The Effect of Covid-19 Pandemic on Local Marketers

The pandemic has affected people of all ages, including kids, parents, full-time workers, health care workers, etc. However, small businesses and local marketers are most affected.
Customer habits have changed. Thousands have lost their jobs. This means that the traditional marketing techniques no longer work.
We will explore how COVID-19 has impacted local marketers and how they can deal with this crisis.

9 Ways Covid-19 is Affecting Local Marketers

1. Moving Everything Into Online!

Before the pandemic, many local businesses confined themselves to offline strategies. But the pandemic changed everything.
People are stuck inside and turning to the Internet to pass their time. Consumers’ behavior has changed. As a result, if local marketers and businesses want to stay relevant, they need to shift their focus online.
How can local marketers better utilize the growing Internet consumption to reach more customers?

  • Don’t forget social media: According to Statista, there was a steep rise in social media usage in the U.S. At such times when your customers are at home, using social media to remain in touch with your community can be a game-changer.
  • Keep Your Customer Updated: Be sure to update your customers on your local business. Highlight how they can help you in these difficult times. E.g., writing positive reviews online.
  • Use Local SEO to improve your business's visibility.

You can find local SEO keywords by specifying the location where you want to gain visibility using KWFinder:

2. Reinventing Shopping

Everything from shopping malls to large shopping chains closed suddenly when the pandemic struck. Shoppers feared visiting local stores. The social distancing norms led consumers to shop online rather than at local stores.
This also includes groceries and durables. Consumers who did not feel comfortable shopping online are now ambassadors. This means at least some percentage of e-commerce will remain permanent after COVID-19 is over.
So, how can local marketers navigate through this change?

  • Implement Buy Online, Pick Up in Store: Customers can shop from home and collect from local stores. A win-win situation for both parties.
  • Prioritize relevant product categories: Shopping trends have shifted drastically, and people are choosing comfort over style. According to research, more people buy ‘’work from home’’ and ‘’Zoom-ready styles’.

Here’s an example of an eCommerce website showcasing “work from home” styles:

3. Changing the Consumer Behavior

Americans are spending more time at home than ever. As economies start to reopen after an extended lockdown, 3 out of 4 consumers say they are hesitant to return to their normal activities outside the home, whether going to the gym, restaurants or using shared environments like public transportation.
How should local marketers navigate this crib economy? Here are a few tips:

  • Use Social Media to Connect With Local Consumers: Social media is a great platform to connect with local consumers virtually. Marketers can reach out to local communities through Facebook or WhatsApp groups.
  • Implement Omnichannel Strategy: It’s unlikely that consumer behavior will ever return to normal. Americans will spend more time at home to ensure their safety. As a result, local marketers must go where local customers are. That means social media, forums, cafés, or wherever local customers are. Single-channel marketing won't work.

Here’s an example of a business using social media to engage with local consumers:

4. Decreasing the Google Ads Turnover

Industries like health, finance, business management, beauty, and personal care have gained significant momentum during pandemics.
However, industries like real estate, sports, conferences, live entertainment, travel, and tourism have been hit the hardest. As more people are stuck at home, the Google search results are shifting.
According to Wordstream, the search rate for live events has fallen by 24%, and conversions have declined by 30%. At the same time, those restaurants went down by 18% and bars and nightclubs by 26%.
Here’s how local marketers can navigate this problem:

  • Revisit Google Ads campaigns. Watch the ones that need to be aligned with customers’ expectations.
  • Use Facebook’s lead ads campaigns to generate interest, increase leads, and sign-ups for email marketing purposes.
  • Focus on remarketing campaigns to re-engage existing customers who have previously engaged, commented, shared your posts or website. Facebook and Instagram allow ample opportunities for remarketing campaigns.

Here’s an example of a Facebook lead:
Read: Importance of Google Ads Certifications

5. Growing Importance Of Brand Presence

As Zig Ziglar used to say, ‘You don’t build a business. You build people, and they build a business.' Nothing could be more true than this.
Branding has never been as important as it is today. Local marketers need to focus more on business branding. A business without a good brand is just a regular one.

