Pandemic Problems? Digital Marketing Tips & Messaging Guidelines for Small Businesses During COVID-19

As communities across the country respond to developments regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we realize that many businesses are experiencing changes in normal foot traffic or sales, implementing new operating procedures, or making the difficult decision to close their doors for the time being – whether by choice or government-mandate. This is an unprecedented time for us all.

Even if your doors are closed, your audience is still there. With individuals throughout the country (and globe) practicing social distancing, digital communication has never been more important. Local businesses can use their voice to position themselves as a community-helper and leader by sharing thoughtful and authentic content to their online communities. Brands providing value, education, and support to their audience/community will be remembered down the line and well-poised for the return to open doors. Keep these things in mind when crafting your digital messages:

Brand Messaging Guidelines

  • Be Community-Centered

    Your business has brand authority, meaning people trust you and are listening. Use your voice to bring people together.

  • Be Local

    Every neighborhood is responding to the situation in varying ways. Be aware of the happenings in your area and share localized information that may be useful to others.

  • Be Sensitive

    Be careful with your tone and stray from anything that can be taken offensively. We’re all being affected differently right now. Empathy and understanding can go a long way.

  • Be Entertaining

    Fun, entertaining content can provide a much-needed distraction. 

  • Be Helpful

    Your content should be valuable (yes, putting a smile on someone’s face has value!). If you know of or can support ways to give back to your community, share that. As a local business, you may even have loyal customers who want to help you. Tasteful messaging thanking customers for their loyalty and providing ways they can give support at this time can be successful.

  • Be Human

    We truly are all in this together.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when things aren’t “business as usual.” In addition to the above messaging suggestions, the team at TrustWorkz has put together some general digital marketing tips for small businesses to help simplify the process.

Small Business COVID-19 Digital Marketing Tips

A Change of Hours

If you have made changes to your business hours, make sure to update your hours on your website and online business listings (like Google and Facebook).

  • Pro Tip: If this is a temporary closure, change your “holiday hours” in your Google My Business profile. Changing your permanent hours will remove hours altogether from your business listing and it won’t be clear to customers that you are closed.
(If TrustWorkz manages your listing service, we’ll take care of this for you. Just make sure to let your digital marketing strategist know of changes to your business hours.)

Urgent Announcements to Customers

If you have important messaging to get out (such as an announcement of closure, changes to operating procedures, or a statement on how you’re dealing with the current COVID-19 situation), there are a variety of ways to digitally communicate this information to your customers. Use social media posts, email or text blasts, or website notices to share important updates with your community.

  • Pro Tip: Utilize Google Posts. These messages can be posted from your Google My Business account and are visible on your Google listing profile from search.
  • Pro Tip: “Pin” important messages to the top of your Facebook Business Page or Twitter profile so they are not missed.

Work ON Your Business

For many small business owners, the majority of your time is spent IN your business, managing day-to-day operations. An unanticipated hiatus can serve as an opportunity to work ON your business. Clean up your website content, dig into SEO, or refine key messaging guidelines. (We can help.) You can also use this time to deep clean your actual facility.

Promote Deals on Gift Cards or Future Party Bookings

For brick-and-mortars, foot traffic may be low (or non-existent) but you can still generate income when your doors are closed. Eventually, this too shall pass, and when it does your customers are going to need a place to celebrate. Online promotions for gift cards, merch, or future party bookings are great ways for your loyal customers to continue to support your business from a socially-safe distance.

  • Pro Tip: Extend expiration dates on gift cards and offer no penalty on rescheduling bookings. If you don’t have an online purchasing or reservation option, contact us for assistance.

As your digital marketing partner, we are here to support you and your business as much as we can. To our current clients, please continue communicating with your digital marketing strategists so we can optimize your messaging during this time. If you are on an Insights or Hosting package with us, you can always utilize the Client Support Form on our website to get in touch. If you’re not a current client and just need some guidance or support, we’re here for you, too. Email us directly at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you swiftly.

We’ll get through this the only way we know how: together.

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