I don’t know if I have watched the news so closely since…well, maybe ever. Everything has changed in the last couple of weeks. Businesses are closed, people are stuck at home and a virus is attacking the world, and our worlds.

It’s safe to say, these are unprecedented and uncertain times for all of us, especially business owners. Our business is run from home, so even though that hasn’t changed, we are a small business that is dependent on other small businesses, the effects of the next month will impact every last one of us, eventually. Employees, owners, customers, and marketers.

You already know this, and I am not here to bring more doom and gloom (we for sure don’t need more of that!). I want to spur ingenuity and help you see there is opportunity hidden in this mess somewhere. I want to remind you that there is a way through and out of all this. Now is not the time to pull back on marketing, now is the time to go full throttle. All in, feet first. Why?

Because if anything has proven the value of social media and digital marketing for businesses, it is the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just think about where everyone (and yourself) has everyone turned for information. Social media! Everybody, from news outlets, businesses, and individuals alike are using social platforms almost exclusively to get updates out about closures, to push online sales and to fill people in about how they can still buy their service or product.

Traditionally, marketing is the first thing people want to cut when things get tight. But eventually, COVID-19 will pass, and we all need to be asking ourselves, what will we have left if we stop marketing? Continuing your marketing right now could be the difference between your business coming back with a bang or coming back to an unengaged audience who has forgotten all about you.

What if it lasts longer than you think, how will you survive through the coming weeks? Now is the time to think outside the box. Now is the time to utilize the immense resources of the internet. Get your shop up. start blogging, start connecting with your customers.

Here are some tips for marketing through COVID-19:

1. Double down on social media & Pinterest.

Did you know Facebook and Instagram usage is up 40% the last couple of weeks?! Now is the time for your business to capitalize on the social audience you have or could have! If you are used to creating a couple of posts a week, now is the time to double that. Be helpful and creative and don’t be afraid to push your services when it is relevant. This is THE main way people are communicating right now, make sure you are in the conversation!

2. Optimize your website

Having a great website (as opposed to a “decent” one or “good” one) is vital right now. Your website needs to be in tip-top shape. This means it needs to be updated with new business hours and announcements, easy to navigate and mobile-friendly. Whether you’re closed or not, now is the time to make sure seeking eyes can get the information they need about your business.

3. Move your business transactions online.

Things have been going this way for a long time, but these crazy times have proven once and for all that online business is the future. Even if you have a bric and mortar business, you must have a way to make money online. Whether you have a service, product or a restaurant, having a shop on your website could be just the thing to keep you going. You could sell virtual consulting, gift cards, do a sale on your service if people commit now for when things go back to normal. Almost every business out there can find a way to utilize online eCommerce, find what it is for you and capitalize on it!

4. Create urgency.

The question we all need to be asking ourselves is this: how can we remain relevant through this? What service or product can you offer people directly related to the quarantine? All the rules are out the window and it’s time to get creative. Do fun flash sales, offer free delivery or free shipping, give discounts to healthcare workers, partner with a charity. Find ways to be useful and front of mind during these crazy times.

5. Be personal and show up.

People want to buy from people. Now is the time to be personal, sympathetic and genuine. You’re a small business owner, show people what it’s like for you right now. How have you adjusted? What is your business doing to stay up and running and how can you help people during this crisis? Show up and connect.

If this happened at any other time in history, most businesses would be in massive trouble. But the internet gives us as entrepreneurs an advantage, a huge advantage. We can still sell! We can still make money even though our physical location is closed. Don’t waste the opportunity! Be smart, capitalize and think about how you can be lining things up when it all comes back…because it will come back. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon. Where will you be?

Need to add a shop to your website? Or ramp up your social media marketing? We are here for you. Fill in the form below or email rachel@inhouss.com to chat.