As the deadly coronavirus hit the world, small and big retailers announced closures and then extended it in an attempt to curb the spread of the disease.

Without a doubt, small businesses felt the biggest impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 51% of business owners reported a significant decline in their sales, and 17% requested extensions on rent (Businesswire).

However, digital marketing during pandemic served and is serving as a ray of hope for small businesses. It is an essential part of the marketing mix and can help your business to reach new heights.

Evidence suggests that 87% of shoppers do online product search. It’s a huge number and definitely a big reason for small businesses to invest in digital marketing.

To reap the benefits of digital marketing, you don’t need to become a digital market expert, but you have to be passionate about what you do.


Eleven ways how SME’s survived and thrived during Covid-19 by turning to digital marketing technologies

Read on to know how small and medium-sized enterprises use digital marketing during pandemic as a weapon amidst Covid-19 fears.

1. The shift in consumer shopping behavior

The pandemic pushed people towards a more digital world and triggered changes in the way in which people buy. It completely changed people’s habits for grocery shopping.

While most US industries struggle during the pandemic, food manufacturers and grocery stores observed a high demand.

Stats revealed that people spend 30% more on online purchasing during the first quarter of 2020. Because going outside wasn’t safe, consumers search for stay-at-home buying options. People were reluctant to leave the house, but they still want access to routine products and services.


The theory behind panic buying

As shown from the following graph, the positive impact of Covid-19 is extended to specific items that consumers want during the lockdown. People want more hand sanitizers, home cleaning products, toilet rolls, medicines, and face masks.

On the flip side, sales for consumer technology and electronics and other luxury items declined. So it is safe to say that small grocery stores survived because of the sudden upsurge in demand for specific items.

2. Everything goes from offline to online

When I say to move from offline to online, I mean businesses using the World Wide Web. During this pandemic, we are observing two major incidents.

  1. The audience is locked in their home
  2. The audience is looking for online products

Online presence enhances your visibility in front of your target audience who otherwise never sees your brand or hears about your product.

Keeping this thing in mind, businesses had to bring their products online so that customers can shop at the comfort of their home. Going online also enhances your ability to interact with your actual and potential clients and learn what they are looking for.

Businesses can reach out to more people without spending much money. Last but not least, your competitors are online. In order to beat the competition, you need to keep an eye on them, and sometimes you just learn from them.

3. Facebook shop for digital marketing during pandemic

As everything goes from brick to click, social media played a prominent role in promoting and saving small businesses.

Facebook launched ‘Facebook shop’ helping small businesses advertise and sell products online.

According to recent 2020 Facebook stats, the platform has 2.60 billion monthly active users. Facebook has such a massive audience that small business owners cannot refuse its ability to benefit them during the lockdown.

Below-mentioned are the steps small businesses took to run their Facebook shop without learning any technical skills.

  • Set up a separate store tab on your Facebook page.
  • Integrate websites and blogs to your store.
  • Pay Facebook for promotional posts to increase business reach.
  • Leverage ad analytics, FB pixels and ads. Marketing analytics allows businesses to monitor their marketing activities.
  • Post your content when your audience is online.
  • Market your shop on Facebook groups.
  • Add call-to-action in posts.
  • Encourage people to share posts and reward them with discounts and free offers.

4. Greater emphasis on community building

The pandemic provided small businesses with the chance to showcase how they can contribute to the greater community at this time. Digital marketing during pandemic provided them with the opportunity to build a stronger online community.

Remember that your content shouldn’t be entirely focused on promoting your product. Instead, promote your brand in such a way that you understand the pain and misery people are going through.

Take inspiration from this small concept restaurants &pizza that realized that challenges caused by Covid 19 for healthcare professionals and frontline medical staff and offer them free pizza. The pizza company announced this offer through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.

The replies were epic.

5. The rapid growth of online food market

While restaurants experienced a significant decline in the in-dining, the online food delivery market flourished significantly during the strict lockdown.

The restaurant industry will see solid sales as people are now eating at home. According to findings, the US food delivery market is expected to reach $136.4 billion by the end of 2020, while revenues are projected to expand at a rate of 7.5% by 2024 (Statista).

Studies confirmed that home confinement, halting of public commuting, and ban on restaurants’ food serving has changed the food behavior of people. People have nothing much to do except eating and scrolling their social media news food.


Expansion in food delivery services

Small restaurants, cafés, and food vans turned to an online ordering system as the trend of using third-party food delivery service increases. Uber Eats, GrubHub, DoorDash are few of the third-party food delivery services that people used the most during Covid.

