The coronavirus has been pretty big in the news. If you’re like me you’re probably already groaning about reading yet another article about it. But I realized that there is a very important thing that businesses need to consider, regarding this pandemic. We all know that if there’s a quarantine businesses will obviously lose sales as people stay home and only purchase necessities. But before we even reach that point, something else will be affected first.
If you’re a local business, your marketing plan might be about to change. Currently, conferences, trade shows, etc. all across the world are being cancelled. In addition to working for Panda Rose, I also do some contracting in the healthcare informatics industry and a big tradeshow coming up in Florida was cancelled the day before it was scheduled to begin. The NBA has canceled games. Ironically there was even a conference on the coronavirus that was cancelled because of the coronavirus. The coronavirus is now officially a pandemic and it’s gradually spreading across the world, along with the panic and toilet paper shortages. As it spreads, local and international events are all being cancelled in an important effort to slow down the speed of infection so that our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.
What does this mean for you? If you or a conference your business was attending are in an affected area, it means you suddenly have more money available in your marketing budget. If you aren’t in an affected area though, it doesn’t mean you won’t be affected. It just means you’ve got a bit more time to plan for when that happens. But in both cases, you need to know what your options are.
This brings us to my main focus today. Marketing is about putting yourself in front of your audience. That’s why tradeshows can be so effective. You are physically in front of them interacting with them. But when people are being encouraged to practice social distancing and it becomes impossible to be physically in front of your audience, what can you do? Not too long ago, your options were radio and television ads. That was it. And even then, if your audience didn’t want to stop self-quarantining they weren’t going to go in to your store anyway. But the internet has created a much different world. You can show up on people’s computers through their searches on search engines and on social media, both of which are much more personal than a tv spot.
Ultimately, your main options are
- Ads in various formats like radio, tv, Google, and YouTube
- Focusing on social media
- Optimizing your Search Engine Optimization
- Some combination of the above
Next week, I’m going to do a deep dive into the pros and cons and associated costs associated with all your options if the tradeshows and conventions you planned to attend get cancelled. I’ll also give you some tips that your marketing department can implement to improve your online presence that won’t cost a cent, but for now I want you just to start thinking about it. I’m not telling you to cancel all public appearances and hide in your house for two months, but you should start thinking about contingency plans in case your marketing strategy needs to make a sudden u-turn.