Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.J.K.Rowling
Change. No matter how big or small the scale of it, change is the most basic and universal consistency known to the human race. No matter your background, creed, ethnicity, or social standing, not a single person is immune to the long term and ever constant effects of change. I know this statement might read as a pandering slap in the face to a society currently enduring its first global pandemic, but understanding the facts is essential if you want your business to survive these troubling times.
With more and more people turning to the internet for work and entertainment, your potential marketing opportunities have increased enormously! It’s true, this is a perfect opportunity for online ads and marketing strategies… but it is just as essential to note the true severity of this global health crisis before creating a new plan of attack.
Drastic Times Call for Drastic Measures
Although not lethal to most young adults, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been found to be one of the most contagious viruses in recent history. According to The Guardian, despite the United States’ significant lack of preparation and testing supplies, there are now more than 1,600,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with that number growing every day.
By the end of March, the nation of Italy reached a sobering 11% fatality rate in only a three month period. The inability to sufficiently test, track, and cure the virus is exactly why so many local governments have agreed to ban social gatherings – forcing over 80 million Americans to stay home in a universal effort to “flatten the curve” while the rest works tirelessly to keep the rest of society afloat. That’s 80 million Americans now with more time to browse the internet than before. So… yes. Digital marketing is the obvious solution to stay connected during these strange and troubling times. The real trick is knowing how to market your business, while not making the mistake of coming across as a heartless opportunist. There is a way to do this, and that starts with acknowledging the obvious.
We Are in This Madness Together
COVID-19 affects us all. No matter how many venues have closed their doors or how many people choose to practice “social distancing,” these actions are being taken in the hopes of giving our healthcare system a fighting chance. With sales plummeting and foot traffic brought down to a minimum, it is your responsibility as a business owner to remember one thing above all: Compassion.
According to clinical psychologist, Dr. Ramai, your amygdala – the gland that processes fear in the brain – is now in a state of constant vigilance. This is precisely why so many Americans were caught “panic buying” canned goods and toilet paper in early March. Anxiety levels have skyrocketed, causing more and more people to react before thinking in an attempt to keep themselves safe. With the public in a state of suppressed hysteria, you need to accept this data for what it is and use it to successfully optimize your campaign.
Which parts of your business have suffered the most in this financial health crisis? No matter how dark the day, you need to acknowledge and adapt to these changes in a way that effectively caters to the current climate.
Identify What Your Community Needs
When you can’t control what’s happening, focus on the things you can control. With foot traffic cut down to a minimum, advertising online has become the obvious solution. But why are digital ads the solution? It’s important to understand what your business has to offer in times of crisis. If you are not sure how to answer that, start by asking yourself these questions:
- How can you serve your community?
- How can you use digital ads to your advantage?
- What might you need to change in order to preserve your business through this time of economic crisis?
For those working in bars and entertainment, you have the option of advertising gift cards for future events and livestream content. For those working in the food service industry, you have the option of advertising delivery services and to-go orders exclusively. Are your cafe regulars struggling to find common grocery items like bread and eggs? Perhaps you should add the option of a community pantry to your list of everyday services. If you use digital marketing to promote these changes, this shows the general public that you understand and support their need to self-quarantine as much as possible, while still offering them the opportunity to support your business. If you have employees still physically reporting to work, be sure to notate exactly what your company is doing to prioritize the wellbeing of your team. When you support your team, your customers can see this. Assess the needs of your audience, make cuts where you have to, and be ready to serve your community in whatever way possible. Your regulars will appreciate you for this and you will attract new customers when they see you are ready and willing to make necessary accommodations during difficult times.
Prepare to Launch a New Marketing Campaign
With so many businesses being forced into temporary and permanent closure, there has never been a better time to discuss new tactics with your marketing team. People everywhere are logging online. Whether it be shopping for food, supplies, entertainment, or scrolling through the news on social media, there are now millions more people able to access the internet than there were before. Millions more attempting to stay vigilant in the midst of this worldwide public health crisis. Now that you understand what your community needs and how you might change to accommodate those needs, it’s time to consult with your marketing team.
This is exactly what we trained for! Digital advertising really is the only way to sustain public knowledge of your business. With fewer options for physical foot traffic, digital advertising and word of mouth are now the only real options to promote your business through the worst days of COVID-19. Catering to a smaller audience and making necessary accommodations won’t make you rich. What it will do is secure future business! It will allow your regular customers – many of whom are practically glued to their phones while in quarantine – to see how much you care about your community. It will allow potential customers the chance to observe your efforts in real-time! All while showing that you care about your community and those under your employ.
A successful digital marketing campaign requires more than just a gathering of stats. Now that you know the changes needed to keep your business afloat, the time has come to optimize those efforts. No matter how dark this chapter might seem, there is always hope in life after lockdown when you have the right team to back you up.