In the face of a crisis—and haven’t we all had our fair share of those lately—marketing strategies for small businesses need to quickly adapt to anticipate and address client and customer needs. Ever-changing events and circumstances can present challenges. However, they also offer small businesses a unique opportunity to connect with customers in new and innovative ways. 

For a five-step approach to adjusting your small business marketing strategies and addressing the needs of your buyers in the face of change, keep reading.

TL;DR: 5 Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses 

  • Tip 1: Be prepared to pivot in a new direction
  • Tip 2: Learn the needs of your customers
  • Tip 3: Boost your presence online
  • Tip 4: Map your buyer’s journey
  • Tip 5: Make a difference in your community 
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Tip 1: Be Prepared To Pivot In A New Direction

Every change presents the opportunity to connect more deeply with your customers and clients, said Alex de Carvalho, a strategic business,marketing expert and BizHack’s lead instructor during the #BizHackLive “The Small Business Marketing Playbook for COVID-19” webinar. 

For example, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people began working, teaching, and playing from home due to stay-at-home orders. At that moment, businesses had the opportunity to change their marketing and messaging to stay relevant to their customers’ experience, de Carvalho said. 

The first step to shifting marketing strategies for small businesses in the initial moment of a crisis is to inventory what messages are planned or scheduled. Then, weed out any non-essential activities and announcements to make room for time-sensitive information and offers.

“You need to really look at what you’ve planned and what you have programmed,” de Carvalho said.

Then, focus on crafting relevant and useful content. This marketing approach will reinforce the brand with loyal customers and show value to new buyers. Customers will appreciate businesses that communicate accurate and valuable information.

Tip 2: Learn The Needs Of Your Customers

Small businesses can establish long-lasting relationships with customers by helping them cut through the clutter. Small businesses need to communicate from an empathic and compassionate standpoint. 

“You have to think about the human aspect,” de Carvalho said. “Small businesses should start by considering any overlapping needs.” 

You and your customers have more in common than you may think, he added. 

“Digital marketing is all about discovering relevant content that fits the buyer,” de Carvalho said. “Then you have to look at what you need to meet in the middle.”

Small businesses should aim to provide customers with a frictionless way to buy products and services. When customers are stuck at home and looking for convenient ways to interact with small businesses, it’s important to help them discover relevant and useful content through new experiences and offerings online. 

Tip 3: Boost Your Online Presence

As the world becomes increasingly digital, small businesses must leverage online marketing strategies to connect with customers.

“If you were procrastinating about making your business digital, this is the time to do it.” Alex said. “You have to find ways to bring your business online.” 

The best marketing strategies for small businesses focus on getting buyers to the right content through engaging experiences. Whether you’re writing a blog or a social media post, make sure your content provides relevant and valuable information to customers. 

“This is a time to boost up your content,” de Carvalho said. “You need to be present now more than ever.”

Small businesses can also use search engine optimization (SEO) to boost traffic to their website. Messaging should always include keywords that are commonly searched for online to enhance and guide the user experience.

“A lot of people have pulled their Google ads and their advertising, which presents an opportunity to take over that market share at a much lower cost,” de Carvalho said. “Small businesses can use Google’s pay-per-click model to help drive traffic to their website.”

Tip 4: Map Your Buyer’s Journey

In the face of a crisis, customer needs, interests, and behaviors will change. To address these shifts, small businesses should develop or redefine their understanding of their target audience’s demographics and psychographics. Then, they can map their marketing efforts to the buyer’s journey. 

“It helps you to know what content is performing and what you need to improve,” de Carvalho said. 

The buyer’s journey consists of monitoring different profiles to measure where customers engage the most. Small businesses can learn how to communicate better with customers by analyzing the buyer’s journey. 

Another journey that’s relevant for small businesses to consider as they pivot their marketing is the hero’s journey, de Carvalho said.

Joseph Campbell looked at myths and stories throughout the ages, and most of them followed the pattern of the hero,” de Carvalho said. “The hero goes on an adventure, falls into great despair, and then returns to the village a changed person.” 

We’re all going through a hero’s journey right now, de Carvalho added. Small businesses can connect their services, products, and offerings to their audience’s quest and leverage this intuitive connection for their marketing efforts 

Tip 5: Make A Difference In Your Community 

Local communities are becoming more and more critical as the pandemic disrupts globalization around us. mall businesses need to find new ways to connect and give back to the community. 

“I live in a neighborhood where we’re thinking that we should become self-sufficient,” de Carvalho said jokingly. “Let’s just forget about the outside world.” 

Small businesses can make a huge difference within their communities by helping those in need or simply supporting other small businesses. 

Learn how to market a small business during COVID-19. On Wednesdays, join BizHack Academy for our FREE #BizHackLive Webinars and hear experts discuss the latest and best small business marketing strategies. For a list of upcoming events, click here.