As the COVID-19 epidemic worsens, many businesses must close their doors temporarily. Humans respond differently to emergencies to obtain a sense of control. For example, panic buying and hoarding essential home supplies and food is a good example of people instinctively trying to do everything they can to feel a sense of security and control.

Though I don’t agree with panic buying, as it puts more stress on families who are in a more vulnerable position financially, I do believe there are things we could do that might provide a sense of control—especially small business owners like me. This is why I put together marketing to-do lists for owners who are worried about their small business but are actively looking for ways to get back to work quickly once the pandemic passes. 

Who Is This Blog For?

If you fall into one of these two categories, then this blog might help you relieve some stress caused by Covid-19:

  • Your business is suffering and forced to temporarily close its doors. However, you believe we will pull through this situation. You now have more free time and have not yet worked on your marketing strategy because, until now, you have been overwhelmed with serving your customers and growing your business. 
  • If you’re in full panic mode due to COVID-19, but you’ve always been a planer and enjoy to-do lists. Having an action plan might help you be less stressed about this situation. 
First Things First. 

Your Official COVID-19 Response. 

First and foremost, let’s make sure you have notified your customers if there are any operating changes due to COVID-19. I am personally so sick of the emails I get from all the corporations about COVID-19. Let’s not do that, Instead, let’s put ourselves into our users’ shoes for a second. If I am still looking for a service or product, I would either go to their website, social listings (Google, Yelp, etc.), or social media. So let’s make sure you have the proper message displayed on these platforms. 

It’s About Our Community.

Try Not to Panic Sell. 

It’s important not to panic and start running sales. Focus on the things you can do to help your customers or your peers who are also suffering. I am a firm believer in always doing what’s right rather than what might be profitable at the moment. Doing the right thing and providing good quality products or services is the best way to succeed in the business world. Constantly chasing money and new clients won’t help you get there. 

3 Essential Marketing Plans 

Once we make sure all the notices are up and your customers are well informed about your COVID-19 operational changes, Let’s move on to the next part: 

I have always been “a glass-half-full” type of person when it comes to life. Rather than being depressed and sad, think about all the things you haven’t had the opportunity to do to improve and grow your business. When was the last time you reviewed and revised your mission statement? Your business values for your company? What about finances? What about your social media presence? What about some technical stuff like: do you have a privacy policy in place? For all the medical offices out there, is your social media and web content HIPAA compliant?

Here is a breakdown of all the marketing related things you can work on during the COVID-19 quarantine as a business owner:

1. Brand Strategy & Research

  1. Consider your overall business strategy. There is no better time to update your business strategy than right now. Our economy will be sluggish after the pandemic is over. What’s your plan to ensure your business’ survival? Review your business strategy and update it accordingly.  
  2. Identify your target market. Have you ever tried to identify your business’ target clients? This is a perfect time to review your past marketing efforts and see if your marketing strategy was effective. If not, is it possible your target audience is out of date? 
  3. Research your target client group. Yes, most businesses are experiencing a slow down because people are not out spending money. Most of us are staying at home unless we need to go out to do grocery shopping. This is a great time to reach out to your customers and ask them if they would be willing to help you learn and make improvements during this difficult time.
  4. Develop your brand voice. According to an article in Forbes, “A company’s brand is instrumental in any company’s initial contact with potential customers, how it communicates with them and what impression it makes. One of the most important elements of building a strong brand is cultivating a strong, unique voice that is instantly recognizable and unmistakably belongs to the organization.”
  5. Develop your name, logo, and tagline. Is this the right time to look at your existing logo? Most business owners likely won’t have the budget to look at graphic design any time soon. But that doesn’t mean you can’t review your current name, logo, and tagline. As you do, write down any feedback and ideas you would share with your future graphic designers when the time comes. 
  6. Develop your content marketing strategy. After completing the above tasks, hopefully, you have a better understanding of what your brand is and who your customers are. Now you are ready to review your current marketing strategy and make adjustments to improve your sales and revenue when this whole thing is over. 

2. Digital Marketing Action Plan

I am expecting a lot of businesses will be in survival mode for a few months even after the COVID-19 pandemic passes, which means most small business owners:

  • won’t have a marketing budget for a while
  • won’t have the funds to continue to use your past marketing partners’ services. 

So here are a few things you can do to cut down costs while preserving your marketing efforts. 

  1. Website: Do you have a site that you can easily edit, like WordPress, SquareSpace, or Weebly? It’s time to take some free online classes or YouTube tutorials to learn how to make basic content edits. 
  2. Social Media Post Calendar: Start writing content for social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Google My Business, etc.. Here is an in-depth article about this from Hootsuite.
  3. Content Strategy: Create a blog calendar for your business that covers things you want to include in your blog posts for the next six months. Here is a great article on how to create a blog calendar. 

3. The COVID-19 Aftermath Survival Plan: 

We know that the economy will be sluggish when the COVID-19 situation calms down. Do you have an action plan of things you can do to remedy the situation? Putting together a short term and long term plan to cope with the aftermath is important. 

  • Are there expenses you can cut down without affecting the livelihood of your employees?
  • Can you negotiate rental terms with your commercial landlord?
  • Do you have content ready for email announcements when your business resumes?
  • Is there “outside of the box” changes that you can make to improve your business model to improve efficiency and productivity?
  • Are there free marketing tools and things you can learn on your own if you are not able to afford to hire a marketing agency?
  • Have you always wanted to learn about SEO, PPC, or any other marketing-related topics? Here are some awesome educational sites to check out.

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