How to Market to Consumers At Home

You aren't the only business owner trying to figure it out, but here are some ways to get started.

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By Jennifer Spencer

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Even when the country starts opening up in earnest, people may continue staying at home more often out of an abundance of caution. The nationwide shutdown has necessitated some creativity for business owners, who must pivot their marketing efforts. How does your product or service serve your consumer when they're at home? How can you alter your marketing message to meet them where they are now?

It will look different for every company, but a good first step is to consider your target-customer alias and what they're currently doing at home. What are they looking for that will fill their time or meet one of their new needs? Then, go from there creatively. Don't be afraid to try out numerous different creative marketing ideas, because this is unprecedented territory. You aren't the only business owner trying to figure it out, but here are some ways to get started on your new marketing tactics.

1. Demonstrate how your product or service can be used at home

Depending on what your product or service is, you may need to think outside the box in how your consumer can use it at home. For example, if you sell shoes or something that has to do with being outside, some creativity is necessary. Can you use your social media channels and repost pictures of your customers wearing your shoes while walking the dog? Can you turn it into a quirky marketing message, like, "Shoes so comfortable you can wear them inside"?

Remember that humor will make you stand out and stay top of mind. According to research by Chegg, 80 percent of college students remember ads that make them laugh. Most of us do. It's what we send to our friends and family members or share on our Twitter feeds. Even if your marketing idea is a stretch, see what you can do. One note here: Also make sure that your humor isn't tone deaf, since these are serious times of hardship. But a dose of good, creative humor goes a long way.

Related: 3 Signs Your Brand Isn't Telling a Winning Story (and How to Fix Things)

2. Use celebrities and influencers for marketing

One perk of the stay-at-home decree: Celebrities and influencers are at home and have more time than ever for sponsored posts. Now is the moment to reach out to that ideal influencer or celebrity and ask them to represent you online. Josh Elizitxe, the CEO of SNOW at-home whitening kits, scored influencer deals with UFC fighter Chuck Liddell and Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski. Specifically, the photos show Liddell and Gronkowski using the product at home.

"It sparks an idea in a potential customer's mind: that they too should use the product during their time at home," notes Elizitxe, who adds that his company has seen a 240 percent spike in sales since Liddell and Gronkowski posted. "These celebrities already have established trust with their followers, which makes the followers more likely to buy."

When approaching influencers for your ad campaigns, make sure to give plenty of creative direction. And luckily, since everyone's at home, that's where the celebrity or influencer will have to take their picture or video anyway.

3. Host live streams on social media

After social distancing guidelines were put into place, the whole world went virtual. The resulting hybrid between the virtual realm and in-person is best typified by the live video function on social media platforms. Live streams have been used for everything from live yoga classes from CorePower to live concerts from musicians like Chris Martin and John Legend. How can you get involved? Aim to go live at least once a week, and use this opportunity to come up with an idea for a daily or weekly series related to your product.

Now is a great time to start to build a better relationship with your customers. They're at home, bored and on their phones. They might as well be learning from or hearing from you on live video. Host giveaways, bring on guests, and as always, keep the content related to your product.

For example, if your product is a protein powder, bring on athletes to talk about their pre-workout routines. Offer health-centered content or fun protein shake recipes. Or, if your product is a coaching program, bring on past students or experts in your industry for live Q&As. Let your followers get involved by asking questions so they feel like they're there, too.

4. Post entertaining content

Instead of constantly selling to your followers on social media with posts that say things like, "Buy now," post content that entertains your audience and has them searching for your updates in their feeds, at which point they will begin to purchase your product and even become advocates for your brand.

One brand that's mastered this concept is Death Wish Coffee. I recently noticed how their edgy posts and dark humor have built a highly engaged community of buyers online without hardly ever doing any direct selling on social media. I reached out to their marketing manager, Shannon Sweeney, to find out the secret sauce behind their posts.

"Ever since we started in 2012, we've appealed to the sarcastic, cynical, coffee-drinking community," Sweeney says. "Our content reflects our brand values and gives our community a voice. It reveals what you're secretly thinking before you even know it."

Related: 10 Influencer Marketing Trends to Keep Your Eye On

As you go along, notice what's working well and what could be performing better. Thankfully, due to social media reports, it will be straightforward to track which marketing efforts are yielding the best results. Everyone needs to be flexible, adaptive, and innovative right now. Prove to your customers that you are always there for them, and market to them where they live.

Jennifer Spencer

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

CEO of Energent Media

Jennifer Spencer is the founder of Energent Media, a digital marketing firm for tech startups. She is passionate about helping brands leverage content to share their stories with the world.

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