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Should You Stop Marketing During COVID-19?


Mar. 20, 2020

As businesses around the world face the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how shutdowns are going to impact both them and their customers, many business owners find themselves asking, “Should I continue marketing during COVID-19?”

As a business owner, you may have already seen a significant decrease in income if not a complete halt to it altogether. That does not mean, however, that you should stop marketing. In fact, this could be the perfect time to revisit your marketing efforts and determine how you want to connect with your customers moving forward. Here’s why.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Businesses

Many businesses are suffering in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. You may be dealing with:

  • Business shutdowns, especially for nonessential businesses
  • The need to change your business model to offer online services
  • Decreased customer spending due to layoffs and economic uncertainty

All of these factors have left many of us wondering whether decreasing our marketing budget can help keep the lights on. Maintaining your marketing, however, could offer several key benefits — both now and as the current crisis evolves and inevitably, resolves.

Why you should keep marketing: Keep the funnel full!

Are you considering stopping your marketing efforts during COVID-19? Here's why you whouldn't

Remember, marketing isn’t just about the end of the sales funnel! In fact, the connections that you make with your customers now, even if they’re at the top of the sales funnel, can have a huge impact on the way your customers perceive your business later. Keep these factors in mind:

You may have decreased sales right now, but you may have increased touch points with your customer base.

Your customers might not be shopping directly, but they are browsing online, watching television, and engaging with many common advertising mediums–in many cases, more than ever, thanks to the time they’re spending at home while social distancing and safer at home measures remain in place.

The marketing efforts you put forth now will help keep your business top-of-mind after the pandemic is over.

Your customers may still need the goods and services you can offer.
As things settle down, many customers will still be making normal purchases, including luxury purchases. Customers need a little normalcy in their lives, especially when the world seems to have turned upside down around them. They need to entertain themselves and their children. They will look for ways to do that–and if your business isn’t marketing or your customers don’t know what you are offering in the midst of COVID-19, they may not know they can turn to you.

The marketing efforts you put forth now will help keep your business top-of-mind after the pandemic is over.
By reaching out to your customers now, you can remind them of what your business has to offer and what you can give them when they return to normal. If you stop advertising, on the other hand, it will be your competitors who remain top-of-mind throughout the pandemic–and therefore your competitors who get that surge of business when customers can return to their normal buying habits. Maintain awareness of your brand and keep your momentum going by keeping your marketing strong during this crisis.

Your business has a place in your community and your industry.
Right now, your customers need you to step up for them. They need to hear positive, uplifting and encouraging messages. If your business goes silent in the midst of the pandemic, your customers will not know that they can count on you. The messages you share now can have a huge impact on public perception of your business but don’t come across tone-deaf and insensitive to the current situation.

How to Market Your Business During COVID-19

are you considering stopping your marketing efforts during COVID-19? Here's why you shouldn't

The pandemic has changed public perception of many things, including the definition of “essential” across the country. While you must maintain your marketing efforts in order to keep brand awareness high, you may also want to shift your marketing efforts.

Show empathy and compassion.
Right now, customers aren’t looking for businesses that are highly focused on making sales. Instead, they’re looking for businesses that are focused on caring for their communities and providing the services they so desperately need during this difficult period. Make sure that your ads show an understanding of what your customers are going through, what they need from you, and how the world has changed in response to coronavirus.

Let your customers know what steps you’re taking to continue providing for them and their health and safety.
Many of your customers have become increasingly aware of the services they rely on and the things they really need to get through their days. Through your advertisements, including your social marketing and emails, let your customers know what you’re offering to help make life easier for them throughout the crisis. Not only can this help improve public perception of your business, but it may also help you spread awareness of exactly what you can offer in spite of current restrictions–and encourage more customers to take advantage of it. This might include:

  • Offering delivery services, even if that’s not something your business usually offers
  • Dropping your shipping or delivery fees for the duration of the current crisis
  • Offering curbside pickup so that vulnerable shoppers don’t have to come into your store
  • Providing discounts and promotions that will help customers access the things they need most during this difficult period

Focus on providing useful, valuable content to your customers.
Carefully consider what your customers are facing right now and the content they need most. Your customers are looking for activities to keep themselves and their children entertained (trust me, I have four kids and it’s pretty much all I’ve been doing). They want to keep themselves and their families safe. They may need assistance figuring out how to make do with what’s in their pantries as they try not to go out, or tips on how to avoid infection. Consider how those questions relate to your business and endeavour to provide content that will help reach your customers.

Connecting with your customers in the midst of COVID-19 is more critical than ever. Not only will it help with the public perception of your business, but it will also help keep you top-of-mind so that when the current crisis is over, your clients and customers will start returning to your business.

Need help with your marketing efforts in the midst of COVID-19? Contact us to learn how we can help, both now and after the global crisis ends.

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