Some Local markets are opening up retail and business locations in hopes of relieving the economic hardship of the coronavirus pandemic. Even without mandatory stay-home restrictions, more people are still working from home, unemployed, or homeschooling. So, how has COVID-19 changed local marketing?
Home-stuck customers translate to more time spent online for personal, professional, and educational activities. This means more eyes for longer periods of time on social media, search engines, and apps that cater to a greater need for entertainment, online shopping, and virtual connections.
Fewer people in the streets and more people online signals a need for a more digital approach than traditional offline methods of local marketing.
How COVID-19 Has Changed Local Marketing
As global and local markets grapple with how to proceed in an ever-changing public health crisis, compassion and empathy need to remain at the forefront of your marketing messaging. Evaluate the content, tone, and purpose of every possible touchpoint with customers across paid and owned channels, from Facebook ads to the automated emails you’re sending.
Ask yourself, “Is this message right for this moment?” And if the answer is no, it’s time to pivot. It’s vital during turbulent times to find ways to connect with your customers like never before. It shows empathy and keeps you relevant at a time when your business needs to project a positive presence online and in the community.
Questions To Guide Your Post-COVID-19 Local Marketing
With this pandemic, consumer behavior has changed drastically. For those without significant disposable income, an economic downturn might result in a sharp decline in their propensity to spend.
While your customer base could take a “wait and see” approach, local businesses should consider their target audience and how their buying habits may change as a result of the current economic climate. Use your knowledge of customer behavior to create local marketing plans optimized for the COVID-19 recovery period.
- Is your business brick and mortar, eCommerce, or both?
- Is your industry controlled by pandemic restrictions?
- Are your employees safe, and are you offering safe consumer experiences?
- How does COVID-19 impact your customers’ lives?
- How is the pandemic influencing your customers’ buying habits?
- What unique problems do customers have at this time that can be solved with your current or new variations of your products or services?
- How can you provide more value to those customers at this time?
With the answers to these questions, you can prepare responsive marketing strategies and find new opportunities to promote your business.
Where to Find Opportunities During COVID-19 Recovery
As long as coronavirus is around, at-home online and smartphone activity will increase. Your business can reach customers during this time by investing more in digital marketing, app advertising, and direct mail over your usual in-store and physical advertising due to decreases in public foot-traffic.
It’s likely to see the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) decrease across auction-based ad platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Bing Ads for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, especially as some businesses scale back on their marketing spend during this time.
It is also worth highlighting that as some consumers choose to remain in their homes despite loosened restrictions, businesses who have figured out how to provide no-contact payment, delivery, and service fulfillment will continue to see new business.
Delivery services like Amazon and GrubHub have seen increases in demand due to their ability to provide products and services directly to the consumer’s device or door. If you are able to mimic some of those benefits with your business, make sure your local marketing is promoting the benefits of doing business locally when possible.
Let Your Customers You’re Open for Business
This is not the time to be hidden online, and local marketing is how you make sure that customers in your area who are looking to shop are spending money with you. Whether it’s local SEO, social media, PPC, or speeding up your website, make sure that your business stays top of mind and perceived as the best option in town.
While many businesses paused or reduced their advertising in the last few weeks, smart companies set strategies in place to react to the changes in consumer searches. Though it may seem counterintuitive, now is the time to double down to ensure a strong comeback for your business after quarantine. There are numerous growth opportunities for businesses able to maintain long-term marketing activities.