Coronavirus Marketing Strategy Checklist for Small Businesses

It’s an unusually scary time for small enterprises because COVID-19 has disrupted operations worldwide. Every business has reacted differently to the crisis; some have suspended their business temporarily while others have transitioned to remote work until further notice.

Although everyone is trying to do their part in limiting the spread of the virus, the fear of going out of business is running high. While the impact of the pandemic has been devastating, small business owners can pivot their business strategy to save costs and retain customers to survive.

It’s important to steer your marketing strategy to align with COVID-19-relevant business goals that understand the evolving needs of consumers in the pandemic. Don’t neglect your marketing efforts, in fact, invest more in them to ensure customers you’re still operational.

To make sure you’re on the right track, we’re going to share a marketing strategy checklist that can help small businesses survive the consequences of the pandemic.

1.    Evaluate Your Marketing Budget

All businesses have taken a major hit by the pandemic, they have had to make adjustments to their normal operations to survive this challenging situation. Most importantly, various reductions are being made in finances such as the marketing budget so business owners can focus on the core business.

However, we suggest that you change your marketing strategy instead of abandoning it completely; shift towards the more affordable and effective digital marketing practices. Small businesses depend on the patronage of loyal customers for survival, and online promotional activities help them maintain their customer base.

2.   Invest and Shift To Digital Marketing

With the pandemic confining everyone to their homes, most businesses have become digital. Such is the case for small enterprises as well. If you wish to retain customers and engagement, then investing in digital marketing is a must. It is apparent that consumers are spending the majority of their time online, so it only makes sense for business owners to transition to an online storefront.

If your business already has an online presence, then now’s the time to sharpen your efforts and optimize your media so prospects can easily access your services online and support your business. Small businesses can use digital marketing in the following way:

* Tell their customers that they are open for business
* Inform customers about e-commerce and home delivery options
* Engage with consumers and reassure them during this crisis
* Provide useful information to consumers regarding changes in business timing, delays, and changes in policies
* Provide consumers information on how they can help keep the business operational, e.g., buying merchandise and buying coupons and gift cards, etc.

Other online marketing techniques include:

  • Improve SEO

More and more people are using the internet to shop or search for information; therefore, businesses must optimize their websites or blogs to boost visibility on search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a multi-layered process that helps improve the ranking of your content in search results to generate more quality leads.

There are many components to consider when implementing effective SEO, such as off-page SEO, on-page SEO, local SEO, etc. The collaborative application of these techniques helps improve the searchability of your digital media so customers can locate your services easily.

Local SEO is especially effective for small businesses because people are searching for services near them. Optimizing your webpages for local SEO will help potential customers find you with ease. Carpet cleaning Westminster, a professional cleaning business in the UK, reports that they have observed a 15% increase in local traffic since they implemented SEO.

  • Stay Active On Social Media

 Many global brands and businesses harness social media networks to upholster their audience reach, identify their interests, and build rapport with their customers. With the world isolated at home, everyone has turned to social media to connect to the outside world.

Social media is how people are keeping up with and supporting their favorite businesses. Thereby, small business owners must invest their time in creating a positive online presence even if they have closed doors to the public temporarily.

Moreover, businesses can use social media to assess the needs of their target audience and figure out the most effective way to pivot their services to the current requirements of consumers. An active and thriving presence on social media, where users can find top-quality content that is relevant to the world’s circumstances and offers some value, will stay at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Small enterprises that use this time as an opportunity to pledge their support and camaraderie with their customers will have a stronger bonding even after things go back to normal.

3.   Prioritize Existing Customers

What can you do to put your business at the front of your audience’s minds? Is what you’re doing enough? How can you improve your services to better cater to their needs? Do you understand what they need from your business right now? When carving a marketing strategy that is relevant to the pandemic, ask yourself these questions, so you know where you’re headed.

You might not be able to welcome your customers to your physical stores, but that doesn’t mean you can’t demonstrate you have their best interests at heart and generate qualified leads. At this time, customers are incredibly understanding and supportive of how businesses operate to protect their employees and consumers.

However, there are a few considerate ways businesses can build reinforce relations with existing customers:

* Reach out to loyal customers directly and notify them of any significant business updates.
* Expand your reach by using different channels to make sure your messages are received.
* Establish with them that their interests are top priority, and you will do your maximum to address those needs.

