Effective marketing during a crisis requires tact.
Pushing product at struggling businesses will not make your brand memorable for the right reasons. Messages that share valuable information, insight or support your customers and suppliers, will.
Now more than ever, understanding your audience’s mindset and behaviour is critical to effective marketing. Chances are, your potential customers’ priorities have just drastically changed, and yours should too.
Top tip #1: Review your current/scheduled communications.
Are your messages still relevant? Do they feature activities which people can no longer do (gatherings, parties, etc)? Do they convey the right tone? Review all the messaging and visuals in your campaign. (Remember to include any automated funnels, as well as your website, social media posts, blogs and online advertising.)
Top tip #2: Empathise.
Regularly review how your target audience is feeling. As the situation changes, so does the mindset of your audience. What caught their eye a week ago, won’t today. What was appropriate last month, now isn’t. Being sensitive to your customers’ needs might even mean backing off in the short-term. If it’s not appropriate to call customers, industry forums and business groups on LinkedIn and/or Facebook are good sources of information.
Top tip #3: Use the time to tidy-up and prepare.
Have you been intending to update your website, but not quite got around to it? Had an amazing idea for a blog post, but not found the time to write it? Now’s your chance. Use this quiet period to tidy-up, prepare that campaign and devise your post-pandemic strategy.
Top tip #4: Stick to what you know.
You undoubtedly have valuable skills, knowledge, expertise and experience. People will continue to want your insight but stick to what you know – if you’re not a medical professional, don’t offer medical advice!
Top tip #5: Be generous.
There’s a time and place to be hard-nosed about business and this isn’t it. People make businesses, and people are worried, not just about becoming ill but about the long-term impacts this virus will have on the economy and their income. They will remember those brands that supported them, that went the extra mile and gave what they could when they needed it most.
Top tip #6: Stay positive.
Optimistic, light-hearted, fun content is being increasingly well received. People want a break from bad news and are looking for something cheery.
Going digital on a reduced budget
The communications landscape has shifted; face-to-face events including exhibitions and trade shows have been cancelled along with all the associated PR and marketing opportunities. The value of advertising in physical spaces has just fallen through the floor. On the flip side, the time people are spending online has risen dramatically so digital marketing is where it’s at.
Top tip #7: Spend strategically.
Recognise where you need professional support. There are many aspects of digital marketing that you can do yourself – activities like blogging, creating social media posts, for example.
Yes, a professional writer will draft more engaging copy, stay true to your brand’s voice and ensure a blog is optimised for search engines, but if it’s a choice between keeping your marketing going, or not, write the blog. Ask a colleague to sense-check and proof read it.
PPC advertising (like Google and Facebook Ads), on the other hand, can be a money pit if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Top tips #8: Repurpose printed marketing materials.
Provided your printed literature is respectful of the conditions we find ourselves in, it may be cost effective to repurpose some of the marketing collateral you’d originally designed to be printed. If you’re using them on social media, make sure you resize the images for each platform, enlist a graphic designer where you need to.
Top tip #9: Think about your offering – much can be done online.
A lot of businesses can pivot their services – from face-to-face point of delivery to an online format. If you offer consultancy or training, face-to-face advice, now would be a good time to look at how you can take your services online. There are lots of tools available from online learning platforms to livestreaming. It’s a long-term investment – there will be value in your online offering well after this crisis.
Continuing your marketing during these times will keep your brand visible. It’ll help maintain relationships with your target audience and demonstrate your company can be relied upon to be there in hard times.
Keep marketing but be sensitive to the changing emotions of your target audience. Above all, please stay safe and well.