Marketing During COVID-19: Dos and Don’ts

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic has begun, the respiratory disease has changed the way we go about our lives. Whether it is the way we interact with our friends, family and coworkers or the way we shop, nothing is the way it used to be.

With many businesses shifting to mostly online marketing and social media, you have to be very careful about your marketing during COVID-19. Here are some dos and don’ts you should keep in mind.

Do: Keep Your Audience’s Sentiments in Mind

There probably isn’t a single person who will come across your brand that won’t at least know about the pandemic. However, the chances are far greater that someone from your audience will be able to directly relate to the problems caused by the pandemic, such as a loved one falling ill or testing positive for the disease.

When you’re marketing, make sure that you’re sensitive about what you say. Be considerate about the current situation, what people are going through and tell your audience that you understand the severity of the issue. Stay positive and supportive because the way you show up for your potential customers will have a lasting impact on your image.

Even if the messages you’re putting up don’t flow with your brand’s image, it’s better to have a marketing strategy that stays subtle than have one that people immediately dislike and feel offended by.

Don’t: Exploit and Take Advantage of the Situation

Creating a massive sale or encouraging people to come check out a new product is extremely insensitive. Knowing that social distancing is of the utmost importance right now, don’t mention actions that hint at gathering and getting together. It’s also important to remember that many people have lost their jobs, so constantly promoting a “COVID-19 sale” is not going to work in your favor.

Exploiting the situation involves coming up with too many COVID-19 related campaigns. Don’t make clothing with puns or wordplay related to the pandemic because that will come off as insensitive and exploitative. Don’t use slogans that mock the pandemic either, such as “here’s a contagious deal” or “this offer has us gasping for air.”

Putting up marketing campaigns that hint at grabbing a product before it runs out is exploitative. When you know that people fear running out of basic necessities, inciting panic is the last thing you want to do.

Do: Put Up Messages of Comfort

Most companies have sent out emails comforting their valued customers and reminding them that they’re here to accompany them through these trying times. They have put up posts on social media discussing how they’ve changed their policies and how their work hours reduce the number of employees on deck at a time.

While mocking the situation is uncalled for, you can still be funny without being inappropriate. In times like these, a little humor would be highly appreciated. However, it’s necessary to be careful about the level of positivity you’re expressing. Don’t be overly optimistic about how life will go back to normal soon because nothing is for certain at the moment.

Don’t: Give Out False Information

You don’t want people bashing your brand for publishing unverified information. Make sure that you check the sources of information you’re putting into your posts. There are numerous sites on the internet giving out false reports of vaccines and the overall impact the pandemic has had on the world, so verify your sources through WHO’s official website to be on the safe side.

Being labeled as a brand that is creating alarm and panic can get boycotted by any customers that are already struggling to get through the pandemic. While it’s important to provide information, make sure you don’t go overboard with more information than an average customer needs to consume.

Do: Change Your Offers

You know that your customers can’t come out to a store or attend an event, such as a workshop. If your brand was aimed at gathering people for activities or visiting a store to see a special performance live, try adjusting it to fit the current circumstances.

Instead of having people sign up to join a workshop, give them an option to learn more through an online class. If you were about to have a special guest at a new outlet, ask them to speak about you through a live post on social media instead. Doing live appearances on social media is a wonderful way to engage customers while staying respectful of the pandemic.

Remember, you can always launch your major marketing campaign at a later date, when it will be more appropriate, and your audience is more likely to be responsive. For now, think about social media marketing that resonates with what your audience needs to hear. 

Don’t: Come off as Self-Absorbed

At the end of the day, your business is nothing without the loyalty of your customers. Make sure that you never miss the opportunity to express how you want to help your customers. This can be through giving donations or creating a community resource for your customers to have free access to books or podcasts to help them cope.

Organizing an online, social media event that promotes the sense of community is a great way to stay relevant and be remembered when the pandemic ends as well. If customers can remember your brand as one that put their wellbeing first and cared about their responsibility as a brand, you’ve created a positive image of your brand for the long run.

Final Words

If you’re a small business owner in Portland, Maine, you know how hard it is to stay relevant, while also being supportive and considerate towards your customers during these trying times.

However, it’s important to remember that although business might be slow right now, there will come a time when the quarantine will end, and people will visit your brand again.

For now, your focus shouldn’t be on driving sales and getting as many conversions as possible. It should be about maintaining an image of a brand that works to serve its customers. Learn more about building an effective marketing strategy by visiting us here.