4.   Maintain Transparency

During this time of extreme uncertainty, brands and businesses must be honest and forthcoming with their followers about what’s happening in the business. Whether you’re closing doors temporarily, limiting your operational hours, or only offering doorstep delivery – it’s necessary to notify your audience of these decisions, so they feel involved.

You can post this on your website, share it on social media channels, or put up a sign outside of your physical store. Additionally, keeping your customers updated with your business operations is also important. If there are any notable changes in your procedures, let them know via e-mail, text, or social media.

Any information that can be useful for followers, who are interested in your business and products, should go on your digital media, so they’re aware of what’s going on. This includes cancelations of PR events, promotional shows, etc. that involve large gatherings, should be posted on your socials, so customers know to stay at home and practice social distancing. The point is to get their attention and to keep them in the loop at all times so they know what’s happening with your business.

Wrapping Up

When re-evaluating your marketing strategy, make sure you execute all changes appropriately so your business can get back on track when the economy reopens. It should reflect the needs and requirements of customers that speak to our current reality while allowing you to gauge their reactions and gather actionable insights.

GTS Translation Steps Up to Assist in COVID-19 Clinical Studies

GTS is Offering a 15% Discount on Translation Services Related with COVID-19 Clinical Studies. Please use Coupon Code COVID19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already taken the lives of over 320,000 people out of nearly 5 million confirmed cases of the deadly virus. So it should come as no surprise that the entire pharmaceutical and healthcare industry is desperately trying to develop a cure, like a vaccine, or at least a drug that will inhibit some of the more deadly symptoms of the virus. The National Institute of Health (NIH) website Clinical Trials website lists over 1,600 clinical studies which are being conducted at this time.

Will a vaccine be found soon? Everyone hopes so and many politicians and visionaries worldwide (like Bill Gates) are predicting as much. But nobody really knows if and more importantly when such a cure will be found. Here is a list of the most hopeful COVID-19 therapies being developed at this time.

I am proud to say that our company, GTS Translation Services, has been assisting many companies in their efforts to find a cure for COVID-19. We are doing this by translating clinical trial documents and translation of informed consent forms into various languages. Here are some of the projects that we have recently done:

* Rutgers University: Fecal studies on COVID-19 patients
* BioMedomics: Instructions for Use (IFUs) for COVID-19 IgM/IgG Rapid Test Kits
* Duke University: Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Biospecimen and Data Repository research study informed consent form.

Proven Track Record in Translation for Clinical Research Studies

GTS is one of the leading providers of certified medical translation services for clinical trials and clinical research. Customers include leading pharmaceutical companies, CROs, hospitals and University medical research centers. This includes NYU Langone, UCLA Geffen, Johns Hopkins, University of Connecticut, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and many others. We have translated hundreds of informed consent forms, clinical protocols and clinical study agreements. Our quality process is compliant with the ISO 17100:2015 standard. When required by your IRB, we also provide medical back translation and validation.

In the USA, many clinical study documents are translated into Spanish, due to the large Spanish-speaking population in the US. Clinical study documents, especially informed consent, must be available to the participants in their own language. Other languages that are common in the US are Vietnamese and Chinese. GTS translates clinical trial documents in over 50 languages including Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, all Asian languages and all Scandinavian languages.

How to redeem your 15% discount

To help the efforts to find a cure for coronavirus, GTS is extending a 15% discount on all translation services related with COVID-19 clinical trials. To redeem the discount:

1. Get an online price quote for translation services on the GTS website.
2. Once the quote is displayed, click Order Now.
3. In the GTS Payment window, insert coupon code COVID19 into the Coupon Code field and click the Coupon Code button. Confirm that the 15% discount is applied and that the discount price is displayed (as shown below).
4. Complete the order.

Slowing economy drops the hammer on translation prices

Translation services are experiencing a drop in demand due to the slowing of the economy and rampant unemployment in most of the world economies. Entire industries have been nearly shut down, causing translation companies that serve in these sectors to run for cover. This is especially true in the following industries which are international in nature and therefore drive demand in the translation business.

Travel and Hotels. Nobody is traveling today and many hotels are shut down.  It is estimated by the World Tourism Organization that international tourism could fall as much as 80%.

