Marketing Your Small Business or Community in This Time of the COVID-19

By Cecily Hastings

We’re living through unprecedented times of fear and uncertainty and, yet, life and business must go on. For local businesses and communities facing the threat of significantly reduced foot traffic–and sales– it’s hard to know exactly how to proceed.

I won’t pretend to have a proven formula for a time like this but I’ll make a few suggestions below to help you, your business, and your customers and clients navigate this time.

If your business is open, tell people

Post your plans and hours on your website prominently (include on your contact page, your home page, etc.) and post to social media.

Update your Google My Business profile and send out an email newsletter including your status.

Share your efforts to keep people safe

In addition to taking all prudent precautions like washing your hands, identify your protocol to keep your business clean and sanitary then communicate what you’re doing.

Again, post it prominently on your website, share it to social media, hang a flyer on your door or windows. This is also a chance to share the processes you’ve had in place all along.

Many people aren’t significantly changing buying habits, focus your marketing on them

This situation has revealed that many people are completely freaked out while others are somewhat less concerned and accept that things must go on.

Might I suggest that you don’t worry about convincing those who are on the fearful side that they’re mistaken, rather work to get the attention of those will are still planning to shop, go out to eat, etc.

Focus on those who are receptive to your message and then create an oasis for them to experience some semblance of normalcy.

Your weaknesses may become a strength

Do you have times that you’re quite slow with few customers? Now’s a great time to make that known, some people may be more likely to visit you when they know there won’t be a crowd.

You can go further by running specials on things that are perishable or introduce a product/offering of the day. This is something you can promote online to stimulate interest even if you don’t offer the ability to buy online.

It may be the right time to explore an ecommerce option for your business. You don’t need to offer every product online to start to move the needle, technically adding ecommerce can be surprisingly easy and affordable though you do need to navigate fulfillment from online shipping to in-store pickup.

Up the personal attention

Most local businesses can’t become ecommerce businesses but are there opportunities for you to provide personal shopper services? This may mean adding the option to do a video call with clients and a virtual store walkthrough.

Perhaps this is a chance for your business to create a subscription service like the many monthly “boxes’” that are now being made available.

In closing, this is a great opportunity to reevaluate your processes, your marketing, and your goals going forward. Make it easy for your community to participate and feel good about supporting your business.

Thank you to for sharing these insights.

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