By Lizani-Yolandi Brits)


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