April 13, 2020

Keep Your Cool: Marketing in the Time of Pandemics

The COVID-19 pandemic is a trying time for the entire world. Brands are trying to figure out how to communicate, sending out a flurry of similarly worded messages to their clients, prospects and employees. 

So, how will your brand respond to the crisis? It’s important to look at the successes of others while taking into account shifting habits as more people work from home. The following information can help you navigate the world of communication in the midst of a pandemic. 

Five Things To Address Right Now

  • Acknowledge the challenges that COVID-19 presents to your company, your workforce, your customers and your partners
  • Consider your near-term cash management challenges, as well as broader resiliency issues further down the line
  • Craft a plan to return to business that allows you to scale up quickly once the current pandemic passes
  • Reimagine what normal looks like post-COVID-19 for your brand, and how you will adapt
  • Prepare for a changing environment for your industry, from new regulations to an increased role of government, among other possible changes

Most importantly, when communicating about the above five points, focus on the future and moving past this. Take things in stride. Breathe. We’ll get through this, together. 

A Rapidly Shifting Landscape

The writing has been on the wall for years. Consumers are spending more and more time online. The current situation just threw things into overdrive. 

What does that mean for you? Your digital strategy is now more important than ever. With people cooped up in their homes, we’re seeing a significant increase in the number of consumers taking to digital channels to stay informed and connect with their friends and families. 

Your short-term strategies NEED to be in order now, but you should also take time to prepare for what’s next. People are turning to eCommerce to meet their immediate needs, as well as their wants — something that will likely continue after the end of social distancing. On the marketing side, cause-related messaging may prove stronger than anything else, especially for the coming months. 

Social Media in the Era of COVID-19

Considering that people are flocking to their devices for information, entertainment and commerce, it’s not surprising to see higher levels of engagement with digital communications. Increases in activity occurred across email, instant messengers and social networking, as evidenced in the raw numbers below. 

Along with higher engagement, there is an accompanying dramatic increase in engagement with news and information sites. People crave information during times like these, and we’re seeing that pan out in comment sections across the web. 

News consumption, in general, is also on the rise, with unique daily visitors and visits over time both trending upwards as the pandemic progresses. 

Making the Most of the Current Situation

So, how can you put all this information into practice? Well, it’s important to remember that users are currently primed for high engagement. Don’t take advantage, but do keep it in mind. Nurture relationships now and you can reap the benefits later. Keep the following considerations in mind:


People are at home, and they have time, so open rates are going to naturally be higher. This is backed by various sources all reporting higher-than-normal open rates. But remember to approach with tact. Use empathy. Offer solutions. Gain loyalty by staying in touch. The relationships you build now will come out of this stronger. 


Do what you can to improve your search engine marketing. People are at home, computers at their fingertips. In fact, mobile search traffic was down nearly 25% in March, so optimize your bids. If the tools are available to you, consider smart bidding to get your ads in front of more people. It’s also important to consider cross platform engagement. Think YouTube, Google Display and programmatic software if it’s available to you. 


Take the time to revamp your messaging. This is a great time to build your audience and create brand awareness. Remember to stay consistent, and extend your ads that are performing well. Now is the time to dig for new leads, so try building your email marketing list with lead ads. You can also try focusing on remarketing campaigns. If you’re really up for something new, try testing new creative, new audiences, or even consider extending your brand to Facebook and Instagram live. 

Keep Looking Forward

Remember, people are paying attention right now. So no matter what you do, give it consideration, think about how people are feeling right now and build your relationships with people. Highly engaged users today are more likely to convert tomorrow, or whenever we return to some sense of normalcy. Put the work in now, reap the rewards later.