ux interviews / 3 Smart Marketing Strategies Companies Are Using to Survive COVID-19 (includes examples)

3 Smart Marketing Strategies Companies Are Using to Survive COVID-19 (includes examples)

Andy Thorne
graphic pattern using circles

During a crisis like COVID-19 the challenge to market your business and drive revenue may seem overwhelming. However, there are 3 smart digital marketing strategies (explained in this article) that top companies are using to survive COVID-19 (Coronavirus). It’s the time to get hyper-focused on your customers goals and adapt to what’s happening to help minimise the impact of Coronavirus on your business.

Marketing During COVID-19: 3 Smart Digital Strategies

  • Email and advice are your best friend
    Make use of your mailing list and send free and helpful advice to show you care and that we’re all in this together
  • Building for the future is vital
    Think of the future. What can you offer for free? Is there a part of your service or a small product offering you can give away for free to onboard new customers?
  • Engage your creative side and adapt
    Adapt to what’s happening and offer goal based alternatives. Understand your customers goals and present alternatives that can help them achieve their goals

Firstly, don’t exploit the situation. Neil Patel explains this well in his article ‘What The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Means For Marketers‘.

Instead, be smart, be creative and take inspiration from strategies that top companies such as Innocent and Argos are using.

1. Focus on your email list

Right now, it’s important to think of the future. So, instead of encouraging more people to buy your products or services with ads. The thing to focus on is email marketing and improving your mailing list.

Once we’re over this crisis, you’ll have a list of potential prospects who want to buy from you, so nurture them.

Share the love with your existing customers and offer free advice.

Ask yourself, what could you do during this time to make sure your customers feel they’re being cared for.

Telling customers that it’s ‘business as usual’ isn’t enough.

And whatever you do, don’t send a message from your CEO, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of these emails cluttering my inbox.

We’re in this together

Instead, tell customers that you’re here to help them through this. Share helpful advice, wisdom or inspiration to keep them positive.

Innocent’s approach was to completely change the format of their usual newsletter to a poem.

The poem was  crafted to empathise with their audience and talk about the situation we find ourselves in.

The poem was both heart warming and inspiring. Plus it reminded their audience that we’re all in it together.

Innocent Coronavirus poem

“We’re all in this together” – that was the only message Innocent needed to send in their amazing email newsletter that they sent at the end of March 2020.


2. Offer Your Products / Services for Free: Just imagine they’re Free Trials

Offering your products or services for free may seem counterintuitive to generating revenue.

However, offering freebies will encourage a lot of new customers to jump onboard. And remember to ask for their email address in return for their freebie.

Once COVID-19 is all over, you’ll be in a better position if you have a larger customer base who are ready to buy.

When offering ‘free’ carefully consider your paying customers. If they’re paying for your products or services already, don’t upset them by giving new customers something for free that they’re already paying for.

Here’s how you could adapt your products and services to freebies:
  • If you offer a service, can you offer a small part of that service for free? For example, some research, ideas or an audit? We’re currently offering a free UX website audit, but limiting it to 1 key page e.g. an ecommerce product page
  • If you have a SaaS product, can you offer a free trial month of the premium version? If you do this, make sure give current paying customers a free month as well.
  • If you’re an ecommerce selling physical products, are you offering PayPal Credit or Klarna (buy now, pay later) to keep your customers spending. Or if you usually charge for samples, then offer these for free.
  • Plus, remove the delivery charge for ‘Standard Delivery’, but keep charging for ‘Next Day’ delivery. This way, you’re able to offer a free service to your customers that won’t break the bank.

Examples of companies who are offering freebies during COVID-19

Blinkist are offering the premium (paid) version of their product for free until 25 April 2020.

What’s clever about this is that they are just re-opening their free month trial to me, a non-paying member.

Once the ‘Premium’ membership is up on the 25th of April 2020, I’ll be sure to keep paying them.

I must admit, I’d completely forgotten about Blinkist until I received this email. So, now that they’ve hooked me back in, I’ll remain loyal to them.

Blinkist - Key takeaways from the world’s best nonfiction books in text and audio

Blinkist offer key takeaways from the world’s best nonfiction books in text and audio. In other words, you can read a business book in 10 minutes! They’ve offered the Premium version of their product for free during April 2020. What a great strategy to increase their customer base.

3. Adapt to ‘goal’ based  alternatives if popular products are selling out

If you’re an ecommerce store selling products which are in high demand, you may find that factories and warehouses may not be able to help you re-stock fast enough. Therefore, you’ll start having a lot of items that are low or out-of-stock.

To fix this, promote alternative products to your customers which are associated with in-demand products and match the goal of the shopper.

For example, the other day, I shopped online for a trampoline and surprise, surprise, they were mostly sold out.

My goal with the trampoline was to keep the kids (and grown-ups) entertained.

Argos jumped on this opportunity and offered alternatives based on my goal.

Argos have setup a new category called ‘Keep the Kids busy’, which is very relevant and offers me a variety of trampoline alternatives.

Argos - keep the kids busy category

Argos create a ‘Keep the kids busy’ product category to help offer alternatives to in-demand products that are selling out during COVID-19

This was super helpful and prevented me going to the next site to look for a trampoline. Instead, I bought a variety of toys that fill the garden (help!) and keep the kids busy.

Abel & Cole have thought outside the (veg) box and are offering an alternative service

You’ve probably noticed all the online grocery shops and subscription schemes such as Abel & Coles’ veg boxes are in such high demand, that they’re not accepting new customers. Meaning, it’s not even an option to order groceries online.

Abel & Cole have come to the rescue with an alternative service called ‘Food on the table’ which offers the same type of groceries, but from a different supplier.

Abel & Cole - Food on the table

Abel & Cole are adapting and meeting the demands of customers by offering “Food on the Table” a completely new experience and one that does just what it says it does. It puts food, that was destined for restaurants, on your table during these extremely difficult times. Able & Cole are offering two weekly subscription boxes that will help you to do the bulk of your weekly shop.

They’re taking the non-organic food that was destined for the finest restaurants and bringing it to customers doors! Genius.

Offering the ‘Food on the table’ scheme accomplishes my goal of getting a veg box. Okay, it’s not organic, but at least I know it’s high quality.

Thinking outside the (veg) box like this allows Abel & Cole to generate more revenue and help customers who want to jump on board a veg scheme.

Be smart, be creative and your future will be in safe hands

Adapt, Overcome, and Improvise are words to live by during COVID-19.

We’re going through big change at the moment, and we’re adapting at the speed of light to the new rules that are imposed on is.

However, it’s important to remember that this is temporary, we will get through this.

So, zoom out, look at the big picture and use the advice in this article to come up with strategies that will help you both now and in the future (there will be one).

Your business is an investment, and now it’s time to build assets that will help your future self.

I hope this advice helps and be sure to reach out of you want to discuss ideas.

I’m happy to help in any way I can to get you through this.

Take care of yourself and those around you.