Digital Marketing

How to Adjust Your Digital Marketing Efforts in Times of Crisis

By Justin Seibert| 9 Min Read | March 25, 2020
Marketing In Times Of Crisis: Digital Marketing Advice From Justin Seibert

Latest Update: A recording of the webinar is now live.  Click here to learn more about the PRSA webinar about communications and marketing in times of crisis where there is a link to listen to the recording.

Journalism 101: Never bury the lede. This is a long post, so let’s get to the meat first. I believe it’s my duty and my agency’s duty to serve the greater good. The best way we can do that right now is by sharing our digital marketing knowledge to help businesses steer through these uncertain times. We are offering that expertise in three very specific ways:

  1. A strategic guide to help your decision-making process during times of volatility
  2. A webinar through the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) called Digital Communications During COVID-19 crisis response
  3. Digital marketing advice tailored specifically for your organization

My Philosophy for Marketing in Times of Crisis

These are scary, uncertain times. Beyond the deaths and serious health complications, many people are losing their jobs and businesses are closing—temporarily or permanently. These downturns typically lead to other societal issues because of, or in conjunction with, those losses.

I’m not a doctor, nurse, or health care professional of any type. I don’t drive delivery trucks, stock grocery stores, or service the general public with “essential” services. A sincere thank you and blessings to all of those who are keeping us going during COVID-19, many of whom don’t typically get the appreciation they deserve.

“2 Who Can and 9 Who Want To”

That’s what a very successful West Virginia high school football coach, Danny Eismond, once told my dad was necessary for a team to have a good record. In other words, to succeed you need to have some high-caliber talent and you need to get the rest of the team to buy in and give it their all. (See if you can guess which category I fell into as a 5’9”, 150-lb center.)

The numbers may skew in certain football hotbeds like Texas, Georgia, and Southern California, but the general concept remains. In any group activity, everyone has their role to play for the team to succeed as a whole.

The health professionals and workers serving the public are the “ones who can” in this analogy. Without diminishing their heroic (a word I don’t use lightly) efforts in any way, the rest of us have our own roles.

Our Role

I feel honor-bound to take care of my family and business, and to contribute to the greater good. That’s why I love what DOM has accomplished over the years and will do in the future that lies ahead.

Not only does DOM enable me to provide for my family*, but through this business we’re providing for all of our employees and their families and communities. We don’t employee thousands or even hundreds, but I’ve never been prouder than right now of employing people and affording them some stability in an otherwise chaotic world.

*A very important footnote: I wouldn’t be able to lead DOM without Kristin, my wife. She works tirelessly in support of our family, our kids, and me. I’ve been derelict in not giving Kristin enough credit. Thank you, honey. I love you.

Speaking of the team, we truly have an awesome  group. Our success is due to them and their hard work, and it’s an honor to work with each one. My respect has only grown in the last two weeks in seeing them maintain positivity, lift one another up, and still execute their work.

We continue to drive business to our clients at a time where it’s more necessary than ever for many of them. And that is what our role is: helping them, their employees, and communities. By doing so, we’re contributing to the greater economy at a time when every little bit of help is critical.

How Our Clients Are Helping

Speaking of our clients, we had a terrific all-hands call on Friday where the team shared how our clients are finding ways to help in this tense time. We are blessed to work with so many talented teams and amazing companies from all over the world.

We could easily list them all, but here are a few examples of the good clients are doing:

  • Marsh Bellofram is producing parts, such as diaphragms, regulators, gauges and providing custom solutions for ventilators. This group of manufacturing companies has been serving the global industrial marketplace with reliable instrumentation for over 85 years and can truly say they’re saving lives.
  • Alsana is a recovery community with five locations nationwide that focuses on total health and wellness in recovery from eating disorders and related conditions. High-stress environments can put more pressure on people who have struggled with eating disorders to relapse. Alsana’s clinics remain open and are now offering virtual intensive outpatient services, too.
  • Classic Automation supports critical manufacturing processes, such as pharmaceuticals, food & beverage, pulp & paper, and utilities. The demand for many of their products has increased dramatically and their dedicated team is putting in all the effort required to keep up.
  • Highlights for Children provides books, games, and activities that enrich and excite kids while they learn at home. If you have kids like we do, you know the challenge of keeping them stimulated while they are at home, especially when you are trying to get your own work done. Highlights supports a critical gap right now, especially for preschoolers and kindergartners.
  • Rexnord Corporation is pledging $1 million in hygienic products to healthcare facilities, in addition to providing supplies to first responders and healthcare organizations. Additionally, Rexnord Corporation is providing critical support to communities to help alleviate the urgent needs created by COVID-19. These efforts include: leveraging their manufacturing experience as part of the Milwaukee Task Force (Mask Force), which is working on redesigning and manufacturing scalable medical-grade N95-style respirators, as well as giving enhanced financial support to food pantries.

