How can I market my business during the coronavirus? Many small business owners are asking themselves this very question. While some have it cracked others are still wondering if they should be doing any marketing at all?

First off, you should definitely still be marketing your business. Some of your competitors may have stopped so this is an ideal opportunity to get ahead. And you don’t need to plunge loads of cash into paid advertising if budgets are tight at the moment. 

Hordes of businesses are rapidly becoming online (if they weren’t before) so think about how you can continue to deliver. We’ve all seen the local cafes becoming takeaway deliveries, the independent deli delivering fruit and veg boxes, a gift or bookshop ramping up their online store. For those offering services, rethinking how you could deliver it via video conferencing can make all the difference. Just consider how many fitness instructors you’ve seen now delivering online classes and yielding great results. There can be positives and it’s how you communicate these that’s crucial. Remember, people are still buying, just more carefully. 

Stay social, just do it virtually

This is not the time to neglect your social media. With so many now working online from home, scrolling through social media more often, there’s a captive audience out there waiting to see how your business is adapting. How will you fulfil a needed service right now? Focus your posts around this, how can you help others, how is your business continuing to operate. Let others know you are still working and adapting. Use relevant hashtags to extent your reach. I’m personally liking the swap of #FOMO (fear of missing out) to #JOMO (joy of missing out).

You should all build on your email marketing lists too so you can send your new offers to potentially interested customers. A quick sign-up box on your website will do the trick. But remember it’s easier and far cheaper to market to existing customers. Ask yourself what you’re now doing that can help them? Can you partner with another local business to enhance your offering? Could you offer a bulk order discount? Perhaps a trial period with easy get-out options? 

What if I can’t do business online?

Granted, there will be some businesses where adapting and continuing to deliver will be near-impossible. I’m thinking hospitality, events, travel etc. But you can still remain present in consumers’ minds. Storytelling is more important than ever and will strengthen your branding during this period. You don’t need to stick to business-related content, we’re seeing businesses sharing far more of their behind-the-scenes than ever before. Get creative with your posts. Delve into that family history of your business, share more details about how your products are made, give a tour of your at-home work office [head over to my article for more storytelling tips]. When we come out of this, there will still be people more than ready to book holidays, weddings, parties. We’ll be craving new places, escapism. Do all you can to ensure your name springs to their mind when they think of this once more.

Spend some time on your website

This is also an ideal time to focus on your SEO. Review your content and give it a creative boost. Commit to regular blogging. Are you using relevant search terms? Have you created specific landing pages so customers can find you easier? Is your meta data optimised? Spending some time on this now while business is slow will cost you nothing but don’t underestimate the power of organic SEO on Google.

In times of crisis, people remember those who remained calm, consistent and adaptable. One thing’s for sure, many will learn the importance of bringing their business online where they can and the flexibility that brings, setting them up for a stronger future.