Small food businesses use digital marketing techniques to reach out to their audience, satisfy their cravings, and mitigate the effects of a pandemic on their business.

Some other reasons to move online include the following:

  • There’s an increased demand for food.
  • Businesses can streamline their operations.
  • It is helping businesses save their operational cost.
  • Going online will support restaurants even after resuming again.

6. Leveraging user-generated content

Asking your actual customers to produce content and use it for brand promotion is a fantastic way to build trust. It is when you work with your audience to co-create content. Know that most people are craving entertainment while being isolated at home.

According to IEEE, UGC helps businesses build a stronger community, improves SEO, customer satisfaction, and makes a business a credible brand.

Many small to large businesses tapped UGC for engaging their online community. Here’s an example.

Why is it vital for small businesses?

  • Help cut through the digital noise and bolster authenticity.
  • It is a low-cost but highly effective strategy for SMEs that will work on both social media and website and do not require you to push your content with a sales-driven tone.
  • It has always remained a small part of the organization’s marketing strategy but seen uplift during the lockdown.
  • You enjoy the free promotion.
  • Helps businesses enhance engagement and Google ranking.

7. Influencer marketing

During this lockdown, a lot of small smart brands collaborate with influencers as consumers have been spending more time on social media following their favorite content creators. They let people feel that they are their friend. 60% of marketers agree that ROI for influencer marketing is greater than traditional marketing methods.

Some tips for small businesses to make the most of influencer digital marketing during pandemic:

Emphasize on education

It could be related to Covid prevention, immunity-boosting recipes, or simply tell the audience how to use the brand’s product. A study revealed that American consumers like and share influencer content that is humorous or helps them improve their living during a pandemic (Emarketer, 2020).

Identify the right influencers

Every social media star is not an influencer. You need to recognize famous people in your niche with authentic followers and high engagement rates (e.g. the number of retweets, likes, comments, and shares).

Give a chance to small influencers

If you are a small business targeting middle-class moms, a small influencer is a better bet because they can resonate with the audience on a personal level. Plus, they won’t charge you much.

8. Email campaigns as digital marketing during pandemic

If you are thinking about using email campaigns as part of digital marketing during pandemic, then you are absolutely right. A lot of businesses did that during the lockdown.

The number of email users globally is rising. See the facts below:

Personalized emails with the customer’s name and catchy headlines are an opportunity to interact with the customers directly. A study revealed that email campaigns are known as customer retention and acquisition strategy by 80% of business professionals.

9. PPC for digital marketing during pandemic

According to a study by Assignment Assistance, the coronavirus pandemic has lessened the competition in almost all industries and halted the pay per click (PPC) campaigns of many businesses.

This simply means that there are fewer businesses promoting their products through paid ads. This automatically makes paid ads cheaper.

Small businesses are still cashing on this trend as paid ads are producing much greater ROI after Covid-19 outbreak.

10. Adopting the best SEO practices

Digital marketing during pandemic is incomplete without good SEO practices, so a lot of small businesses focused on SEO.

Google prioritizes user intent and uploads the most relevant results on the first page. So don’t think that Google’s first page is reserved for big multinationals.

AI-enabled search engines give high ranking to all kinds of websites, including dissertation writing services that are mobile optimized and include optimized content. It has been noted that small businesses can increase conversion rate by 80% and appear on the first search result page by adding videos on their landing page.

11. Widespread use of chatbots

Biggest myth: Bots are only for big companies.

No, that’s not true.

Chatbots and market automation are the talk of the town. From market research to 24/7 quick customer support and from promoting your product to build long-lasting relations, they help us with all. They are vital for the digital marketing strategy of small businesses as they can build brand awareness and remove the gap between sales and marketing teams.

They added a human touch to brand and customer interactions and helped small businesses build fruitful relationships with customers. Chatbots can give your business the ability to operate round the clock so that you’ll never miss any chance.

In summary

Digital marketing during pandemic is the only best and sustainable solution that can put an end to the struggle of small business owners. A lot of businesses have already embraced this trend and started seeing promising results.

Author bio

Claudia Jeffrey is presently working as a Sr. Research Analyst & Digital Evangelist at Dissertation Assistance, the best online platform to write my essay for me. Prior to joining this platform, she worked for five years in digital marketing and brand development job roles. Young entrepreneurs check her stuff for inspiration.