And to reiterate: The clients that have less of a direct role in dealing with COVID-19 response are providing incredibly important work. Educating students, customizing software, recruiting talent, delivering professional services—these are just a few of the ways they deliver value to their clients. In doing so, they are employing people and providing stability to so many beyond those they directly touch.

Digital Marketing & Advertising Resources

Our mission has always been about growth: growing our team, growing our clients, and growing our communities. In tough situations, it can simply be about surviving the rough patch.

It’s our duty right now to help as many people as we can, whether or not we have a paid relationship. To that end, we’re providing the following resources for marketing in times of crisis:

A Crisis Response Guide for Digital Marketing Activities

A key in making decisions, especially during challenging times, is to eliminate variables and get to the core of the issue. By removing questions, you can gain clarity and make sound, less emotional decisions that are likely to provide the best long-term results.

To aid in that process, we’ve put together the following infographic with five different scenarios you may be facing. You’ll see tips as well as the digital marketing and advertising tactics that may make most sense to you depending on how you classify yourself.

View below or click here to download the infographic.

digital marketing crisis response guide

As a business owner, I get the stress brought on by the responsibility of keeping things going. We approached this guide first from the standpoint of understanding business concerns, then diving into how to adjust your digital marketing and advertising strategy.

Communications During COVID-19: A Webinar Series

We’re huge fans of Jason Barnhart and the entire team at PRSA, the world’s largest communications association with over 30,000 members. So I wasn’t surprised when Jason told me they were putting together a three-part webinar series about how to handle communications in the wake of COVID-19, nor that they were making it free to all, including non-members.

But I was surprised — and incredibly honored — when he asked if I’d be interested in leading a session on Digital Communications During COVID-19 on March 27th. Lisa Arledge Powell of MediaSource shared her best practices for how to navigate the quickly evolving news media during the crisis.

prsa digital communications during covid-19

Over 1,500 people joined us for this webinar and we had some terrific questions. You can now listen live here.

Customized Feedback on Your Activities

We’ve put a lot of time and thought into the infographic guide as well as the webinar and hope you find them valuable.

Sometimes it’s helpful to actually talk with someone about the specifics of your situation. To aid in that regard, we are offering a free review of your current efforts with advice to navigate through these times.

I’m so concerned about this looking like we’re trying to capitalize on COVID-19, that we almost didn’t make this offer. We don’t want there to be any hesitation in utilizing our expertise during this situation, so we’re putting a process in place to ensure you won’t receive any sales pitches or future contact from us unless you specifically ask for it.

Interested in a conversation with our team about our advice for marketing in times of crisis? Here’s how it works:

  1. Request a complimentary digital marketing strategy consultation.
  2. A strategist from our office will arrange a 15-minute call to collect information about what you’re currently doing. You can provide access to your analytics or digital advertising platform if you desire at this time. (We’ll sign an NDA if you’d like.) We’ll set a time for a follow-up call.
  3. We’ll create a record in our database where we can share notes internally. Your record will be marked as Do Not Contact.
  4. We’ll review your efforts.
  5. One of our experts will contact you at the arranged time to provide recommendations.

That’s it. Unless you specifically ask about engaging with us, we won’t follow up with you. Same thing goes for email — you won’t be added to our newsletter list unless you ask to sign up or do so on your own.

Note: We will schedule these marketing in times of crisis consultations on a first-come, first-served basis.

Final Thoughts on Marketing in Times of Crisis

This is a tough time for everyone and some are enduring more hardships than you know. Take all necessary precautions. Stay positive. Be kind. We’ll get through this together.

With gratitude,


Full-Scope Online Marketing Services | justin-seibert-headshot

Written by Justin Seibert

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, AdAge, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

View Justin Seibert's Full Bio

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