Pandemic Marketing: Some Tips

Your audience has fundamentally changed overnight. Tracking what has worked and what has not over the past 3 weeks, led me to share a few ideas with you about what seems to be happening in the new world of distracted attention, unfocused anxiety, and hypersensitivity.

Marketing during an essential economy.

Food, shelter, childcare, healthcare. That is the what the collective attention is focused on right now. Everything else is going to be a really, really tough sell right now.

Please realize, we are all in a state of collective anticipatory grief. We are traumatized by what is going on, to varying degrees. We all watched businesses send out a flurry of initial emails, which followed the pattern of assurances that precautions are being made, then cancellations of events, then business closures until further notice. We all watched this wave crest and fall, in a sense of astonishment and dread.

And then silence. Is this you? Have you stopped posting at all? I don’t blame you. There is very little attention out there, and everyone seems to be saying the same thing. You are probably also trying to find ways to move your business online, and learning how Zoom works, and trying to create some digital products.

Do not forget your audience. We are all patient with you, we know things are strange, but it’s time to get back to some kind of schedule. Here are some tips for what I suggest you tackle and why.

Tip: Put something about your Covid response on your homepage. Every example of things that are working well in this email are strategies that my own clients have employed. This company ( has a great response to the situation: a bar across the top of their website that links to a page of info. Everyone can find it if they are curious about what the business is doing differently at this time, but it’s not adding to the noise on their social media account.

Post Only When You Are Moved To Post.

There is simply too much out there. Too many ideas for what to do in isolation, too many assurances that companies are “there” for you, whatever that means! You don’t need to add to the pile unless something moves you. Pay attention to the universe, and to your gut. You actually do know your audience better than you think, and when something comes along that is of interest, make a post. 1 or 2 posts per week seem to be working for the clients I am working with.

Don’t Ignore The Situation

It’s important to not make superfluous posts about yourself or your business right now. Every single post you make will be judged in a new light. The questions asked are simple: “Is this company helping me?” Or “Is this company helping my community?” Therefore, post about something you would like to celebrate, such as someone who is doing something interesting and unique at this time, or an organization that is helping others, or an artist or musician who has a new option for how you can support them, such as a Patreon account or product that could be mailed out.

Be Extra Nice to Trolls.

Part of being in a state of collective anticipatory grief means that we are going through the stages of grief. You have no idea what to expect in response to your posts. One day your audience may love you because they are feeling scared and weepy, another day they will be angry and will choose your post to “go off” on. I have seen more aggression online and more heartfelt expressions of love and gratitude than I ever have before. Listen to everyone, apologize quickly and agree with people whenever possible. If the comment is simply too rude to warrant a response, simply delete it from your page. If they take umbrage to that, ban them from your Page. Everyone will be watching right now how you treat other people, so do not get into a back and forth with someone who may be laying all their fear and anger on you at this time.

Stay Away From Encouraging People To Take Advantage Of Their Time At Home

We are sick to death of hearing this. One Marketer I saw online went so far as to say “If you don’t come out of this with a new skill or your side-hustle launched, you didn’t lack time: you lacked discipline.” WRONG. Do NOT shame people for watching tv, or staring at the wall. Would you shame someone who has just lost a loved one for not revamping their website?

There is a big backlash against this kind of language, and with good reason. We all need some space right now. Most people are not working at their maximum capacity, even if they are working. And that is ok. People around the world are dying, and many of us are worried that we may never see some of our family members again. Don’t tell people how they should deal with that. Just tell them that you are available for a call, if they are the kind of person who needs to stay busy, for example, or better yet, offer specific, bite-sized, FREE options to capture people’s attention once more.

Finally, don’t be surprised if people are unwilling to spend money. The promise of having a “captive audience,” that is sitting at home with nothing to do but spend money online has not been fulfilled: people are reluctant to buy right now.

You will get through this. Innovate if you can, pivot if you can.

I have also had to pivot, even though I have (almost) always worked from home. I am currently offering a weekly e-learning course combined with a weekly one-on-one marketing sessions. The in-person meeting will apply the coursework to your specific business and give you the opportunity to ask me all the questions you may have about how to start a thriving business online. Instead of spending thousands of dollars revamping your website and marketing, this is an economical way to learn—and apply—the foundational principles of good branding and marketing.

Contact me if you are interested in hearing more, and we can set up a call to discuss.

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