In the current climate of COVID-19, running a small business has faced its challenges. Whether your business is on a temporary pause or has decided to shift into the digital world of teleworking, how you approach the digital side of your business should adjust in response to everything going on. So, it’s time to rethink all the marketing messages and campaigns you had ready for this quarter and get innovative with new strategies. 

Even if the future impact of COVID-19 is uncertain, the future of your business doesn’t have to be. We’ve made it easier for you by putting together our ideas for maintaining and adapting to the digital side of business.

Update Your Website and Social Media Platforms

Being mindful of your actions is more important now than ever before. Current and potential consumers are very aware of how businesses are reacting to the environment surrounding them. They’re paying attention to how businesses are approaching to minimize the spread of the virus and other relevant changes. So, remember that being transparent is KEY. Now is not the time to go silent or avoid the topic at hand. 

If a potential consumer is considering utilizing your services or purchasing products, they’re most likely to search for your website or social media platforms first. These platforms should be updated to reflect your business’s approach to the virus in an open and honest manner. Stay away from fluff or jargon to effectively communicate your message. For your website, include pop-ups or a banner to keep your consumers informed on any updates. 

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On social media, create feed and story posts relating to the pandemic with relevant captions that showcase your knowledge of what’s going on and your support for the community. Check out Canva’s specially made COVID-19  templates for ideas.

Implementing this straightforward approach will help increase transparency and maintain your relationships. Remember to keep all messages consistent to avoid confusion if consumers are visiting multiple platforms. 

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Release A Statement About COVID-19

Many companies have already released a statement to their consumers, partners, etc. regarding their responses and actions to the virus - and if they haven’t, they’ve most likely heard from their followers on social media at this point. You’ve also probably received a newsletter with these statements via email. This ties back to the last tip about being upfront about your business’s approach to the virus and what changes you're implementing in response to it.

Start by finalizing what the next steps are. Are you going to pause your business? Are you moving your physical location to an online space? Are you going to have to close in the foreseeable future? After you answer key questions that your consumers may have, it’s time to draft a statement. There are many ways businesses can go about doing so. Newsletters are probably the easiest marketing tool to reach your clients in a time-sensitive manner and press releases are that for the media. Execute these marketing strategies and, again, make sure the message is consistent across all platforms. 

Evaluate Current Campaigns

Perhaps you have created and scheduled an amazing online advertising campaign to alert consumers of a new service or product your company had planned to offer. In trying times like these, it’s important to know when to press the pause button on marketing non-urgent matters. It’s a great time to shift the focus of selling a service or product to ways that your business can help out current consumers amid this health crisis. For example, on St. Patrick’s Day UberEats didn’t post a single deal or delivery special. Instead, they highlighted their current effort to keep small businesses running by offering zero delivery fees to customers who order from local restaurants in the U.S. or Canada.

If you’re not the most comfortable with this shift, just remember that you don’t have to throw away that great campaign you took so much time to create. You can still take certain details and make it relevant. This is an opportunity to get innovative with your marketing strategies and stand-out amongst your competitors.

Consider Adding E-commerce to Website

The shift to the online marketplace has been booming. However, many businesses that were not previously selling online are facing the reality that they can’t ignore e-commerce any longer if they see a foreseeable future staying afloat. 

E-commerce websites like Shopify and Etsy are great sites to look into if you want to sell goods online quickly. Be sure to research online marketplaces like these to ensure you’re choosing the best medium for your product and target market. For example, Etsy is great for DIY and craft products, but you probably wouldn’t sell your new coaching program there. You may even find that the best choice for your business is to create your own website or add a shopping feature on your current site. 

Tip: If you only sell a service or your services are what generate the most revenue, consider offering products like gift cards that consumers are able to put towards a future service. This will generate income now and business for the future.

Show Support for Other Small Businesses

When a pandemic occurs, coming together as a community is key to getting through a difficult time. Regardless of what industry you work in, every industry is feeling the impact of COVID-19 - some more than others. The impact of the digital side of your business can be very powerful. Give back where you can, whether that’s creating a Facebook group for your local businesses, donating a portion of a product's proceeds to charities in need or giving something of value away at no charge to help others. Every little bit of support counts. Check out this Forbes list for ways that you could give back during the COVID-19 pandemic

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