Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

COVID-19 FAQ for D2C Marketers

Angie Tran

Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

Topics Covered:

We know that as direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands and small businesses, there must be uncertainty and questions swirling around the future. While social distancing is crucial for public health and safety, it’s causing drastic changes to consumers’ behaviors. Fortunately, brands all over the globe are pivoting into digital-first strategies at warp speed and getting creative with their campaigns.

Below, you’ll find the Growth Guerilla Collective’s (GGC) most asked questions, along with answers and effective management strategies from our team of marketing experts. Consider this post a living and breathing FAQ for all of your burning questions — it’ll be updated on the regular as new ones come in. 

Should I stop media spend?

Rather than stop, take a step back and pay close attention to campaign performance and efficiency spending. It’s now more important than ever to remain top-of-mind with customers as they spend more time online. While stopping media spend might be your first instinct, you must be careful that this doesn’t have a negative impact on your purchase rates. For more information, read COVID-19 Marketing Impact: Should You Cut Your Advertising Budget?

Shoppers aren’t shopping for my product — what do I do?

It can be tempting to leverage third-party e-commerce platforms. However, it’s not worth handing over your customer data and relationships. Instead, you can:

  • Create partnerships so that both parties can use their respective assets and audiences to cross-promote one another to boost brand perception, build brand strength, and offer special promotions. 
  • Offer online discounts and promotions. 
  • Adjust your messaging so that it comes from a place of empathy. Brainstorm ways your brand and its products can show up and support them through these uncertain times.

For further reading, download our ebook: Tips for Acquiring and Retaining Customers Through Economic Change.

I have a brick and mortar, and no one is coming into my business. What should I do?

Whether your community is on a mandatory lockdown or customers are staying safe by self-quarantining, levels of foot traffic have significantly reduced. The good news is that we live in a digital age. With more people at home, they’re spending more time online. This presents a new opportunity: start a digital presence or strengthen your existing digital presence. 

My supply chain has been compromised, and I have no product to sell. What do I do?

The first thing that you should do is keep your customers in the loop. When your team has the appropriate response ready, send out an email. Communicate clearly (and often) as updates are being made. Consider creating a proactive press release that explains the situation in full, admits fault, and goes into detail around how you’ll make it up to them. Your customers are more likely to understand the company’s circumstances if you’re transparent. For more information, read Supply Chain Management: How to Navigate in a Crisis.

How do I address COVID-19 concerns that my customers are having?

Don’t be overly optimistic or pessimistic — be honest. Be as specific as possible with the steps you’re taking in response to the outbreak and what this means for customers. Send out updates as often as is needed to convey any significant changes. For messaging tips, read COVID-19 Messaging: Dos and Don’ts.

How can I engage customers with my brand in a fun and helpful way?

Everyone is stuck at home right now with little to do. They’re bored and are looking for entertainment, which means they're not only spending more time online — they're also more engaged with and open to having online experiences. Are there ways you can enable them to have a little fun with your brand in any of your digital marketing programs? Host fun Instagram live events, create an entertaining online quiz, host online ask-me-anythings (AMAs) with your brand's founder... now is the time to have a little and get creative! For more ideas, read How to Take Your Event Virtual: Lessons From CAB

People hear about coronavirus non-stop. How do I address the situation without adding to the noise?

Since the outbreak, people have been bombarded with emails — it’s starting to get noisy. Communicate with your audience about how your brand is managing COVID-19, but meet them where they already are (like on organic social or your website). 

Are there examples of small businesses that are pivoting well? 

Yes! Please note that we’ll continuously add to this list as more content comes along: 

Marketing Strategies: How Brands Are Pivoting During Hard Times

How Winning Brands Keep Winning in a Recession

We’re also developing additional content that dives deeper into ways that marketers can pivot by industry (along with more brand examples). More below. 

Are there blog posts that cover more industry-specific content and trends? 

Yes, there are — and the list is always growing! Please check out the following:

Online Education

How Online Education Brands Can Navigate the Coronavirus

Home and Garden

Home and Garden Brands: How to Pivot During Coronavirus

Health and Fitness

Health and Fitness Brands: How to Maneuver the Coronavirus

At-Home Fitness: 5 Lessons From Brands

How Wellness Companies Are Crushing COVID-19


How Finance Brands Can Navigate the Coronavirus Landscape

Online Grocers

Online Grocers: Massive Demand During the Coronavirus


How Furniture Brands Win in the Age of COVID-19


How Global Challenges Shape Consumer Trends

COVID-19 Articles: Marketing Resources for D2C Marketers

My brand is seeing a sales surge — how do I keep the momentum going?

It’s true that when an unusual global event strikes, some products are naturally going to be winners — and for little reason other than circumstance. Read more here for tactics on how to sustain an unforeseen topical surge.

How do I show customers my gratitude during these challenging times?

While you may no longer have the ability to connect with your customers face to face, there are many ways you can continue to strengthen your relationships by expressing your appreciation online. Read more here

Are there financial resources that small businesses can access?

Yes. You can check out a list of financial resources here.

You can also find out more about the new stimulus package, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and more here.

Note: If you need help with your PPP applications, we’ve partnered with Womply to help you fast-track your Paycheck Protection loan. Funds will be replenished soon, but in the meantime, here's additional reading on next steps (and what you can do if you don't receive funding).

How can I support small businesses?

As a global community, we can support these one-of-a-kind brands by buying directly from their e-commerce stores. We’ve compiled a list, organized by category, of D2C brands for you to browse here.

For additional reading around how your business can prepare for a new normal, download your copy of Tips for Acquiring and Retaining Customers Through Economic Change.

Explore Next

Topics Covered: