To Advertise or Not to Advertise? Your Questions Answered During COVID-19

Meredith Atlanta About The Author

April 9, 2020 at 8:30 AM

To Advertise or Not to Advertise? Your Questions Answered During COVID-19

Many businesses are adapting fast to meet the new needs of their customers. Changes include tapping into their digital marketing capabilities such as virtual tours, test drives, and doctor appointments, or providing delivery services when they never have before. Of course, these practices and ways of doing business aren’t the only items being rethought and changed. Marketing strategies are also quickly pivoting and being questioned, with some asking if they should still continue to advertise at all during this crisis.

The Benefits of Continuing to Advertise during COVID-19

Think of all the things you’ve had to question since the start of this crisis, like “how am I going to keep my staff and customers safe” and “how will I continue to deliver my services or products?” By now, you’ve already come up with answers, but have you shared them with your consumers? That’s where advertising is critical. You need to get out in front of your target audience and show those solutions. By providing answers in your ads, your business will be able to provide a sense of reassurance and appreciation among your current clients and future ones.

Continuing to advertise doesn’t only benefit your clientele, but your entire business as a whole. Here are other reasons why it’s important to keep advertising.

Your employees like to see that you're putting in the effort. Many of your employees are still juggling their usual work responsibilities: some from home, some still coming in to work every day in spite of the current pandemic. Your employees want to see how you're putting in the effort to protect them and contribute to the community as a whole throughout this unusual period.

You need to keep up the momentum you've built through past advertising efforts. A large part of your advertising process is building brand awareness. Customers at the top of the funnel need to know that your business is out there. When you keep your advertisements topical, you keep your business top of mind -- even in the middle of the current crisis. This will also allow you to remain top of mind as things return to normal.

How to Advertise The Right Way?

You want to maintain your marketing efforts and part of that process involves keeping the times and current state of affairs in mind as you develop those advertisements. The ads should be tailored to offer a sensitive, hopeful and reassuring message. Your customers want to know that you understand what they're going through, you're there to support them and they can count on you to see them through difficult times. Here are a few tips for advertising the right way.

Be proactive. Don't be the last business to take steps to protect your customers and your employees. Try to anticipate your customers' needs ahead of time and deliver them to the best of your ability. You may already be offering delivery options that were not originally part of your business model or started connecting with your customers in new ways. Remain as proactive as possible throughout the current crisis--and look toward the future with the same ideas in mind.

Keep your customers updated. Your website and social media channels are excellent vehicles for keeping your customers updated on the latest changes your business is making. Continue to post helpful information and tips such as new store hours or updated policies so no one wastes a trip.

Offer assistance and guidance. During this period, it's not just about increasing sales. You may be able to offer valuable advice and assistance that will aid your customers and create a positive impression of your brand that will last long after things have returned to normal. Provide appointment only shopping options that support social distancing policies, or virtual shopping complete with digital checkout and shipping.

Encourage your customers to reach out with questions. As we discussed, many people have questions that they want answered. They want to know when you're open and how they can continue to connect with you. Customers might not understand how to use options like curbside pickup or delivery. Invite them to ask questions and provide them with the answers they need.

Ensure them that you're taking the utmost precautions during this time. Now, more than ever, you have a heavy responsibility to protect your employees and customers. What steps are you taking to make that possible? Talk about your cleaning protocols and how you're working to help keep people apart in your stores. Let your customers know that you care--and then show them how you're providing that care.

Making the Most of Your Ads During This Time

These times may be uncertain and stressful, but that doesn't mean you should question advertising. Continuing your ads during the COVID-19 pandemic is recommended when done in good taste. Working with a media partner can help you repurpose your existing ad content and target your message in a way that will speak to and reassure your target audience.

Content Checklist: How to Tailor Your Messaging During the COVID-19 Crisis