Airlines and Aerospace. This industry is responsible for the employment of thousands of translators, directly and indirectly. Airlines are mostly shut down and losing billions. Aerospace companies like Boeing and Airbus are hemorrhaging.

Retail.  Large US retailer J Crew last week declared bankruptcy. This is one of possibly many more retail giants in the US and worldwide that are anticipated to go bankrupt or even go under.

Automotive.  It is estimated that new car sales can drop as much as 50% and even more. There are many translation companies that specialize in translation for the automotive industry and these translation agencies are hurting.

Movie and entertainment industry. Disney, one of the leading companies in the entertainment industry, lost a whopping $1.4 Billion in Q1 of 2020. Production of movies has halted, leaving translators that create subtitles, voice-overs and dubbing out of work.

Conventions and trade fairs have been cancelled or at least postponed. These events typically drive demand for translation services due to their international nature.

With most courts of law shut down, many court interpreters are out of work now.

Many freelance translators are being threatened with their very existence. The good news is that many countries are providing loans to freelances to soften the impact of COVID-19.

So what is all of this doing to professional translation services rates? It is obviously driving prices down. Lower demand in many industry segments leaves more translators and translation companies competing for a piece of the shrinking pie.

Some companies are offering translation at very low prices in order to retain both their workforce and customers alike. Day Translations, which is a large LSP, is offering a rate of $1 per minute for Spanish interpretation services. This is considerably lower than the standard rate of $80-$120 per hour.


Another company, Translation Services USA, has dropped prices by 50% due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are a buyer, great deals available

If you are in the market now for translation services, you can probably get a better deal by negotiating with multiple vendors. Some companies are desperate for business which means you may get a very good deal professional translation services.




In the COVID-19 Era, Disinfectants and Hand Sanitizers Safety Data Sheets are being Offered Free of Charge

COVID-19 has caused a spike in the manufacture and supply of hand sanitizers and disinfectants. You don’t need a market study to learn this. Is there any home or business in the world now that isn’t stocked with hand sanitizing alcohol gel?

Hand sanitizers were made famous in a meeting in 2008 between then President George W. Bush and then President-elect Barack Obama. Bush reportedly told Obama that when you shake as many hands as a he did, use of a hand sanitizer is necessary to prevent catching colds.

Professional in protective suit holding chemical sprayer and other equipment for decontamination of COVID-19 virus

But now, with COVID-19, everyone is using hand sanitizers. Disinfectants too. As many states in the USA and countries around the world  get back to normal, all public areas are being sprayed with some form of disinfectant.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be classified as hazardous chemicals. Some hand sanitizers may contain ethanol and isopropanol, which are flammable liquids and can also cause severe eye irritation, and hydrogen peroxide which is corrosive to the skin and eyes. Disinfectants can also be classified as hazardous chemicals. So when manufacturing and shipping these materials, Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are required.

The good news, if you are a manufacturer or supplier or disinfectants and/or hand sanitizers, is that some groups have stepped up and are offering SDS for free. And even in different languages. Here are some links that can get you started:

* Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is offering free SDS for hand sanitizers in English and other languages.

* The Australian government offers a complete set of guidelines, including SDS, for companies and persons involved in the manufacture and supply of alcohol-based hand sanitisers.

* U.S. EPA Adds 70 Products to Disinfectant List for Use Against COVID-19

* Products registered in New York State for Use against COVID-19

If you are actively involved in the manufacture and/or supply of related COVID-19 disinfectants, GTS can help you translate SDS into any required language.

Related reading:

How to make your own hand sanitizer

Coronavirus drives demand for translation services



Google My Business Suspends Service due to COVID-19

Google My Business service has been suspended due to COVID-19. I learned this when some of our customers tried to leave online reviews which were not published by Google. I find this to be most distressing. Online businesses, such as GTS Translation, rely on online reviews for their living. Leaving a client testimonial can help other customers make good online buying decisions and is a valuable service to the public. We relied on Google for this service and now it appears that our trust was misplaced. Notwithstanding the COVID-19 crisis. I would expect an online service to have no major disruptions. Especially Google. Especially in times of crisis.

Can you rely on Google? Should you?

Which leads to another observation, rooted in extreme concern. My Business is not the only Google service that we rely on. We use Gmail for our email service. What if Google were to announce a discontinuation of Gmail service due to COVID-19? We’d be up the creek. Google Docs? Android? The list is long. And Google Search? Are the results that Google displays less accurate now due to COVID-19?

