Should you continue to market to your customers during lockdown?

Short answer: yes, but with caveats!

As NSW and Victoria head back into lockdown, SMBs are left wondering if marketing efforts should be put on pause.

Yet after more than a year of on-and-off lockdowns here and around the world, marketers have come to the conclusion that just because in-store shopping stops, it doesn’t mean communication should too.

Marketing during lockdown can help you stay relevant in your customers’ minds, but it’s important to be smart and tread lightly. If you’re looking to communicate with your customers during this time, here are some tips to help you go about it in the best way possible.*

Should I send this out?

Planning to launch marketing communications? Before diving in, take a second to double check that your message is relevant and appropriate.

One study by Valassis showed that 87% of consumers appreciated brands that offered timely and relevant information during the crisis, showing that there is a way to keep communication flowing, and keep your audiences happy.

Here’s a handy list of communications that could be appropriate to send out during lockdown:

  • Information updating customers on your business hours, delivery options, or new health and safety procedures you’ve put in place.
  • Useful information in your industry that would help customers during lockdown.
  • Inspiring communications that make your customers feel better or lift their spirits.
  • Products that might help people pass the time or manage their mental health.
  • Special offers or discounts for your customers (provided it’s done in a sensitive way).
  • Any actions you’re taking to support the local community.

If you’re on the fence about whether or not to communicate, sit on it and revisit it with a clear mind. Better yet, ask your friends or team members how they would feel if they received the message.

Be kind, be helpful.

It’s a tough time for many Aussies. The number one rule for marketing during lockdown? Be kind and be helpful.

Offer genuine support and advice to your customers, as well as the broader community. Think about the main problems or challenges people will face during these times that are related to your industry—then try to create helpful content to address these.

This is especially true for brands with younger audiences. A YPulse survey found that 89% of Gen Z and Millennials expected brands to be helpful through the pandemic.

If you’re not quite sure how to start, here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

  • Hairdressers and beauty salons: create a blog post or video with tips on home remedies and beauty routines.
  • Fitness centres or gyms: try offering free online classes or short workouts to help people keep fit during lockdown.
  • Tradies: create blog posts or videos highlighting common issues around the house, and how to fix them.
  • Vets: provide essential advice on looking after your pets during COVID-19, as well as tips to ensure your furry friends are looked after in case you’re unwell.
  • Accountants and lawyers: create FAQs to answer your clients’ most pressing questions around COVID-19, such as for government benefits or new tax laws.
  • Florists: brighten peoples’ days with images of floral arrangements, or even do a surprise delivery to some of your valued customers.

Need more inspiration? Check out what other brands are doing and find what works for you.

RELATED: Content ideas for every industry

Which marketing channels should I use?

As many Australians return to working online and staying at home (and many others continue to do so having never gone back at all), more people are spending time in front of the screen. For that reason, these digital marketing channels are a must-have for any small business during lockdown:

  • Use social media to keep customers informed on business updates, and show support and solidarity — even if your physical store is closed.
  • Keep your website updated, particularly if your opening hours have shifted or your way of going about business has changed.
  • Tap into email newsletters for announcements and promotions, or to provide helpful advice (like our very own Hello Yellow Pages newsletter below).

RELATED: How to create a strategic plan for the new financial year.

Be thoughtful about tone of voice.

What you say matters as much as how you say it. Opt for uplifting, inspiring and supportive language, like you’re speaking to a friend.

When it comes to tone of voice, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Acknowledge the times and how you’ve adapted.
  • Be empathetic. Use phrases like ‘we understand this is a difficult period …’ and ‘we offer our support during these unexpected times …’.
  • Express gratitude to your customers, and remind them you are there for them.
  • Tread carefully with jokes. While it can be tempting to try and lift people’s spirits, some social media posts that come across as lighthearted might be taken the wrong way.

Need help with your digital marketing during lockdown? Yellow Pages is here to support you through these difficult times. Discover our digital marketing products here.

*We endeavour to provide accurate material for Australian businesses consistent with Australian Government Health and Safety Guidelines. However, this material is for reference only and is not designed to be, nor should it be regarded as professional advice.

Want to grow your business' digital presence in the new FY? Get in touch with Yellow Pages.

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