Small Business Marketing: How to Stay Connected to Customers During COVID-19

Small businesses continue to be faced with many tough decisions–shifting business hours, fluctuating supply chains, protecting front-line employees, closing stores and laying off employees–all while ensuring the public’s health is at the forefront of their decisions.

Small business owners are looking to peers to see what more they can do during this crisis, especially since more than 85% of consumers say they want to hear how businesses are responding to the current situation. (Source: Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker)

Here are some friendly suggestions for marketing your small business:

  1. Be flexible.

Things aren’t business as usual right now and everyone is getting creative to make things work. Go with the flow and be open to trying new things and if they don’t work out, adjust and try again.

  1. Be current and transparent.

Customers want you to provide practical, relevant information on business or product updates. Changes in hours, store closures, along with precautions being taken, changes in delivery methods or order fulfillment times are a few things to communicate.

An example of one of the big brands I’ve personally seen who is NOT getting this right is Taco Bueno.

My daughter wanted to get tacos so I got online to see what precautions they were taking during #COVID19 and I couldn’t find any information whatsoever. Nada. Zilch.

What I did find on the Google SERP was what Taco Bell was doing in response to the pandemic, which is regularly posting safety updates to their website along with video content highlighting the precautions they’re taking (which includes supplying masks to every employee). Let’s give Taco Bell an A+ for how they’re connecting with their #TacoBellFandom.  

  1. Ensure safety.

Proactive and timely communication is key. People are concerned about where their products are from and if they’re in stock/available. If your inventory comes from a highly impacted area, proactively let customers know the precautions you are taking to keep everyone healthy and safe.

  1. Show up in new ways.

As your business is adapting, so are your customers. In an effort to sustain business, many retailers are changing how they operate to help people get products and services they need and want in new ways.

Think about ways in which you can go above and beyond to be there for your customers while keeping their safety and the safety of your employees and communities a top priority.

  1. Expand your market. Consider new ways of delivering your product or service.

In some cases, your customers just won’t be able to use what you offer. If this applies to you, consider how you might adjust your offerings to be of value to your current customers or a new audience.

For example, I am a yoga instructor and teach classes part-time. The yoga studios where I offer classes have adjusted to offer classes virtually, using Zoom video conferencing. I encourage you to get creative. If you are a cleaning service that goes into people’s homes, you might repackage and offer sterilization and disinfection services to buildings and businesses that are still in use.

  1. Stay connected.

The most important thing you can do is to stay connected through your virtual channels.

  • Send emails.
  • Update your website. Let customers know what you are, and aren’t, offering. If you’re still operating at some capacity, make that clear front and center on your home page so you don’t miss out on potential business. Don’t have a website? Create a Facebook page to get visibility and give people insight into what you’re doing.
  • Talk to your best customers. No one knows better what your customers want than your customers themselves! Everyone is dealing with #socialdistancing differently, so just ask–what do you want from my business right now?

In this extraordinary time for all of us, there is no one-size-fits-all solution so get innovative and try some of these strategies.

Need help with your small to medium-sized business’s marketing efforts? I’d love to chat with you!

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