Posted on: March 31, 2020
In a handful of weeks, the Coronavirus situation has brought rapid and dramatic change to most people’s lives. Their worlds are not as they were a month ago. Whilst some businesses are incredibly busy, others have had to temporarily stop or pare back their operations to comply with the latest Government advice.
It’s a strange and unfamiliar landscape we now stare out at. But that shouldn’t stop businesses talking and remaining visible to their loyal customers and supporters.
Now, more than ever, people will need those they like, rate and value – even if that means accessing them ‘remotely.’
The best marketing and customer communications in the current climate are the ones which:
- respond quickly to the changing situation
- have empathy and a sensitivity at their heart
- have a genuine desire to help
The marketing plans and activities of the past few months are unlikely to still apply. In this article we’ve given some ideas of things it would be advisable to check and revise now. We’ve also shared marketing ideas to consider in the current climate.
Time to review….
Your ads – particularly long-running campaigns
If you have any ads booked online, in print or broadcast, do review the current content to avoid it being irrelevant and insensitive in the current situation. Consider:
- its messaging
- the tone of voice – do you now need to demonstrate more empathy?
- use of imagery – for example, respect the current social distancing people are having to adopt, avoid pictures of people in groups or in physical contact
- call to action – is it still right for your organisation’s current ways of working?
Where possible, replace current artwork/content with that more suited to the current situation. You can always revert back to your old campaigns, when thing return to normality. Don’t waste money on keeping ads running which will be ineffectual.
Any automated emails, messaging and chatbots
A lot of marketing has become automated in recent years. That automation was based on a time very different to the one people now face. Do check that the content, frequency and approach of your automated activities is still relevant and appropriate.
The messaging on your home page
This is particularly important if your business has had to adopt new ways of working or change its operations. If you haven’t already done so already, highlight to your customers what the new mode is in order to manage their expectations.
Don’t forget to update any published opening hours/information for your business on your business pages on Facebook, Google (My Business/ Maps) and online directories etc.
Your frequently asked questions
If your website or marketing materials feature a helpful guide to frequently asked questions, do review if they’re still relevant. There may be new questions, which are now more front of mind for your customers. Talk to your sales and customer support teams about the questions they are being asked and adjust accordingly.
Whether they’re part of your online (pay per click) campaigns or your website’s search engine optimisation, it is sensible to consider if there are any new keywords you now need to include. Or you may want to adjust campaigns for certain keywords, in favour of others.
Take a look at these for greater engagement with your audience…
Your website and social media analytics will show what’s resonated and what’s not in past weeks.
Examine which updates, posts and pages are proving popular and which less so. Do more of the popular ones and consider adding more timely content to the pages which are resonating. Also, consider adapting the content of pages which are now less relevant in the current situation.
Alternative ways of utilising your products, services and expertise
If you are one of the businesses who have been forced to dramatically change its operations in view of current Government advice, it is important to try and keep on your customers’ radars. When more normality returns this will help to ensure they haven’t forgotten you.
Consider any ways in which your products, services and expertise can still be utilised and add value in the new environment people are facing.
There have been some great examples of ingenuity already:
- A hairstylist publishing tutorial videos of ‘hair care and styling at home’
- Accountants and lawyers interpreting the Government’s latest advice and signposting to clients what this means and what to do
- Restaurants switching to delivered take-aways
- Training and coaching professionals running more webinars, online broadcasts and surgeries
Positive stories and examples
Government indications suggest the social distancing and lock-down measures are likely to continue for some time. People are craving positive content and messaging to help them get through this. So, think how you can (safely) boost the morale and wellbeing of your customers. What positive stories, messages and examples could you share? The more positive and supportive your communications, the more likely they’ll get noticed, followed and shared.
Think interactive media
With many people now working and playing online, interactive media – videos, podcasts, webinars and images – are being favoured over the written word. This was already happening before COVID-19 erupted and will only intensify as so many communications turn digital.
Think how you could utilise the technologies to your advantage. In doing so the phrases less is more, and quality over quantity are very relevant. Keep communications short and engaging to secure the greatest impact.
The new conditions businesses find themselves in are incredibly tough. This doesn’t mean you should adopt radio silence with your customers. Keep in touch with them and encourage online, social media or phone dialogue. This dialogue will help you to find out how they’re coping and identify ways to better support them.
Above all demonstrate empathy and that you genuinely care. This will ensure your efforts to keep on their radars are well-received. Do also keep reviewing your approach. What may be right today, may need to adapt tomorrow – things are changing that fast.
It is undoubtedly a difficult time for everyone, but it will pass. When it does, businesses will need to protect their customer base – so it is still there and hasn’t migrated to another provider/supplier. Adjust your marketing now to be agile to the current situation. Help your customers get through this.
If you need help or guidance on how to adjust your marketing and communications to the current situation, please do get in touch.