How To Market During the Coronavirus

Thursday, April 2, 2020

James La Barrie of Beyond Marketing
Anyone tired of this coronavirus thing, yet?

As we enter another week of quarantine, it’s clear that the spread of the coronavirus is only just getting started. Our new modified working conditions will continue for a while and business owners are doing all they can to keep the doors open. With a change in business requires a change in marketing and yes, everyone should still be marketing at this time. Believe it or not, there are even some opportunities to be won here.

Before we jump into the details, I think it’s important to share that as a business owner, I’m in the midst of surviving this myself. I’m not an “expert” pretending that I have it all figured out. I’m just like you. Everything I will be sharing is exactly what I’ll be doing for my own business! Ultimately, my mindset is that I’m in startup mode once again; I’m going to be doing much of what I was doing in the early days but at a higher rate of output in order to be in a better position when this is over.

Coronavirus Marketing Strategy

Today’s coronavirus entrepreneurs are walking a fine line between surviving and preparing for when we get past this period of stay-in-place mandates. We’re playing both a short game and long game (survive, then thrive) which leads us to the first point of strategy that must be taking place at this moment for every business: Generating Content. 

Is the Reading Rainbow song stuck in your head? (?I can do anything…)


Goals for Generating Content

The wrong play through this epidemic is to sit at home doing nothing. There’s a lot to be done and your starting point is to produce content – content for your website, social media and email marketing. Why? Because if we’re not being seen, then we are invisible at a time when more people in history have been actively on the web.

Our goal during this time should be hyper-focused to achieve the following:

  • Increasing your followers on social media in order to increase brand awareness.
  • Generate Site Traffic throughout the coronavirus lockdown and be in position to gain more traffic, post-coronavirus. This strategy involves providing value and a focus on SEO.
  • Keep your current audience engaged utilizing e-mail marketing and potentially new platforms like YouTube and LinkedIn if you’re not currently on those platforms.

Here’s a visual representation of what we’re talking about utilizing a robust content generation strategy:

What Content Should You Be Generating?

It’s easy to read that you should generate content, but the next question is what content should you be generating? If you’ve never created content before, then this may seem like a  daunting task, but don’t be intimidated, anyone can do it. Whether you create content for social, your blog, SEO or e-mail marketing, there is one thing you need to accomplish for every platform: Provide Value.

What Does Providing Value Look Like? 

Value can come in the form of education or in times like these, create laughter or be a positive force in a time when many are feeling negative. All of that is value and you need to determine what will serve your audience the best. Ultimately, make sure you’re relatable when providing it; be yourself!

By now, you should be brainstorming. What value can you provide? Write down some ideas.

CASE STUDY: River Pools


Me, writing this blog this summer in my imaginary pool! 

During the financial crisis of 2008, a brick and mortar pool construction company, River Pools in Sheridan, Virginia was facing a reality, not unlike ours today: survival. The founders were running out of money and they needed to look at an option to help build brand awareness despite not having any money for advertising. The owners doubled down on content creation and developed a blog that focused on every conceivable topic related to pools and spas. The result of this was massive growth. Today River Pools and Spas has more site traffic than any other pool and spa company in the world! That site traffic translated to sales which allowed River Pools to not only survive, but thrive. (River Pools was like any other brick and mortar pool business that you’d find in a town just like ours).

Says Marcus Sheridan who led this effort, “I used to see my company as a “pool company’. We installed lots of swimming pools and therefore we were a pool company. “In hindsight, though, this mentality was all wrong,” he says. “Today, I see my business as a content marketing company. In other words, my entire goal is to give more valuable, helpful and remarkable content to consumers than anyone else in my field, which will, in turn, lead to more sales”.

Today, Marcus Sheridan is a marketing professional who teaches other businesses how to use the technique of content marketing to their advantage.

Content marketing works super well, especially when combined with other marketing initiatives. Stay tuned to our blog for other resources to help you make sense of your marketing strategy during all this COVID-19 craziness. (I feel like we need to come up with a replacement name for this wretched word).


Friday at 4:00 pm – Marketing strategy for your biz

Do you have questions with regard to content marketing or the marketing of your business? If so, join me for Friday at 4:00pm for complimentary marketing consulting. This program is an hour and fifteen minutes in length and designed to help local entrepreneurs who are juggling many things during the coronavirus with their marketing strategy. Only four entrepreneurs will be permitted during each session to ensure that everyone is able to get all of their questions answered.


Local businesses crushing it this week


Benford Brewing Company – Rock Hill, SC

Benford Brewing Company in Lancaster, SC. That’s right boys, we see you making hilarious videos to keep things light while capturing people’s attention!!! WE SEE YOU! We’re big fans!! 

If you’re not already following Benford Brewing Company on Instagram and Facebook, you should. Their content is hilarious!

These guys have realized an excellent marketing insight:  If you can get people to laugh, you can get people to listen!


Wild Hope Farm – Chester, SC

Wild Hope Farm is doing a spectacular job on their social media between Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

We are CSA subscribers (their produce is immaculate)and we feel like we know these people through their social. On April 1st, they released a video of true value – The Fundamentals of Starting a Garden (below), but they have some true hilarity happening on Instagram as well. Well done guys – your social is as good as your farming and we see you! Great job being authentic in your marketing!


Business Books of the Week

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

If you plan on launching a robust blog for your website, I can’t recommend this book enough! I’ve seen Ann speak many times and she is on-point with her messaging. She’s highly regarded in the marketing world!

They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan

I mentioned Marcus Sheridan in this blog post about how he transformed River Pools and Spas using content marketing. Not surprisingly, he has a book… and it’s a good one!



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