Are you a service-based or product-based small business owner? This blog post is going to explore marketing strategies you could implement during this coronavirus outbreak.

Because, let’s be real, at the moment a lot of brick-and-mortar businesses are really having to, dare I [let Ross] say it…

Businesses everywhere are being forced to pivot and think outside the box. In order to reinvent themselves, they are having to get outside of their comfort zones. There is a push to think ahead into the future to avoid being left behind.

Currently, many people are not leaving their homes as frequently [or at all] due to socially distancing themselves from people and places. Others are experiencing symptoms and required to self-quarantine.

Regardless of the reason, this particular period in time is seeing many more people staying at home. As a result, there are a lot of people turning on devices, such as TVs, phones and desktops.

So if your potential customers or clients are online, are you?

MARKETING STRATEGIES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK FOR BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORES THAT SELL PRODUCTS IN-STORE ONLY:

Have a physical store that sells products? Consider using this quieter time to invest in developing an e-commerce website to sell online. Allowing people to purchase your products online ensures that you are widening your reach. Rather than limiting it to people located nearby, you are able to find potential customers online.

If you want to quickly set up a seamless shopping experience online for your customers, here’s an alternative. Facebook Shops is a recent addition to the platform’s online tools for businesses. The best part? It allows you to sell anywhere via Facebook and Instagram for free, without the need of a fully built-out website.

MARKETING STRATEGIES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK FOR BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORES THAT SELL PRODUCTS IN-STORE AND ONLINE:

Does your physical store provide the opportunity for customers to purchase your products online, too? Consider implementing a free shipping promotional code.

Think about it: many people aren’t leaving their houses. Consequently, your physical store may not be experiencing as much foot traffic currently. However, you can convert those customers into online purchasers instead.

Alleviate the stress of being unable to visit your physical store with the ability to purchase online. This not only improves convenience for customers, but increases your customer retention rate also.

For example, you could include a free shipping discount code. This incentivises the purchase further, as customers don’t have to worry about additional shipping charges. This is particularly helpful when the inability to visit your store is out of their control.

MARKETING STRATEGIES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK FOR E-COMMERCE STORES PROMOTING DIGITAL PRODUCTS:

Currently, with many unable to work – there are a lot of people looking online for interaction, education and entertainment.

This means that service-based business owners, content creators, coaches or other educators selling digital products online have a great opportunity right now.

People are actively searching online, looking for ways they can use this new-found downtime to be more productive. Business owners who have been affected by the coronavirus are seeking ways they could upskill in certain areas. More and more people are wanting to learn more.

This fantastic opportunity to educate others can be through offering your online courses or digital products that you’re selling.

The instant-gratification of digital product purchases is also a bonus. There are no additional charges for shipping and no waiting time for the product to arrive. They purchase and receive the products in their email inbox within a matter of seconds.

Consider bundling your best-selling templates or guides together, offering once-off bonuses to add value or providing a limited-time discount.

MARKETING STRATEGIES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK FOR SERVICE-BASED BUSINESSES PROMOTING THEIR FACE-TO-FACE SERVICES:

Perhaps you are a service-based business promoting your done-for-you services for particular clients and customers you meet in-person.

While you may be unable to see your clients or provide your services, consider focusing on education instead. Educate your existing and potential customers with information on how to DIY what you do for them.

For example, package up your services into a digital product. This could be a 2hr video masterclass, an e-book or an online course. Providing video consultations online could be an alternative to your face-to-face communication. There are many ways you can be creative with this!

Don’t get me wrong, not every service provider is going to be able to teach their customers or clients how they do what they do. Nor may it be a great idea to do that!

For example, if you’re a pyrotechnician offering fireworks for gender reveals and fireworks [like my client Ana Gavlak], a DIY approach is probably [definitely] not the answer.

Instead, consider creating gift vouchers for people to purchase online for themselves or for people they know. That way you are maintaining sales and therefore cashflow, despite being unable to actually provide the service.

This brings me onto our last marketing strategy of lead generation.

MARKETING STRATEGIES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK FOR SERVICE-BASED BUSINESSES PROMOTING THEIR FACE-TO-FACE OR ONLINE SERVICES:

Generating leads during this quieter time is a fantastic way to build up business resilience. In other words, your ability to bounce back from this difficult season. It will ensure you will hit the ground running once restrictions lift and we return to some sort of normality,

While the lack of work allows you to focus more on the backend of your business [and hey, enjoy it – because when does that ever happen?!], you want to set yourself up for success. Because the unfortunate reality is the repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak are here to stay for a while. And we really have no idea how long this may last.

The key takeaway? We really need to see the opportunity among this massive challenge we are facing as business owners.

For example, due to restrictions on gatherings, engaged couples are postponing their weddings currently and many wedding photographers may be experiencing a huge decrease in bookings.

Rather than seeing this as a challenge, find the opportunity to implement a lead generation marketing strategy instead.

Freebies are a fantastic way to generate leads for your business in the meantime. These lead magnets could be free e-books, checklists, challenges, guides and templates. Essentially, they allow you to build your list of potential customers in exchange for providing value.

This puts your business top-of-mind, so that when business returns to [somewhat] ‘normal’, you are not fighting your competitors for the attention of your ideal customers.

Back to the example of the wedding photographer for a sec.

You could create a checklist for brides-to-be which includes the ‘7 Ways to Ensure You Love Your Wedding Day Photos’.

The one-page guide could include posing tips for the couple’s special day to alleviate stress and help them feel comfortable in front of the camera.


LEAD GENERATION AS A MARKETING STRATEGY DURING BUSINESS DOWNTIME…

At the core of it all, you need to get into your target audiences’ shoes. Think about the value that you can offer by sharing the information inside your brain. The knowledge which is powerful to those who may consider working with you.

What are the pain points or frequently asked questions that customers have before they work with you? Brainstorm these ideas and then create a freebie that speaks to those pain points and questions.

These lead magnets are jam-packed with value, which you are giving away to your ideal customers for free in exchange for their email address and first name. Once they enter in their details, they receive the free resource immediately to their email Inbox and are included within your email database.

Enter: the marketing funnel!

Setting up email sequences to strategically nurture your leads is where this marketing tactic shines. Giving away free value to build your list is one thing. But building a database of warm leads who would be ready to buy from you when the time is right is what increases your return on investment.

SO, SHOULD YOU CUT BACK ON AD SPEND WHEN BUSINESS IS QUIET?

“But Nafil, should I really just switch things off for the time being, because people are not willing to spend?”

Don’t worry, I hear you.

But here’s the thing: people are online.

And chances are, your people are somewhere in there, too.

So you really want to be showing up consistently during this time [and heck, even when we aren’t experiencing a global pandemic]. Add value. Educate. Help.

Provide your ideal customers and clients with the things that they are perhaps wanting or needing right now in a way that’s genuine and authentic.  

Perhaps the coronavirus outbreak is forcing you to innovate and to think about how you can:

  • Reach people online differently
  • Reinvent your business model to offer online or delivery services
  • Make your business remote, so that you no longer have to rely on your customers coming to you
  • Implement different marketing strategies.
  • Work on your social media presence more to ensure you remain top-of-mind.

Whether you can identify with one or all of those reasons above, I hope this has encouraged you to see this entire experience as an exciting opportunity to pivot just as much as the world is telling us it is a scary challenge.

Maybe it has taken a global pandemic for us to consider innovating in our businesses; to force ourselves to think outside the box we so often keep ourselves in due to comfort.

If you’d like to book in a 1:1 Strategy Call to discuss new marketing ideas and strategies for your business during this time, click here. I’d love to be your cheerleader and think outside the box with you!