Authentic and Effective Marketing in a Pandemic
How do you market in the midst of a Coronavirus pandemic that is uprooting all sense of normalcy across the globe? Especially when the response is a massive call for social distancing, which is the exact opposite of what we generally strive to achieve?
Start with some deep breaths. Recognize that with the shifting landscape, there is a need to pivot and adapt our strategies. That is something we should always be doing, but now is a time to do it more rapidly – on a daily if not an hourly basis at least for the near term.
While everything around is changing, some things remain the same. You need a plan and a strategy and you need to focus on what’s important to your customers.
This is an especially challenging time for those who rely on customers coming to their businesses and who can’t switch to online sales. Think about where you want to be after this crisis subsides and work backward. You can still stay in touch with customers and set yourself up for later.
In the near term, think about what your client needs to hear from you right now. Use social media channels, blogs and emails to let them know how you are responding to the crisis and what it means for them. Are you suspending business? Changing how you do business? What are you doing to protect your staff? If they have problems, how can they reach you?
Set up a plan for how you will move forward with customer outreach. What events will trigger a new round of communication? How often should you reach out so that you are providing enough information without overwhelming your audience? Set the expectations with your team about how often you will check-in and review the plan.
Proceed cautiously. Make this about your customers, not about you. This is not about exploiting the crisis, it’s about maintaining your commitment to a high level of customer service regardless of the circumstances. Authenticity matters now more than ever.
Beyond the Buyer Persona
We start our marketing strategies with a deep dive into the customer profile, what we like to call the buyer persona. When you’re done, you should know everything about the typical customer from where they went to school to how often they brush their teeth. Recognize what’s happening to those people right now.
They’re probably on a roller coaster of emotions and they’re certainly facing challenges. They’re likely overwhelmed with the disturbing news that stirs up uncertainty. They’re likely scrambling like everyone else trying to make sense of it all and figuring out what to do in their daily lives.
Where do you fit in with that? What do your clients need from you now? How can you help them? What changes do you need to make in your approach and messaging? Take a step back and reevaluate what you have.
Next Steps for Longterm Growth
Now is not the time to pull back or slow down. Quite the opposite. Now is the time to think long-term and pushing through the challenges so you will come out stronger and better-equipped as the crisis subsides.
Once you’ve addressed the immediate concerns, it’s time to think about what you will do over the coming weeks and months – especially if your plans hinged around face-to-face meetings and tradeshows that have been canceled for the foreseeable future.
Since everyone will be spending more time online, now is a great time to review your online presence and make revisions or add to it. Have you been thinking of setting up online sales? Now would be a good time to get that figured out.
As you’re looking at your long term strategy, think about how people will find you and how you will connect with them. Set up forms to make it easy for people to contact you and set up a system to collect emails so you can stay in touch with people.
If you want to talk over your strategy, reach out now for a consultation.