two people with masks how to pivot your small business marketing strategy

How to Pivot Your Small Business Marketing Strategy in the COVID Era

I get it. We are all stressed during these unprecedented times, but as small business owners and entrepreneurs, this is not the time to feel sorry for ourselves. This is actually a time of opportunity for many businesses. Here are some useful tips on how to pivot your small business marketing strategy in the COVID era.

Take a Deep Breath

This may not seem like the most productive of tips, but to be honest, it’s really important not to panic. Taking a deep breath and thinking through all of the strategies that can help you survive these unprecedented times might just be the best thing you could do for yourself.

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And what it’s even more important are the health benefits that you gain from deep breathing. Seriously. Most of us don’t use our lungs properly on a daily basis, nor do we maintain the proper posture to do so.

Maintaining a regular exercise regimen goes a long way to keeping us healthy and alleviating stress. So, take care of yourself as you are coming up with ways to keep your business healthy, too.

Evaluate Your Website

If you have a website (I’m assuming you do), then you should evaluate it right now. That’s important because you want to make sure that your messaging is suited to the times we’re living in.

When marketing your business online, look at it from a consumer’s perspective.

website word why a good website matters
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Perhaps it’s time to tone down the sales messaging and replace it with more informational content. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t sell either.

For example, on the homepage of my website, I’ve acknowledged that it may be tough for some businesses to weather it out during the pandemic, but I’ve also mentioned that I’m here if they need me. And focusing on content marketing is more important than ever right now for many small businesses.

You want to be sensitive to the situation, to your current and prospective customers’ concerns, and more importantly, to be human.

In addition, it’s not a bad idea to evaluate your website’s SEO capability.

Are you accurately defining what you do and the value you bring to your customers with keywords that are being used by local consumers and that tie into your brand?

Providing Customers with Useful Information

Providing information without pushing a sale might be difficult at first, but once your audience comes to know and trust your advice, the path to loyalty is ensured.

words on a spiral notepad how to pivot your small business marketing
Photo: Marelkuliasz for Getty Images Pro.

Here are some examples:

  • If you run a toy store, you might want to promote the kinds of toys that allow kids to entertain themselves? You could do it in a blog post or alternatively in a Facebook or Instagram live video.
  • If you own a gym, why not post short, effective workouts on social media that your clients can do at home, especially those clients who are uncomfortable about going into a workout facility?
  • If you’re promoting a new cookbook, an Instagram video that shows you making a recipe from your book is an ideal way to promote it.
  • If you sell office equipment, a blog post or video on the best home office chair to purchase would appeal to people working from home right now.

Turn to Paid Advertising

While lots of small business owners might think twice about implementing a paid advertising campaign, there is a lot of merit to it at this time.

If done correctly, a paid advertising campaign, be it a Google Ads campaign or one on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, will keep you top of mind in a competitive marketplace.

Kyle McMurry, CEO of Grow Now Marketing & Advertising, says paid advertising is a great marketing strategy for small businesses to invest in at any time.

However, the idea of expecting to get awareness from an advertising campaign geared toward the general public, similar to those common in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ’70s, is just not practical anymore, he says.

In today’s current landscape with multiple media resources for consumers to choose from, leaving it to guesswork is just way too risky.

“The difference today is that we have this whole option that many business owners are not aware of,” explains McMurry. “By using trackable, measurable advertising platforms like Facebook and YouTube, you can target who you are looking for extremely well.”

words in a square how to pivot your small business marketing
Photo: Artur Lukasz Szczybylo for Getty Images.

Doing it successfully means you must have a system in place, he adds.

That includes creating some type of offer that is aimed at a specific audience in a specific situation and giving people a reason to claim it now.

To do that, McMurry suggests you create a lead capture page that includes your offer.

“You can’t take someone to a website and have them wondering what they’re supposed to do,” he adds. Equally important is having the capability to follow up with people so you can upsell to them later.

Such a “predictable selling system” is crucial to the return on your advertising investment, McMurry says.

“It’s like having your best salesperson working for you 24/7 without ever getting tired or having a bad day! ”

Offer Discounts and Promotions

As we move close to the holiday season, you might want to consider offering discounts and promotional bundles. This can be particularly helpful in attracting new customers and building loyalty amongst your existing ones.

stick figure with a bullhorn how to pivot your small business marketing
Photo: Stuart Miles99 for Getty Images.

Or, you could offer something for free, especially if you provide a service of some sort.

The added benefit is that it will drive more visitors to your website, which in the long run is what you want.

Other promotional ideas include offering discounted or free shipping if customers reach a specific order value and partnering with a charitable organization, with some of your profit going to the group.

Are there other ways to pivot your small business marketing that you’ve found useful during this crisis? If so, let me know in the comments below. And as always, feel free to sign up for my e-newsletter below.

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