Cost Cuts? Or Bailout?

Which leads to another question: are these disruptions really on account of COVID-19? Or is Google experiencing a loss in revenues which is causing them to throttle some services? Or perhaps one day in the future, Google will ask the US government for a cash infusion. Similar to other essential industries like airlines and auto makers. Is Google and the other online companies any less essential? I would think that this would be good leverage for Google in a negotiation with the federal government.

Time to consider other alternatives?

Google is amazing! They rolled out so many free services which have become part of who we are, part of how we operate in our daily lives. Want to go to a movie? Google it and find out where it’s showing. Fancy something to eat? Google it. Vacation plans, fix something in the house? Google. Want to hear music? Youtube (which is owned by Google). Email? on the house. Maps? same thing. Free translation. No problem.

Of course nobody is naive enough to think that Google is doing this just for the good of mankind. Google is a business and they are out to make money. Which is great (at least to this capitalist). Google provides the free services as hooks to make money selling value-added or premium services. Which is again fine, no complaints here. But is it fair for them to discontinue a services that millions of people have come to rely on? The answer is no, but since when is life fair? It is perfectly within their rights to do discontinue any service as they see fit.

Which leads me to thinking. Maybe it is not smart to rely too heavily on a free service which is here today, gone tomorrow. Maybe we should be spreading our eggs into more than one basket.

Other  review platforms

There are a number of other online review platforms such as Trustpilot. They have been after us for a while to order their service. As far as I know, they did not discontinue service due to COVID-19. Maybe it’s time to consider them.

See also:

Top Sites for Translation Company Reviews

Preparing for recession: How can LSPs weather the coronavirus storm?

Welcome global recession. We weren’t expecting you and you are not welcome in our house. But it looks like we have no choice and you are here to stay for a while.

The coronavirus has already put many people out of jobs and we are just at the beginning. Many more people will be out of work. That means less spending by consumers and businesses. The stock market is in bear territory and the net worth of many people has shrunk dramatically. Shrinking budgets will become the norm in corporations worldwide. And this situation will probably last well after the coronavirus crisis is solved.

How does an LSP prepare for the recession?

It appears that many industries will be impacted by this recession. Some more than others. Since the translation and localization industry is primarily a B2B type of operation, it will undoubtedly be impacted by the recession. So how to prepare for this? Here are some of my thoughts on this topic.

Time to downsize

Many LSPs, such as GTS Translation, are built around a small permanent staff and many temporary staff (i.e. freelance translators). These small LSPS will be better equipped to handle the recession. Large LSPs with large staffs will not fair as well and will regrettably have to terminate some of their staff. As an LSP owner/manager, you will need to trim the fat (figuratively of course).

The same goes for suppliers such as marketing consultants. SEO experts, CPC budgets, industry conference expenses, advertising agencies. These expenses may be expendable in times of recession.

Time to call in the markers

Now would be a good time to focus on receivables. Recession means a cash shortage with a trickle-down effect. If your customers owe you money, now would a good time to collect and keep a war-chest to weather the storm.

Time to diversify

As I mentioned previously, some industries will be impacted more than others. Airlines and aerospace companies, for example, will be decimated. If you are an LSP serving this industry, you are in deep sh!t. Consider moving your offerings to other industries. For example, online gaming companies should be doing very well now. Pharmaceutical companies should go relatively unscathed. Try to find industries which are working well even in times of recession and adapt your sales strategy accordingly.

Time to lower prices

With shrinking budgets and the ever-increasing competition that is inevitable in a recession, consider making your price points more attractive. A lower profit is better than shuttering the doors of the business you worked so hard to build up.

Time for patience

Things are bound to improve. Patience is required to weather the storm. Of course it helps if you have deep pockets and can sustain your business in times when orders are few and far in between. Following the points mentioned previously about reducing your expenses will help.

Time to invest in automation

The industry is shifting towards automation, with human-assisted machine translation becoming a staple. If you are not involved in this activity, and if you have some budget that you can allocate in this direction, consider developing new offerings around PEMT. It will help you come out of the recession stronger, and will also help you lower your prices.

Time to go

If you have any other ideas which you think are useful, please let us all know. We are all in this together and hopefully we will get back to normal soon.


