Small Business Promotion Ideas During the Coronavirus Crisis

By at 6 April, 2020, 11:23 am


by Raymond J. Keating-

For many – far too many – small businesses in the U.S., the coronavirus crisis and the related sharp economic downturn means a struggle to survive. Here are few examples of how small businesses can help themselves or be helped by others in these brutal times through assorted promotional strategies.

Stay Relevant and Active with Customers

Our friends at the U.S. Chamber have posted an article titled “5 Ways to Retain Your Customers During the Coronavirus Outbreak.” This includes some helpful thoughts and suggestions. One of my favorites is the following: “Recognize that most consumers are craving entertainment while being quarantined at home. This is where Facebook Live or Instagram Live can come in handy. If you had a store opening, product launch or anniversary celebration planned, move it to one of the live streaming social media channels. It’s a great way to keep your customers engaged and build goodwill, as well as to sell your products. Offer a special discount code to the first 100 people who stream your live event, or create an “exclusive” behind the scenes look at a new product to customers on your email list. Get creative with how you can make customers still feel invested in your brand and engaged with your content from a distance.”

Stay Connected and Use Social Media and Tech Platforms

And over at, Brandon George serves up “10 Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Coronavirus.” There are plenty of good ideas here. Again, one of my favorites is about pivoting amidst the crisis:

“In a fluid situation, your business should also be fluid. This is a time that you should find ways to connect with your customers like never before. It shows empathy and keeps you relevant at a time when your business may have been impacted by people staying at home. For instance, restaurants are shutting down right now because customers aren’t dining in. You should make sure you’re offering free delivery services. Just the other day, a local Dallas restaurant emailed offering three ways to get their food into their customers’ hands: delivery, curbside ordering and parking lot pickup. Also, let your customers know you’ve increased your sanitary practices and how you’re doing that specifically.

“But other businesses should pivot right now, too, as we stay in. Gyms have closed their doors in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but why not offer online workout classes right now? Dentists could offer online consultations. Grocery stores should offer free curbside pickup. All of these opportunities can be boosted with strategic social media campaigns.”

Again, Engaging Customers posted an article titled “10 Coronavirus Quarantine Small Business Strategies That Can Help Generate Revenue.” It also provides some ideas that you might not have considered. The one I like is providing customers virtual tours:

“Between store closures and social distancing, buying a car, home, boat, RV or other large items right now is challenging. One thing that businesses can start doing is virtual tours. If a customer is interested in a vehicle or home, a salesperson or realtor can give then a full tour using a video chat app like FaceTime. Or upload a private video to YouTube so the customer can watch the video at their convenience. Vehicles can even be outfitted with multiple GoPro cameras for virtual test drive experiences for customers.”

With some added creativity, the virtual tour idea could be used in a variety of ways – such as “how we do things” and “where we do things” videos – to keep customers engaged.

Can You Use Influencers to Promote Your Business? Even Local Individuals

Finally, I happen to be a big fan of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. And we Sharks fans are treated to the play-by-play television voice of Randy Hahn. Well, Hahn is pitching in for local small businesses – specifically, restaurants. He has been ordering takeout or pick-up from small local restaurants, and then talking about the meals spread out before him and the businesses that prepared these treats. (And yes, everything looks quite delicious.)

Good stuff. Check it out on Randy Hahn’s Twitter feed @sharkvoice or on his Facebook page @randyhahnsjs. Oh yeah, and Go Sharks!

Please stay safe, healthy and innovative.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.




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