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Pandemic Planning: 5 Successful Marketing Strategies in Unpredictable Times

The COVID-19 pandemic took most of the world by surprise. While many were expecting it to spread as it did, many others didn’t expect it to have such devastating effects. Overworked health care systems, a financial recession looming, companies transitioning to work-from-home tactics, and more: The culture and consistency of “everyday life” have dramatically changed into one where we wear masks, limit social activities, and social distance whenever we’re around others. 

This self-isolation—quarantine—has led to people spending more time online, where they attempt to fill their time with content being created across social media and streaming services. While the variety of content available on the internet is useful for consumers, as it gives them a never-ending trove of things to look at, it’s equally beneficial for companies. 

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This is a time where you can market your business to people with the utmost ease, reaching them with simple targeting tactics. But there’s a right and wrong way to communicate during a pandemic—while they’re consumers, they’re people first, each facing their struggles related to the pandemic and not. So, how can your business properly market to people in these unpredictable times? Here are some of the most reliable ways. 

1. Upgrading SEO 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the means through which a website’s content is improved for search engine functions—i.e., what allows search engines to comb through a web page and find content that is relevant to a search query. A simple way that marketers can target consumers is by enhancing the SEO of content on their webpages. 

Content to be improved includes site metadata, headers, titles, blogs, and your About Us page. By placing relevant keywords within these sections of your website, you can increase the chances of a user organically finding you through a search engine. This is a simple way to improve consumer engagement with your site without them feeling as if you marketed yourselves to them. 

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing strategies have been around for many years, but marketers have been implementing them even more since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the United States. This form of marketing outreach allows companies to engage directly with consumers from other brands’ and influencers’ audiences. 

Companies from industries like health and wellness, work-from-home software, and various hobbies have been utilizing affiliate-marketing to its fullest effect since the beginning of quarantine, as it’s allowed them to extend their marketing outreach without having to do the legwork themselves. Rather, they use other brands and influencers to share their content with other potential customers. 

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This collaborative relationship means a lot in the time of COVID, as businesses are supporting affiliates who are driving engagement and delivering sales; meanwhile, consumers are presented with companies who fit within their niche, although they might not have heard of them before. 

3. Respecting Your Audience 

COVID-19 has provided a lot of stress to the world, whether in local health care systems or from household to household. Many Americans are feeling that stress in their wallet, having to dramatically reduce their spending to still be able to pay the bills. Whether it’s due to job loss or money lost within the stock market, people are struggling, and brands need to be aware of this. 

While you want to market your business during this time, showing consumers you have a product or service they need, you need to be wary of how you market yourself. People are already stressed due to the pandemic and financial stress, so don’t force your products onto them. Even if they could benefit from what you have, they don’t want to feel as if you’re profiting off of the pandemic—using them to make a quick buck. 

Instead, you need to consider your brand voice and tone, determining whether it needs an upgrade to appear more friendly. But that doesn’t mean taking on the sappy, syrupy wholesome schtick. Stick to who you are—you don’t want to alienate your long-term audience at the same time. Rather, remain genuine and stick to your brand, but utilize language that is aware of the circumstances of the world.  

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4. Social Media Strategy

As said earlier, people are relying on social media to stay in touch with others and have a view of the outside world during this time. There’s no reason for you to put that availability to waste. Instead, take the time to develop a content strategy for social media, where your company can both develop content for your main pages and advertising campaigns. 

Otherwise, consider crafting content that can be shared with affiliates to promote your brand. Their audiences are likely checking in on the respective apps quite regularly, and getting a promoted ad out there is a simple way to remain in touch with people during this time. 

5. Simplifying Wherever Possible 

While you might feel compelled to try out every new strategy, software, and trinket in this time, don’t overthink it. This is a complicated time, and the last thing a customer wants are further complications, whether that’s a marketing campaign that makes very little sense or a blog that is too wordy. Just keep it simple to avoid this pitfall! Be direct with customers and tell them what it is you’re offering. Let them know, with few words, what you have to offer and why they should be interested. 

Moreover, be honest with them. Don’t get lost in the weeds by running around what it is you want to say, all while trying to sound nice at the same time. Understand that they’re in a tough situation and that you know the struggles they’re facing—you’re human, you’re living in the same world as them. But, at the same time, make it apparent that you’re here to help.  

Be Direct to Inform Your Audience

Don’t waste your time on the specifics, endless A/B testing, and more. Use your time wisely and speak directly to consumers, letting them know what they need to hear. 

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