Should LSPs be using the coronavirus to drum up business?

In the last 2-3 days, we are getting dozens of emails from Language Service Providers (LSPs) who are using the Coronovirus as an excuse to spam potential clients and push their services. Here is an example:

Dear business partners,

Despite various restrictions and quarantine measures, we operate as usual. Our technologies enable complete home-office for our project managers, translators, editors, DTP staff and other production team members. So, if you have any jobs in CEE languages, we are ready to help you.

You can be sure that even with further and even more restrictive measures (including complete quarantine), we will be able to operate without any restrictions and meet our obligations to our clients.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time at [email protected] We are available on working days from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CET.

In the meanwhile stay healthy. We believe that this situation will disappear soon and everything will return back to normal.


I find this practice to be not only annoying, but also stupid. If you want to send an email to your customers who have opted-in to your mailing list, that’s one thing. But harvesting emails on the web and spamming people to say that your LSP is working like usual during this time of crisis? Chutzpah! And the chances of getting any business from these spam blasts is ZERO. Because business is slowing down in many industries anyway. Companies probably don’t have the stomach now for international expansion, especially with most countries in the western world having shut down their borders.

Should you send email blasts to your mailing list?

I am not sure that this is effective either. The whole world is engulfed in the coronavirus crisis and people are running scared for their lives. Do you think people need another reminder about the coronavirus from their LSP? Being the bearer of bad news will usually not win you any brownie points.

Using coronavirus as a selling tactic in social media

This is another variation on the email blast. Here is an example from one of the world’s largest LSPs.

I actually think that this kind of message is much more tactful. Offering free service in times of crisis is thoughtful and cloaks the come-on in an altruistic gesture which may be appreciated by the buying public.

Here is a tweet by SDL, another very large LSP.

I actually like this tweet a lot less than that of Lionbridge. Because what is the big news that SDL is announcing? That they are open for business? It’s pretty obvious that they are even without the superfluous tweet. A large company like SDL has account executives that can contact the major clients and reassure them personally. The tweet frankly looks like, in my opinion, as a way to hitchhike on a world crisis in order to drum up business.

The bottom line

Don’t use the coronavirus in your marketing efforts. It is tactless and won’t get you any new business. If you have a special offer that can truly benefit your clients in times of trouble-then pitch it. Otherwise, don’t.

See also:

Coronavirus drives demand for translation services


Coronavirus drives demand for translation services

The entire world seems to be consumed these days with the hysteria around the coronavirus outbreak. And for good reason. Thousands are already dead and the outbreak seems poised to wreak havoc throughout the entire world.

US President Trump has issued a travel ban, basically cutting off travel between Europe and the USA.  According to Germany’s Chancellor Merkel, as many as 70% of Germany’s population may become affected by the virus. World markets have come crashing down as many businesses and people are likely to lose their livelihood. Entire industries will be decimated. This includes airplane manufacturers, airlines, hotels, travel companies, restaurants and more. And they are talking about cancelling the Tokyo Olympics, which would be a financial catastrophe for Japan.

Demand for professional translation services not negatively impacted

But as sad as that may be for many industries, it appears that the demand for professional translation services is not being negatively impacted by the outbreak.  And indeed it may even be driving even higher demand for translation service. First of all, translation is probably one of the biggest types of work-from-home small businesses. Translators and project managers can work from the safety of their home and do not have to be overly concerned about getting the virus.

More online and written communication required

Additionally, with international air travel being seriously impaired, many businesses are using written communication to replace human contact. The increased demand for online services of every kind, due to the imposed quarantines and travel bans, means that companies will be spending more money to get their content translated into various languages.

We have been feeling this at GTS. One of our customers, West Valley Community Services (WVCS), has been translating a wide range of notices into Vietnamese, Traditional Chinese, Russian and Spanish. Another GTS customer, the US District Court of Hawaii has published notices in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Tagalog.

What others are saying

Here are two tweets that I have seen today on this topic. So far over 40 translators and agencies have commented on Twitter on how they are getting orders for translation services due the coronavirus. And it appears that this trend will only grow in the coming weeks and months.

We’re all in this together!

Everyone is praying that coronavirus goes away. Hopefully, the demand for translation services will remain strong but only for healthy and happy reasons!