Marketing Through Coronavirus: How to Pivot Your Ecommerce Marketing Plan in Times of Crisis

its core, has to include a deep understanding of your target market — their day-to-day lives, their challenges, their joys, their perspective on the world around them. Once you understand that, you can figure out how your brand fits into that story.

You probably had that down pat. And then the coronavirus outbreak shut down schools and businesses, imposed social distancing, and completely upended almost everything we thought of as typical daily life.

Many of those things you knew about your target audience are different now. People are feeling communal anxiety and grief, their daily routines have likely changed completely, and some have either lost their jobs or are risking their health to keep essential services functioning.

Reanalyze Your Marketing Plan With COVID-19 in Mind

The coronavirus pandemic is a health crisis like we’ve never seen before, so it’s no surprise that it came with disruptions to the supply chain, hoarding of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, empty shelves at grocery stores, and stress on Amazon’s warehouses.

In times like these, you need to be able to respond to change in real time. For the first few weeks after the U.S. began taking serious measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, the situation seemed to change daily — having ripple effects on people’s feelings and behaviors.

steps you can take to reevaluate your plans:

1. Stop, relax, and don’t panic.

Seriously, sit down — not in front of your computer — and take a few deep breaths. This is not a time to panic, but to gain perspective. People’s lives are at risk, but not from your marketing campaigns. Your business is so important, but you have to keep your mind first and foremost on your health.

2. Evaluate your current images, language, and tone of voice.

Assess everything you currently have in market, starting with the channel that gets the most eyes. Evaluate those assets and messages from a new point of view: one that is living in a world with record-high unemployment rates, economic uncertainty, and general anxiety.

3. Adjust marketing campaigns and timelines.

Let’s face it: your well-laid marketing campaign plans might have to be pushed back. And that’s ok. Don’t nix them altogether, but take a little time out to focus on the situation at hand (and part of that means to get your own house in order — take care of your family and employees, keep them safe, and do the best you can).

4. Have a positive mindset, but don’t be insensitive.

Try your best to keep an upbeat attitude and show your customers that you are there for them in these uncertain times and also still hopeful for the future. That said, watch that you don’t cross the line into possibly being seen as insensitive by minimizing the scale of the pandemic or its impact on human life

Retain and Grow Your Customer Base During Coronavirus

The Pareto Principle says that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your loyal customer database. If COVID-19 has dramatically reduced your sales rates, or you’ve had to temporarily close up shop, it’s your loyal customers who will be the ones to keep your business booming well beyond the end of any international pandemic.

few areas you can leverage to maximize your customer engagement now.

Content Marketing and Coronavirus

Content marketing is all about answering your customers’ questions. What are their questions now? How have they changed? If you can zero in on how to answer, content marketing is a great way to fill the holes left by any paid campaigns you paused to conserve cash.

Paid Advertising and COVID-19

I’ve heard lots of stories about brands pulling back on their paid advertising to conserve cash flow. But the other side of the coin is that, when we come out of this on the other side, your brand may have been forgotten. Outta sight, outta mind, as they say.

If you can afford it, keep your paid ads running, and find ways to budget instead of killing the program entirely.

What you should consider, though, is moving away from conversion-focused advertising toward brand marketing. The message now is more about communicating your identity and values than “Buy this blender.”

Social Media Marketing and Coronavirus

Social media is a wildcard on a good day, so tread carefully — but tread you must. If you have an established presence on social channels, you should be there now. Especially if you find yourself having to pull back on ad spend, you’ll need to (responsibly) take advantage of all your organic opportunities.

Offer Discounts and Promotions

In the early days of crisis, it could be seen as gauche or inappropriate to advertise discounts and deals. Carefully and consistently gauging customer sentiment will be important. But as the situation evolves, and instead descends into what may likely be an economic recession, price-conscious shoppers will be looking for those deals

Email Marketing and COVID-19

It’s no secret that communicating with your customers is an essential step to retaining them. Still, there’s a fine art to that communication, and one of the indisputable kings of comms is email marketing.

With 59% of people saying that email marketing impacts their purchase decisions, it is still by far the most effective long-term method of marketing communication.

Optimize Your Ecommerce Store

Consumers are turning to online shopping for many things they may have previously preferred to purchase in person. You want to make sure your store is optimized for findability and usability, and that you’re featuring the products that resonate with customers today.


In these challenging times, digital marketing is often the last thing on people’s minds. But as marketers, we still have to pay attention. And our jobs change with the seasons, in that we have to respond to the world as it is, as it changes — not the world we wish it was, or the world it used to be.

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