Updated: Mar 31, 2020
No one saw this coming! Maybe a few film producers like those of I AM Legend, 2012, World War Z and countless other films but let's be real, no one saw this coming. Corona! The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus, or COVID-19, a pandemic. It’s an uncertain time with lots of unknowns, and while we don’t have all the answers, we want to share what we do know and offer some guidance for our customers and other small businesses that may be experiencing shifts in their business.
This pandemic is not only affecting the health of the public, but it’s also impacting the economy. According to Google, unless you sell toilet paper or hand sanitizer, you may be concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on your small business; your revenue, employees, and empty marketing funnel. As a small business owner, you may be seeing fewer customers as people limit social interaction, change travel and leisure plans and focus on staying healthy rather than on shopping for products and services. So does that mean you should hunker down and stop your marketing efforts for the time being? No!
Small businesses in the U.S. have to navigate new issues like never before. The Coronavirus pandemic is creating significant disruptions to both supply chains and demand. Some businesses have been forced to close their doors due to area-wide quarantines, while others are seeing orders stop and work not getting done. The impact of this outbreak will most likely last for months. That’s the bad news. But if you’re a small business, No matter what type of small business you have, your priority should be clearly communicating with your customers to put them at ease.
Think about what your clients need to hear from you, and how you want to position your business during this crisis.
Here are 3 ways to position your business during the coronavirus crisis:
1. Reassure everyone that you're protecting their health. This is especially true if you have a brick-and-mortar location. This may mean sharing your extra sanitation practices, putting a hand sanitizer station at the front of your location or implementing a policy where all staff wears masks and gloves. Use social media to share these best practices.
2. Be prepared to pivot. You need to be flexible to best serve your customers. That might mean instead of canceling that conference, you change it to a virtual event.
If you are planning an upcoming workshop or event, pivot with your audience in mind. You may have already been forced to cancel or postpone, but don't assume everyone wants to be stuck in the house with nothing to do. Consider options such as making it a virtual version of the event. Using platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom, FaceTime, HouseParty and more can help keep your customers engaged.
Already, social media seems to have improved, with more reliable information than might have been expected from a global pandemic. And while the ways we’re substituting for in-person interaction aren’t perfect — over the next few months in America, there may be no phrase uttered more than “Can someone mute?” — we are seeing an explosion of creativity as people try to use technology as a bridge across physical distances.
Just look at what’s happening in Italy, where homebound adults are posting mini-manifestos on Facebook, while restless kids flock to multiplayer online games like Fortnite. See what’s happening in China, where would-be partiers have invented “cloud clubbing,” a new kind of virtual party in which D.J.s perform live sets on apps like Instagram, Facebook and, TikTok, while audience members react in real-time on their phones. The most popular one in the United States “Club Quarantine” with DJ D-Nice attracted over 100K viewers on is Instagram Live feed, DJing for nine hours straight! Many celebrities joined the party including 1st Lady, Michelle Obama, Oprah, Halle Barry, The Rock, Will Smith and more. Also observe how groups are experimenting with new kinds of socially distanced gatherings: virtual yoga classes, virtual church services, virtual dinner parties.
There is no use sugarcoating the virus, which has already had devastating consequences for people all over the world and may get much worse in the months ahead. There will be more lives lost, businesses closed and communities thrown into financial hardship. Nobody is arguing that what is coming will be fun, easy or anything remotely approaching normal for a very long time.
But if there is a silver lining in this crisis, it may be that the virus is forcing us to use the internet as it was always meant to be used — to connect, share information and resources, and come up with collective solutions to urgent problems. It’s the healthy, humane version of digital culture we usually see only in schmaltzy TV commercials, where everyone is constantly using a smartphone to visit far-flung grandparents and read bedtime stories to kids.
These are the kinds of creative digital experiments we need, and they are coming at a time when we need them more than ever.
3. Don’t forget your employees, make your employees a priority too. Don't focus all your efforts on marketing during this time. Your employees are what keep your business going, so how can you care for them?
Maybe you can give your staff the option of working 100% remotely while COVID-19 is a concern. Or, remind them you fully encourage them to stay home if they're feeling sick.
The more you can put your employees at ease, the better they'll be able to support your business and your customers.
What Small Business Owners Can Learn from Coronavirus
I know this is hard, and I hope you can hang in there and focus on the present, and on being of service to your clients, staff, and your community.
We are all afraid, but what you do today can help alleviate those fears. Remember to be careful and intentional about what you're saying.
If your small business is being adversely affected by the coronavirus, it's also a good time to reassess your business fundamentals, including how CONVID-19 is affecting your digital marketing. How will you deal with a crisis the next time it happens? Are there things you'd do differently to be more prepared or prevent losses?
Like everything else in life, this is a learning experience. Do not let COVID-19 discourage you but to encourage you to look are your business in a way that you’ve never looked before. Innovation is at your fingertips. We will get through this stronger and better! Stay healthy, safe and positive!
Live, Love, Create.
Written by Skánia Yasmina, CEO | THE VOEU AGENCY