Until just a few, short weeks ago ‘lockdown’ was something that happened in prisons during staffing shortages or periods of unrest. But now it’s entered our everyday vocabulary, as the world stays indoors in a concerted effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Businesses around the world are struggling to survive. Strict limitations on where people can go, what they can do, and what is available for them to purchase make it next to impossible for any business to operate normally.

But that doesn’t mean marketing has to grind to a halt. In fact, marketing has suddenly become more important than ever before, thanks to everyone’s dependence on the online world. And if you can keep your head, and hold your nerve, it’s perfectly possible to ride out this current situation, and to get back to where you were before – with a little ingenuity, some businesses could even pull ahead!

So if you’re struggling to find your way through these difficult times, take heart. We’ve put together some suggestions to help you make the most of the lockdown. They won’t all apply to every business of course, so pick and choose the ones that most seem appropriate for your needs.

Look for ways to diversify

If coronavirus has revealed anything at all, it’s that people under pressure can be truly ingenious. This period of enforced social distancing has seen thousands of businesses forced to either close their doors for the time being, or to seek out new ways of interacting with customers.

The hospitality trade has been particularly hard hit, but many entrepreneurs are switching their business models around to take advantage of new markets. So, for example, some restaurants have switched to offering a takeaway service, whilst others have adapted to provide meals for those in need. Meanwhile, a couple of hosiery manufacturers have quickly switched to producing face masks, which are suddenly incredibly hard to source via the usual supply routes. And car manufacturers have started turning out respiratory devices, to help patients in need of help with breathing. These businesses aren’t just helping others – they’re also generating valuable positive publicity, which will hold them in good stead in the future.

Your available options obviously depend on what it is you produce or sell, but spend some time thinking outside the box. Could your goods or services be put to use in new and original ways? You might end up heading in a slightly different direction than you’d originally intended, but as long as your business is still moving forward, then it’s all good!

Build on your social media following

With the majority of people in this country now relying on social media channels for their news and entertainment, this is the perfect time to promote your brand. But you need to be very careful about the tone you adopt – get it wrong and you could alienate the very people you’re hoping to attract.  So plan your posts carefully, and run them past some of your colleagues too, so that you can be sure of striking the right note.

Whether you choose to produce entertaining posts that aim to raise the mood of your customers, or you intend to provide useful and informative advice, there has never been a better time to really engage with your intended audience. Even if it doesn’t translate into immediate sales, you’ll be building up goodwill that will hold you in good stead through the coming months.

Tighten up your SEO

Rising to the top of the Google rankings isn’t necessarily at the top of the list for most businesses during the present crisis, but maybe it should. Even if you don’t anticipate increased sales in the current climate, that’s no reason not to heavily promote your brand. Thousands of people are trawling the internet to research goods and services that they intend to buy once lockdown ends. So if you can get your brand into the forefront of people’s minds right now, you’ll have an advantage once sales start picking up again.

Most businesses are focussing on survival, and few of them will be wanting to spend time and money on SEO. But for those companies willing to invest in brand promotion right now, the potential rewards could be huge, so now is a great time to push ahead of the crowd.

Get to grips with business ‘housekeeping’

Up and down the country, houses are gleaming like never before, as frustrated home-owners turn their attention to all those little jobs that have been building up for months, and even years. Deep spring cleans leave us feeling in control of our surroundings, and now is the perfect opportunity to adopt the same approach to your business.

What about going through your computer’s hard drive and giving it a good clear out? And don’t forget those cloud-based files either. This is also a great time to tackle those administrative tasks that you’ve been meaning to get around to ‘one day’. And you could spend some time considering ways in which you can make your business processes and procedures more streamlined. Put in the hours going through them now, and you’ll find your business much easier to manage once things eventually get back to normal.

Learn a new skill

The whole world seems to have moved online over the past few weeks, so there’s never been a better time to expand your skillset. Podcasts and training videos are springing up online, many of them free of charge, so it’s never been easier to source training modules. Whether you want to learn a new language, which could help you attract customers from abroad, or you’d like to improve your digital marketing knowledge, there’s a wealth of information, literally at your fingertips.

Seek out ways of helping others

The coronavirus pandemic may have brought the global economy to an abrupt halt, but life still carries on. And we’re seeing how people come together in times of crisis, helping each other out in all sorts of ways. From providing food and shelter to the homeless, to distributing food parcels to those in isolation, people are falling over themselves to help others.

And that’s something that’s going to be remembered when all this is over, and life eventually returns to normal. Those businesses which went the extra mile to provide help, support, useful information or even entertainment, will be held in higher regard than those which didn’t. Aside from making you, and your team, feel better about life, you’ll also be doing your business a big PR favour too, which won’t be forgotten.

Here at Brookstone, we’re full of bright ideas to help businesses survive this current situation. So if you’re in need of any help or advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We can’t offer you a cup of coffee in the current climate, but we can certainly help to keep your business growing and thriving in these difficult times.