The pandemic of COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our world. Businesses have temporarily shuttered their stores as stay-at-home orders have been put into place at an accelerating rate. All of this has had the US economy in turmoil; unemployment reached an all-time high, and we’re all scrambling to figure out how to adapt.

This seems pretty daunting, but it’s not all bad news for businesses. Some are actually flourishing in the face of COVID-19; grocery stores, delivery services, cleaning companies, and even drive-in movie theaters are finding their footing amongst the chaos. 

Your company doesn’t necessarily have to fall into these categories to stay afloat during this crisis. Big Leap is treading through this challenge alongside you. We understand the ever-changing nature of marketing and how vital it is to keep our eyes peeled for business trends, particularly during COVID-19. That’s why we’re sharing 4 business trends that have started to surface since the outbreak and tips on how you can adapt to these turbulent times.

1. “Essential” Has A New Meaning

For the majority of history, essential needs used to focus on just physiological needs, However, since the outbreak of COVID-19, “essential” has a new meaning, and it’s not just toilet paper. This new category encompasses toys, hobby items, health and fitness, beauty and cosmetics, and other speciality products. 

Products like these are  booming, because now, consumers are looking out for their mental health as much as they are their physical health. Since staying indoors can have an adverse effect on one’s mental health, people are looking for ways to relax and entertain themselves while confined inside.

How You Can Respond

  • Target the right people. In times of crisis, those who are saving for retirement or have limited disposable income are the least likely to be looking for things to splurge on right now. So be mindful.
  • Adapt your marketing message to fit the times. Be sensitive. Bring value.
  • Show how your product may be beneficial during COVID-19.  For example, if you run a used book store, you can create messages encouraging people to read during social distancing and even craft a blog post about the calming effects of reading a book.
  • Stay connected and communicate often. Keep leads warm until business is back to normal.
  • Maintain a genuine brand image and relationship with customers.

2. Huge Boost In Web Traffic

Overall, store visits in the US have dropped 90 percent since mid-February of 2020. It’s no surprise given people are encouraged to stay home and businesses are forced to limit their in-store capacity. Conversely, certain websites have reported a surge of traffic, since people have stayed inside; businesses like health and wellness sites, recipe pages, and ecommerce that focus on essential items are seeing the most increase.

Naturally with all this increased traffic, many websites are seeing their online orders and deliveries skyrocket.

How You Can Respond

  • If you don’t have an online presence, now is the time. 
  • Bolster your social presences with relevant communication and useful information. Focus on bringing value.
  • Evaluate your current website. How does it look and function? A company’s website can, for the time being, replace the role of a physical store by being the center of consumer traffic. Websites don’t have to be fancy. In fact, a website with little content can still have an impressive impact when you use the right tools.
  • Offer delivery options. In the food industry, more and more restaurants have turned to delivery options, a trend that has accelerated amid COVID-19.
  • Invest in marketing automation to help generate new leads and manage any increase in traffic on your site. Marketing automation can help you manage some of your simpler, but more time consuming, tasks so you can focus on all the other challenges COVID-19 may throw at you

3. COVID-19: The New Search King

It seems only natural that with COVID-19 dominating the news cycle, it would also dominate search inquiries. Most people are searching for answers to questions about how COVID-19 is affecting their life, what the medical implications of it are, or how a certain business is responding to the crisis.

Even though people are using search engines to learn more about the pandemic, it’s been  leading some web traffic to strange places. For example, some websites are noticing increased traffic in older pages that tie to a previous campaign or product that isn’t at all relevant to current events today.

How You Can Respond

  • Keep tabs on your search term report so you know how your website is being affected by the current search trends. 
  • If you are seeing an uptick in a particular website coming from COVID-19 or Coronavirus inquiries, consider adding new negative keywords to those webpages, so confused searches aren’t stumbling to your page by mistake.
  • Create content that is tailored to answer questions related to your business. This will help to stay visible and continuously communicate. For example, if you run a tax office, you may write content about how tax season is affected or how people can look for tax breaks due to unemployment.

4. Companies Are Contributing to Relief Efforts

There are the fortunate few who have found an increase in profits during this pandemic, which is actually a mixed bag. While it’s amazing to see a boost in business, people may think these companies are  taking advantage of the situation. 

Many companies, like LEGO, Lowe’s, and Lysol are donating their extra earnings to various relief efforts. Even companies, like Nike and New Balance, that have been hit with low sales are creating masks and face shields to help support  medical units.

Yes, the companies we’ve mentioned are gargantuan and have the means to help at such a capacity, but smaller companies are throwing their hat into the ring as well. Cleancult, a small company that specializes in all-natural and zero-waste cleaning products, pledged to donate a bar of their lemongrass soap to NYC Relief every time someone orders from their website. While it is a much smaller contribution, every little bit helps.

How You Can Respond

  • Focus on solving a problem instead of selling a product. 
  • Consider donating to relief efforts if you have the means.
  • Try manufacturing something relevant and useful to the current economy. For example, clothing and bedding manufacturers may consider creating masks.
  • If you haven’t seen an increase in sales, however, don’t feel obligated to donate. Focus internally on maintaining a positive company culture and being there for your team.

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Navigating Uncertainty

It’s important to keep a close watch on how trends develop and change over the course of this pandemic. With all this uncertainty that envelopes us, there are bound to be some changes with how many businesses choose to operate and optimize themselves for success.

Don’t hesitate to contact Big Leap if you feel that you need additional consultation. No matter what obstacles our world faces, Big Leap is here to help our client’s marketing efforts succeed.

Jack Greaves