Skip to content

How to Market During COVID-19

‘People suffer less when they have an income. When they have a functional economy. As long as what you are doing is helping people, I think marketing can be a noble act.’ - Rand Fishkin

In the current climate, the usual marketing methods that you use may feel overly aggressive and tone deaf. Even if you are an inbound-focused team, you may be questioning not only how to put content out, but also what content is right at this time. Should you be running those ads you set up at the end of February? Does your social media calendar need reworking? These are the questions running through the mind of every marketer right now and, luckily, some answers are starting to emerge.

The main thing to consider during these uncertain times is how your business is being affected by this situation. For sales teams, we have a handy breakdown of sectors that have been highly impacted vs. ones that have been less impacted. However, marketers also need to consider the position that their own company is in, not just those of their target audiences. In order to know how to go to market right now, decide where your business fits in these three categories: Directly Harmed, Directly Benefiting or Indirectly Affected.

Directly Harmed

Sectors that have been directly harmed align with the ‘highly impacted’ sectors mentioned in the blog above. These tend to be things like Travel, Entertainment, Restaurants, etc. These are businesses that are now at risk because of the current market. If your business has begun to see revenue loss and client drop off, you likely belong in this category.

For businesses that have been directly harmed by the current climate, this is a great time to brand build. You know that customers are not going to be buying your product or service at the moment, so put your resources somewhere other than lead generation. This might feel scary or uncomfortable but, rest assured, your brand will thank you for it. Start creating content about your brand that is both helpful and light-hearted. This is the time to remind customers that you are here, you are in the same position as them, and you are confident in your ability to make it through this. Now is the time to embrace the Attract phase of the Inbound flywheel model.  

Read More: A simple guide to planning your inbound strategy

Directly Benefiting

It probably feels as though there aren’t any companies benefiting from the current situation, but that isn’t true. Even before the full lockdown, some sectors were seeing unprecedented growth in sales. While certain retailers who were succeeding up until lockdown have had sharp drop-offs due to store closures, other industries are still moving at a rapid pace. These companies are likely to be in sectors such as medical manufacturing, online streaming services, technology (particularly around enhancing working from home capabilities), and eCommerce.

If your business falls into the directly benefiting category, this presents you with a unique opportunity. During this upheaval, customers are responding best to companies that are using their upward turn in profit toward helping to make the situation more manageable, more bearable, and safer. Great examples are the distilleries producing hand sanitiser, the YouTubers setting up fundraisers or donating profits, and other organisations that may be donating time or resources. It’s important to only be going to market with the message of being there for others during this time. While we are still in the early stages of this crisis, no one needs to hear about your company’s successes or new features. Unless those new features are directly benefiting the world at large.

It’s time to embrace your company’s philanthropic side and encourage that behaviour throughout your company culture. Businesses that are directly benefiting from these times will see the most ongoing benefit from reminding their audiences that they are still forging ahead for more than just the bottom line. If you don’t have anything in place currently, consider developing an aid strategy to deploy quickly.

Indirectly Affected

The third category of sectors is harder to identify. These are companies who have only really been affected because of their customers being affected. Places like stock photo libraries and website hosting companies. For these companies, knowing the right approach can be the most difficult of all. Unlike the previous two categories, income isn’t going to be the deciding factor for how to go to market. Instead, this category needs to pay close attention to its customers.

Businesses that are indirectly affected will need to listen to their customer needs and buyer personas in order to discover how to move forward. These companies should research the direct problems that their users are facing and find solutions to them. While that is always the goal of inbound marketing, the current climate demands a more careful ear and more tailored solutions. People are in need of many different kinds of answers and help. Find out what your customers are struggling with most and make content that provides them with simple and actionable help. This can take the form of a guide or videos. It could be any kind of resource. The most important thing for this category of organisations is to do some active listening and solve problems.

Though the times ahead are uncertain and changes will, inevitably, occur, there are clear directions your marketing needs to take for your business to come out of this situation stronger than it went into it. Think of this as an opportunity to really test your mettle and be more thoughtful and courageous with your marketing than you may have been in the past. We are going through a crucible and no organisation will come out unchanged. It is up to you and your teams to decide to rise to this challenge and come out as something better.

Subscribe to knowledge