  • Rethinking Brands' Value Propositions: Priorities have changed. As a result, marketers must revisit the brand's value proposition to see if it aligns with customers' expectations. And if it doesn't, then a change is needed.
  • Prioritize Authenticity: Customers crave an authentic tone of voice from brands. This pandemic has enhanced the value of authenticity. Keeping your customers informed is more important than ever.
  • Stand For Something: People will pay you more if they believe their funds will be a good cause. You will increase the overall value of doing business with you by addressing social issues.

Here’s an example of a business standing for a social cause:

6. Eroding Brand Loyalty

The pandemic also resulted in broken brand loyalty. According to Omnicron Media Group, the main reasons behind broken brand loyalty were job losses and supply chain disruptions.
As customers' incomes declined, they searched for cheaper alternatives. Others switched brands because the products they wanted weren't available due to logistical difficulties.
Thus, the old ways of promoting products, program benefits, and other incentives made people loyal to companies before the pandemic won't work anymore.
So, how can local marketers redefine brand loyalty?

  • Local marketers need to cultivate a relationship with loyal customers to understand what they expect from brands and businesses. This is because what they valued before the pandemic has changed.
  • Invest in personalization techniques and technologies to drive more relevant interactions - offers, benefits, and promotions to build loyalty with new customers and reinforce existing ones.

Here’s an example of a business fostering relationships with customers on social media through a poll post:

7. Shaping The New Norm

A wise person once stated, "Without empathy, nothing works.". This pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of our lives, so consumers expect brands to be genuine and empathetic.
Poor economic conditions haven't stopped consumers from switching to new brands that fit their values and dropping those that don't.
In a study, almost 49% of consumers switched brands in response to brands' behavior during times of social crisis. In other words, local marketers cannot promote their products or services for the sake of marketing.
Here's how local marketers can play a role in shaping the new norm in the pandemic era:

  • Human At The Core: Contributions authentic, brand-related, and beneficial can make consumers appreciate you and make a lasting impression on them.
  • Taking Care Of Employees And Customers: Safeguarding the well-being and safety of your employees should be the top priority. Bank of America, for instance, pledged no layoffs during the pandemic.

Here’s an example of McDonald’s explaining the measures it takes to take care of its employees and customers:

8. Creating Difficulty in Remote Work Execution

During the countrywide lockdown, remote working has gained traction. The sudden shift from offices to homes has been challenging for many local marketers.
Since going virtual, many marketers complain about the growing contact with clients. According to data, 35% of clients contacted their marketing agencies at least once a day. According to marketers, working hours have increased, and their time is not respected.
In addition, the increased demand for customer service has resulted in a lack of focus and an increase in daily activities.
Here are some tips on how local marketers can handle remote working efficiently:

  • Project management software reduces stress by tracking meetings, employees, and other activities.
  • Establish strict working hours. Usually, this means not taking calls after hours if there is no emergency.
  • Use automated customer services such as chatbots and FAQ pages for general customer inquiries.

Here’s an example of a chatbot:

9. Creating Concerts Due to Budget Cuts

Local businesses have been operating at less than full capacity, and some have been closed for extended periods. As a result, the marketing budget has been reduced.
According to the survey, 76% of 450 marketers were worried about shifting marketing priorities. 72% of respondents said that the main reason for cutting ad spending was reducing the marketing budget.
So, how can local marketers handle budget cuts in marketing during the pandemic:

  • Opt for Organic: Paid ads offer many benefits, but they can also be expensive. When the budget is limited, local marketers can turn to organic SEO. When implemented correctly, local SEO can reduce marketing costs and increase returns.
  • Lead Generation Through Local Listings: Local business listings are another cost-effective strategy. When optimized properly, Google My Business listings can be a significant source of local leads.

Here’s how a business looks like on Google maps after setting up a Google My Business profile:

Key Takeaways:

  • Shift focus from paid ads to organic Local SEO to keep the marketing costs low.
  • Implement an omnichannel marketing strategy to capture more local audiences.
  • Optimize workflow communication using software and tools to make remote work easier.
  • Redefine the purpose of your brand to align with customers’ values.
  • Invest in personalization techniques to maintain brand loyalty.
  • Prioritize the most relevant product categories.
  • Improve conversion by implementing the Buy Online, Pick Up in Store strategy.

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Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years strategizing and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested in writing Digital-marketing, PPC, and Social Media Marketing related topics.


Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years strategizing and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested in writing Digital-marketing, PPC, and Social Media Marketing related topics.