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19 March 2020  •  Jordan Dahlquist

How to market a business during a pandemic outbreak

covid mask

Pandemics like the current COVID-19 crisis can take major tolls on businesses across the country. Find out how you can pivot your company strategy to succeed during difficult times.

Pandemics like the current COVID-19 crisis can take major tolls on businesses across the country. Find out how you can pivot your company strategy to succeed during difficult times.

1. Utilise Online Digital Marketing Strategies More Than Ever

If there’s one thing that everyone is doing while quarantined in their homes, it’s looking at their phones. Since the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and the government mandated quarantine, social media consumption is through the roof as users look to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for much needed entertainment.

More social media consumption means more direct sales through social media paid advertising as people now have to find creative ways to do things from home like working, exercising, cooking, and other things they used to seek outside of the walls of their home.

Since this surge in online shopping could last for several months, this is now a better opportunity than ever to elevate your overall strategy by implementing social media and PPC digital advertising. Amazon recently announced that they are actively working to hire 100,000 new employees effective immediately to bolster the massive uptick in online ordering through their app and website.

Restaurants are now taking advantage of online delivery apps like Postmates, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. Meanwhile product based brands like apparel companies are doubling or even tripling their online ad spend budgets to meet the online shoppers where they are at with the exact product they are seeking.

When it comes to developing your online digital marketing strategy, it’s recommended that you consult a professional who can guide you in the right direction as to what online tools and platforms you should be using, along with what budget to be allocating towards each initiative.  This way you can be as efficient as possible, while driving the most results possible for your marketing spend.

2. Focus on the social platforms that are popular within your customer base.

During periods of difficulty or uncertainty in the marketplace, it’s important to focus on being as efficient as possible, sticking to solid truths about your customers that you can rely on. This is why it’s critical that you know what social platforms that are most popular with your customer base. And if you have a broad spectrum of customers, then understanding which verticals of your customer audience spend the most time on given social platforms.

If you are a brand that focuses on a younger customer demographic, then focus on platforms like Instagram, SnapChat, and Tik-Tok.  Generally more mature audiences prefer platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, and even YouTube. And of course this is different for every brand, and there will always be some cross-over between each platform’s audience differentiation.

If you can define where your customers spend the most screen time, then you can effectively meet them where they are at and support them by natively displaying your product or service, inviting them to learn more about your offering.

3. Ensure that your website is ready to direct your traffic

Prepare your business before jumping head-first into a digital marketing strategy.  Once you kickoff a marketing campaign you will immediately start to see more traffic coming to your social platforms and website.

Every website should have a goal in mind – this is different for every company whether they are trying to drive sales, leads, online purchases, remote orders, etc.. If your website hasn’t been designed well, or “Optimized”, then you will run into issues with your traffic not converting into a result that affects your company’s bottom line.

There are lots of great resources online that can give insights on how to optimize your website to convert traffic into results for your company. Or you can also partner with a digital at specialist to help you get your website fully ready to handle traffic and convert results.

4. Have clear and concise messaging throughout your marketing communications

During times of disruption in the economy and every day lives of citizens, it’s important that your brand messaging is clear, concise, and sensitive to anyone who might read it. Many families and individuals are experiencing high levels of stress, difficulty, and even trauma during a pandemic outbreak like COVID-19.

This isn’t something to be afraid of when creating your brand messaging, but gives you an opportunity to create communications that support and give back to your community on an emotional level. Utilize the voice of your brand to offer support, advice, and education regarding the landscape of your industry.

Many companies have been quick to send out company updates to their customers as to how they are dealing with issues resulting from the pandemic, building the customer relationship through support and open communication.

5. Find ways to support your community and they will support you back

Look at your marketing as an opportunity to offer discounts and payment options to your customers to help them out during a time when they are stuck at home and can’t get everything they need very easily.

An excellent example of this is how Uber Eats recently eliminated their delivery fee to support families and individuals who are quarantined in their homes, unable to go out to eat at restaurants.  They had a tool that could help the community, and they made it available for all at a rate that most could afford. In the long-run, they gain customer loyalty and support for the emotional connecting that was created.

Schools across America were recently closed and teachers were forced to move to a remote training system so children continue their education while quarantined at home, causing a major demand for online learning platforms. A company called ClassKick started offering free subscriptions to their remote training app and over 1000 teachers have already been able to successfully transition into fully remote education of their students.

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