It goes without saying that these are very unprecedented times for business and the world. Marketers are doing everything they can to keep their audience engaged and active while businesses try to figure out ways to resume “normal” operations.
As things are constantly changing and uncertainty is something we all collectively feel, it’s more important than ever that businesses appear reliable. Eliminating worry and risk from their potential customer’s minds should be the focus of any business right now.
It’s time for marketers to do what they do best – adapt and get creative. Below we look at ways in which marketers can make the most of a bad situation. At this time of extreme difficulty your audience will have a lot less distractions than usual. So if you have a message to say – now might be a good time to broadcast it to the masses.
Don’t Do The Obvious
The rule of thumb with many businesses about to experience a drop in sales or revenue is to halt all expenditure. Usually this means slashing the marketing budget, however, there’s many reasons why this is usually a big mistake.
Firstly, now is the best time to be advertising. Your competitors may be cutting their spending – but if you can afford it – this may be your chance to gain a percentage of the market share. In the automative and travel sectors, the market has been volatile in their response to the corona virus. To track the COVID-19’s effect on certain markets Microsoft have developed a COVID-19 insights & trends tool that may be your secret to success.
Secondly, with less noise in the market and people being cooped up at home, now may be the best time to scale up your marketing efforts. If you want to limit spending but still look at growth in the long-term – why not invest in content marketing to build SEO on your site? Setting up a blog with useful information people can use during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown is something many businesses are turning to right now.
Encourage Communication & Community Engagement
In a time of crisis, the first response of most people is usually to do their best to lend a helping hand. Along with providing a good or service, your business also needs to appear to be nurturing your relationships and creating a sense of community. Start off by asking yourself, “Has the COVID-19 pandemic effected the way in which people use my products or service?”
For example, say you sell IT equipment to consumers – people may need your products to aid working from home. You may decide to shift your operations & marketing to focus on this booming area – but ensure you put yourself in your customer’s shoes. A sudden shift to work at home constantly can be quite isolating – customers appreciate a feeling of connectivity right now.
Reaching out to ask how your customers are, what they need and assuring they are a priority can make all the difference. Showcasing that customers can connected with you effortlessly on different platforms during the pandemic is essential to upkeep business-customer relations.
Increase Transparency With Customers
It’s now more important than ever – to be transparent with your customers. Let’s be honest people are smarter than we give them credit – they can often sniff out the BS. Although it’s important to give reassurances audiences appreciate when you’re straight with them. The COVID-19 pandemic may be a very peculiar time but it’s also a period where people are the most understanding. Many recognise that lead times may be greater, services may be halted and you may not have all the answers.
Be sure that you communicate this but follow up with what you’re going to do about it. Your customers might not be happy but they’ll respect your brand for being authentic. You may not have all the answers right away but demonstrating you’re doing something about it is definitely better than guessing.
Trust between customers and brands is extremely fragile and maintaining that trust during the pandemic may be your marketing teams biggest challenge yet.
Offer Incentive and FREE Resources
Are you supporting your customers to the best of your ability? During times of hardship, kindness really shines through. Offering free trials of products or services is something people appreciated more then ever. Helping people through difficult times will certainly not go unrecognised when things begin to recover.
Think of all this as a sort of investment. How can your business help its customers during this time? Could you waiver membership fees for a certain length of time or help a specific group of your customer base? As long as you aren’t uprooting your long-term growth this is an important thing to focus on.
And, don’t be modest. Make sure that you’re constantly sharing what you’re doing about the pandemic. Again, communication is key.
Of course, some businesses will have to change completely depending on the service or products they offer. Anything involving face-to-face services will need to implement change for the future. If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has proved, it’s that things aren’t going to return to normal quickly. There will most likely be a teething period where lockdown eases and social distancing is implemented in every sector of business.
Has your business recognised the changes that need to be made? It’s all about discovering new ways to do business. Online appointments are booming right now and many businesses have embraced this change. Sitting by with closed stores waiting for the pandemic to pass by is certainly not the smartest solution. Pivoting how your business operates could be the key to surviving this period.
Offering Training and Virtual Experiences
Another way that we’re seeing businesses adapt is through offering training courses or educational tips. As unemployment in the UK skyrockets, people are looking to use their time in lockdown at home to learn new skills. This could be your opportunity to offer something new to potential customers.
There is also the option to offer your audience a virtual experience while they’re cooped up at home. Luxurious Spas are experimenting with virtual spa days while Music Festivals are presenting digital concerts & events.
For many businesses, instead of shutting down completely, they can offer people memorable experiences or skills, which is a great idea for lead generation.
During this time so many business decision markers will have a tough time deciding on the correct path for their business. Our advice is to evaluate the risks involved and make decisions based on whether the potential gains are worthwhile. It’s inevitable that one day we will all look back on this time and the choices we made. It’s up to us to do all we can to make sure we choose the right ones.