Marketing in Time of Coronavirus

The world is in the grip of COVID-19 at the moment, and more and more of our clients are turning to us to ask; ‘should we launch our new product, campaign, or content?’ And our answer is usually:

1) Don’t stop marketing
2) Do stop self-marketing
3) Don’t create only crisis content
4) Show you’re helping

COVID-19 has put us all into an unusual situation, it is a global crisis and one we are all experiencing together. So, when you launch your product, run a campaign or publish your content you are not doing that in a normal environment – you are doing it in the environment of the Coronavirus outbreak. And that will be the case for the foreseeable future.

At the moment we are experiencing life when COVID-19 is the focus, and this looks set to continue well into the rest of the year – which means that there will be more of a focus on us living life online. One of the key sectors that have actually blossomed due to this pandemic, is eCommerce. People can’t go out to shop and so they are filling their time and getting what they need from those businesses that allow them to shop online. This will become so normal to them over the next few weeks and months, that it will continue to be the norm in the future.

The signs that what we consider ‘normal’ are changing are everywhere. Look at April Fool’s Day, for example. It was very different this year to last year. It is almost as if the world decided that we shouldn’t celebrate it this year, as every day in March felt like a terrible prank that had gone wrong.

The words ‘crisis’ and ‘disaster’ are everywhere – as is the very overused word ‘unprecedented’. Brands are taking massive steps to dampen the spread of false information and offer their customers valuable help while promoting the message that we should all #stayathome. No matter what size your business is you should be aware of the situation.

This doesn’t mean that you should only create crisis content, though. What it means is you should think about the message you are putting out there and make sure it is meaningful. People don’t want to be marketed at the moment. They don’t want you to self-promote. If you do, it could reflect badly on you.

 If you have managed to build a successful business in the period before Coronavirus hit, then you should know three things well:

  • Your target audience
  • Your companies USP (unique selling point) – what is it that you can offer your target audience that no-one else can?
  • How you can get the message about your companies USP across to your target audience

Now is a great time to relook at your target audience again, though, as they will have changed. COVIS-19 has changed us all. Our needs and wants have changed, and the things we are looking for to solve our problems has changed too. Brands need to step in their customers’ shoes and show them some empathy.

So, when our clients come to us in the period of Coronavirus and say: shall we launch our new product, campaign or content, we recommend:

Covid-19 Product Launch

#1 Don’t stop marketing

The initial reaction to the COVID-19 crisis from many brands was to pause or cancel their marketing campaigns. Money was suddenly tight, we get that. Organic traffic dropped dramatically as did conversions. But actually, this approach will leave you worse off in the long run.

Marketing is a long-term game, especially when it comes to SEO, and so cutting budgets now will inevitably hurt your business in the long term. Many of your competitors will feel the same uncertainty as you do and will pause their campaigns, meaning it is now easier for you to get out in front of them – and stay there.

More people than ever are spending their time online, looking for news updates and engaging with social media, so the best time to have a strong digital presence is now! Look at where your marketing spends is split at the moment, and perhaps refocus it to maximise your budget in order to help you maintain growth during this challenging time.

#2 Stop self-marketing

As we mentioned above, self-marketing in the time of a crisis is the quickest way to disaster for your business. Yes, you should still be marketing your business, but in a way in which offers value to your target customers. Show your customers the solution you are providing to their problem. Show them how what you are selling is ideal for the situation we find ourselves in or find a way to give back and show them how you are making life easier for those in need.

#3 Don’t just create crisis content

Coronavirus is everywhere, everyone is talking about it. A lot of people are finding it damaging to their mental health and it is hard to get away from hearing about it. It is OK to talk about other things in your marketing message, just make sure it isn’t ill-informed and that you talk about it in the context of what is happening in the world at the moment.

#4 Show how you are helping

In the past, many customers have admitted they are turned off from brands who shout about all the good they are doing in the world because if they were doing it for the right reasons they would keep quiet about it. However, at this time of the global pandemic, people want to know what other people are doing to help. Help us to help you. We are still working (from home) and we are waiting to help your business stay on track and support the economy as we move forward out of this. Please call us on 0161 730 0530 or email us at to find out more about how we can help.

About the author

Simon is best know for Co-Founding, a portal for student accommodation which attracts over 2 million visitors a year. Simon has 17 years online digital marketing experience and has widespread knowledge of building and/or optimising websites in most industries.

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