Marketing' biggest impact during COVID-19

With so many people distracted with new work and life scenarios due to COVID-19, we’re finding marketers need to work smarter (& likely harder too) to engage with prospective buyers. I delivered a presentation recently to the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce on “Marketing during the COVID-19 Pandemic”, which in many ways translates to “Where can your marketing have the biggest impact with limited time and budget?” Here are the 7 steps that I shared with the Heights Chamber, plus a number of others. I hope you’ll add your own feedback to #commentform, so I can see which marketing tips resonate with your business and where we can offer more content.

1. Web traffic is up. Many people are at home either working remotely, with reduced hours and with limits on places to go. This gives people more time to search online for everything from ways to attract more customers to funny cat videos.

The Buyer's Journey by Hubspot

Graphic Courtesy of Hubspot

How can your business capitalize on this to conduct smart marketing during COVID-19? Create content for your website for site visitors in a variety of phases. Take an educational approach for “Lookie-Lous,” still early in the buyer’s journey, the Awareness Stage. These searchers are collecting information on available products or services but are not ready to buy they’re merely doing early research to evaluate their options and whether the available solutions fit into the budget. (In other words, is their problem or pain strong enough to warrant the solution’s price tag?) Give these people quality information as free articles and blog posts. Encourage them to subscribe to your eNewsletter for similar content.

As site visitors move through the buyer’s journey, they enter the Consideration Phase. Create content that helps people evaluate different approaches or methods. Which considerations should they remember? Product-specific webinars, case studies, data sheets and demos work well during this phase.

In the final Decision Phase, show the benefits that your clients appreciate about your product or service over the competition’s offering. These site visitors are ready to buy, so offer them a free trial, coupon or complimentary estimate.

Content is still king but creating content targeting prospective buyers at each stage of the buyer’s journey is a smart investment. For details on writing to these stages, refer to this blog post.
Mobile Web Design is a Must

2. Update your website so it shows your latest and greatest. Are you using Google Analytics to understand how site visitors behave on your website? As the adage goes, “what gets measured, gets managed.”

Now is the time to dig into Google Analytics to find out what on your website is working and what needs fixing. Optimize your site for SEO so you attract likely buyers. Make sure your website works well on mobile devices since the majority of users search on mobile phones. (I am curious to see if this holds true during the COVID-19 pandemic.) Measure, tweak, monitor, repeat.

3. If you’re currently able to sell your products or services, consider paid search with Google but watch your conversions. There’s more web traffic now, but you need your site visitors to convert into sales. If that’s not happening, it’s okay to pauses the paid search efforts until you know why it’s not working and get it fixed. Tip: See Google Adwords Training for a wealth of information on this topic.

4. Building on the point 3 above, try social media advertising through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest (depending on your target audience). This is something else to closely monitor. While social media advertising is much less expensive than traditional advertising, there are so many more people online that your budget can be depleted quickly. Target, target, target. Then, conduct A/B testing to see which words and which graphics resonate best with your defined audience. A budget as low as $20 can extend your reach vastly. Plus, you can use tools in Facebook to only show ads to users who haven’t already liked your page (new prospects).

5. Subscribe to your competitors’ newsletters and social media feeds. Competitive intelligence is important to do and this can be done at no cost. If you aren’t clear on who your competitors are, it’s time to revisit this. With people growing more comfortable with working remotely, don’t be surprised to learn organizations may be more willing to work with businesses beyond their hometown or headquarters location. What do you have that they don’t? Be ready to explain that as one of your strengths. Getting a closer look at your competition can unveil your own holes that could become advantages. No matter what your industry is, I encourage you to subscribe to our monthly newsletter at You’ll get more marketing content with actionable steps.

6. Create add-on packages that are timely to clients and help you with cash flow. Communicate the time-sensitiveness of the offer. For example, a jeweler might offer free jewelry cleanings with any repair now through the end of the month. A restaurant might run a promotion such as “Order dinner for 2 Monday-Thursday & receive a free appetizer or dessert.” What you “give away” should make sense financially. Perhaps your cost for the product is exceptionally low or may you need to clear out that inventory within a particular timeframe. Even better, offer a coupon on a future order when customers by this month. This helps to build your pipeline of future sales without costing you a lot now.
Ask for referrals
7. Ask for referrals. Simply ask your clients to refer you to at least one other prospect. If they’ve been pleased with your business, they’ll likely be happy to share the experience with others. (It makes them look good too.) This can be a low-cost exercise that’s quite fruitful. As we say, “people like doing business with those they know and trust.”

8. If you are maximizing your use of (free) Google My Business tools, you’re overlooking a treasure. Not only is regularly contributing to Google My Business easy, you can get a lot of insight about how visitors are responding to your content. Insights include how customers search for your business (direct, discovery or branded), queries used to find your business, when people find your business on Google, and the most common actions that people take from your Google My Business account such as whether they visit your website or call your company.

9. Evaluate the professional organizations of which you are members. Which are not producing good leads? Is it time to move on? Which organizations continue to deliver solid leads? How could you get more out of those memberships? Most people tend to attend the same type of events and socialize with one group of people at networking activities. Which other committees or events (virtual for now) could you use to expand your circle? Do you have an idea about an event or group that’s not already offered? Your local Chamber of Commerce and other associations would likely entertain your idea. That’s how Women Driving Business got its start.

10. Video can be effectively used to capture prospects’ attention, communicate your key messages and highlight your benefits. It can be used on your website and will enhance your search engine optimization (SEO). It can be used on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to gain new followers and sell your products or services. It can be posted to YouTube for other channel of searchable content. It can even be transcribed and used as short blog posts or posts on LinkedIn. With so many ways to repurpose videos, this is a great way to reach audiences when your time and budget is short.

Which of these marketing tips have you used effectively? Which do you think will be the easiest to implement at your organization for smarter marketing during COVID? I’ll conclude this with this saying: “The company that wins the game… is the one that executes the best.” What will you do next? Please add your comments below in the #commentsform.

Don’t miss the “Ways to Stay in Front of Your Customers during the COVID-19 Pandemic” on our blog as well.