Should you market during a crisis? – Rich Brooks

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This is a special episode of The Agents of Change Podcast. I’ve been getting a lot of questions around how—or even if—you should market a business during the Coronavirus (COVID-19.) As someone who owns a digital marketing agency, (and runs a podcast on digital marketing), I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. Here’s my take on marketing and advertising during a crisis.  

I’ve included some additional resources down below in the show notes. If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to me through our contact form.

Below is the original draft which inspired this episode, but for additional thoughts, especially for those in the event planning or speaking industries, be sure to check out the audio.

Should you market your business during the coronavirus?

There’s no one right answer for this. For some of our clients in the hospitality business, holding off on any ad spend makes sense right now, as there’s too much uncertainty and people aren’t making travel plans. 

If you run a childcare center…or for that matter a doggy daycare…chances are people don’t need or can’t use your services right now, as they’re working from home. 

On the flip side of that, if you’re a business that benefits when people are at home, this can be a time to ramp up your marketing and advertising. 

Think gardening, crafts, art supplies, board games. In fact, really any e-commerce. Some of our clients in industries like these are seeing an uptick in interest, traffic, and sales. Those businesses should be investing more in their marketing and advertising spend right now.

When so many businesses pull out of running Google and Facebook ads, it drives down the cost of you running your own ads. Now might be the best time to try out one of these ad platforms, or increase your spend if you’re already using them.

Whatever camp you find yourself in, here are some tips to marketing and advertising your business in the shadow of the coronavirus or any pandemic or disaster:

  • Be empathic. You don’t know what each member of your audience is going through when they receive your email or see your post on Facebook or Instagram. They may be struggling with a job loss, a sick family member, or just a general anxiety about everything that’s going on right now. At flyte we shared tips on working from home for those people used to working in an office. We also posted screen captures of us using Zoom video for both staff meetings as well as a Friday afternoon Happy Hour where we were all in our own homes…we wanted to show that like our audience, we were working through this the best we can.
  • Review all previously scheduled posts. Many social media managers schedule some posts days, weeks, even months in advance, especially around holidays. I saw a few St. Patrick’s Day related posts that came across as being completely tone deaf while most people were trying to figure out #socialdistancing.
  • Promote community involvement, outreach, and charitable giving. And this means lead by example. Is there something you can be doing for your community, either locally or in your industry? Forced to scuttle plans for an in-person paid event, we converted it into a free virtual event with even more content for our audience. 
  • Review your content marketing strategy. This one is big. Because if you’re in an industry that has been hit by the pandemic, you may find yourself with more time than you thought you’d have. This is the silver lining in all of this craziness. At flyte, we were already in the midst of a website relaunch and an blog overhaul, but now that’s gone into overdrive. We’re reviewing all of our posts, determining which ones are ready for prime time, which ones need some freshening up, and which ones need to be deleted or at least 301’d to a higher value post on the same topic. 

We’re also reviewing if we have any content gaps…topics we cover or services we offer, but we don’t have the appropriate webpages or blog posts. Once we’ve identified those, they get into the content calendar and get assigned to a member of the team. 

If you or your team is remote, the lack of ringing phones, office pop-ins, and required attendance for birthday cake, may allow you to spend more time developing the content that will put you in the best possible position when things get back to normal.

And things will get back to normal. People will go back to work. To restaurants. To Duck Tours. They’ll need business services, consulting, and doggy daycares. 

In fact, there will be a pent up demand for what you have to offer. So don’t waste this time. Invest in the future of yourself and your business.

Because this too will pass.

Thinking of you and wishing you well. 

Show Notes