Marketing Do’s & Don’ts during COVID-19


KDD recently presented a webinar for the Women’s Enterprise Development Center called Making the Marketing Pivot: How to stay relevant to your customers—and attract new ones!—in the COVID-19 world. Topics discussed included:


  • How to rethink your products and services for a socially-distanced landscape
  • Reassessing who your target market is now
  • How to best take advantage of online marketing platforms


If you missed out on the live show, you can still catch the rerun here—for free—all you need to do is fill out a registration form!


Here’s a few Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to marketing in today’s ever-changing landscape.


Photo of a compass and a mapDO make it easy for your audience to find you.


Where are they looking? Online.


Make sure you have a web presence. 


Don’t have a website? Get one.


Is your audience on social? Make sure you have a business page and are engaging on the platform your audience is on.


Picture of a "Sorry, We're Closed" SignDON’T make it confusing for them to know if/when/how you are open.


Keep your website hours UP TO DATE.


Keep your social profiles UP TO DATE with your hours.


Keep your Google My Business account UP TO DATE with your hours.


(Don’t have a Google My Business account? Get one!)


Don’t make it confusing for your customers to know if or when you are open.


Hours of operation are changing often, and there’s nothing more frustrating than a business that doesn’t make it CLEAR if and when they are open.


Paper Cutouts of PeopleDO have empathy and sensitivity for your customers during this time.


Your customers want to feel comfortable and safe and respected (all the time! But especially now).


Remember that your customers may all have different opinions and feelings about the current events.


We all are entitled to our opinions, so treat your customers with empathy and respect and be sensitive to their different ideas and situations.


DON’T be political, or use online platforms to air frustrations for the situation at hand.


This is a tricky one.


It’s a fine line business owners should walk.


And the last few months of 2020 are proof of how gray of an area this is.


Whether it’s about COVID-19 or the protests and riots over the murder of George Floyd, we all have something to say, an opinion, a side we are on, a belief system we’ve brought up in, and we all think, in some way, that we are right.


Just remember, there’s a difference between caring about what’s going on in the world and complaining about what’s going on in the world.


Making a statement publicly or on social platforms that come from your business and shows empathy for something that is going on in America or the world is OK when your true intention is to sympathize or empathize with your customers.


Making a statement publicly or on social platforms that have the intent to preach, change minds, impose opinions, shame others, or create animosity are not in any way appropriate from a business perspective. 


Do what you will on personal pages (though I would argue that if you are a business owner or represent a business in a public capacity, that’s still not a good idea). 


Bottom line: Be pragmatic and empathetic on your business page.


Lightbulb image with Customer written in the centerDO Market and Adapt around what can benefit your customers,
DON’T make it about what can benefit you or your team (i.e. GoFundMe for your staff).


Part One: You should always be marketing your benefits to begin with.


But when you need to pivot or adapt in a crisis, make sure you are adapting based on what will be of benefit to your customers or clients.


What would help THEM in this situation?


A perfect example is how many restaurants moved towards offering inexpensive family dinners during the shutdown. 


A benefit to the customer, who may be facing their own stresses at home, that they can support local businesses, AND get a delicious and inexpensive dinner feed the whole family.


Part two: It’s not about what benefits YOU. 


Early on in the shutdown, some businesses were making some mis-steps that you can learn from.


Don’t ask your customers to “donate” to your staff. That doesn’t benefit your customers.


Don’t market yourself by shaming what other businesses aren’t doing. That is a transparent way to show your business off at others expense. 


Your audience can tell when you are being sincere… and when you aren’t.


Woman opening a shop door with a face mask onDO make your customers feel comfortable and SAFE as we reopen. Make sure new policies are clearly posted and shared!


Regardless of how YOU are feeling about reopening, remember that if you are welcoming customers back into your shop, restaurant, offices, experiences, it’s up to YOU to make sure they feel safe doing so.


That means clear signage about the rules.


Make sure your website and social platforms have clarity over the rules and regulations on entering your establishment. 


Keep your customers informed of new information (email marketing, anyone?)


Treat everyone entering with respect and empathy (i know you’ve read that word a LOT in this post! It’s a big one right now…).


Know that everyone has a different experience with the virus. Don’t expect all your customers to want the same experience from you.


Continue to offer “safer” alternatives, continue to care about the wellbeing of both your customers and your staff.


Look forward to a time when we can all look back on this experience and know we survived, we persevered, we came out the other end with more appreciation for what we have.


But while we’re still in this crisis, be safe, be empathetic, and adapt!

I encourage you to register at WEDC to gain access to the full Marketing Pivot webinar , plus so much more useful and informative information on running a business

Get Access Now