How is everyone adjusting to COVID-19? It’s been a few weeks since our lives have really changed. Those first few weeks were used to make major changes to how many businesses did business. Whether it was taking their business online or unfortunately closing their doors and making alternative arrangements for their employees.
As many business owners are now looking at the future of their business, many of had to make a shift en-light of COVID-19 with more empathy and mindful marketing tactics. Many of the marketing campaigns that were scheduled may have be altered or even redone in order to accommodate social distancing measures or the current landscape.
How to be empathetic during a crisis
The biggest word we’ve seen over the last few weeks has been empathy. How can we as a business be more empathetic to our current and prospective customers. Here are some tips or thoughts on how you can approach your marketing strategy.
1. Adjust campaign schedules or content
Some businesses and brands are able to quickly alter their content calendar. Take Uncle Ben’s for example. They have been promoting cooking with kids for many years including easy to recipes to be done with your kids. But they took unique spin with a recent online ad that sees a father and daughter’s new routine at home including using a recipe that grandma sent and getting dressed up for dinner with grandma over Facetime. Many brands have made alternative arrangements rather than sell, sell, sell.
Here’s some things to consider:
- Review your content calendar and decide what should be paused or pushed back. Make sure what you are sharing now is appropriate for what is happening in the world. But it’s important to remember you don’t have to delete them completely and undo any work that you’ve done, just simply save them for a later date.
- Prioritize that could be sent out now and over the next few week or pivot your content in order to help your customers now. It’s important to consider and alter your campaigns that feature ‘get closer’ to ‘better support’ your customers.
2. Do you need to change your images or text
Images are very powerful – they always have been but we need to think of how that effect our customers now. Even some of the text we may have used may not be appropriate now.
Consider the following:
- Avoid photos that show larger crowds or people touching, this even applies to offices, stores and any social gathering outside the home
- Alter your marketing messages that many include ‘get closer’ or ‘get touch’. Although many of your customer may realize you’ve changes to your delivery, important to clarify.
This points are specifically important for your push content such as social media posts, campaigns, taglines, content and even email subject lines to customers.
3. Don’t use the Crisis as an Excuse
It doesn’t even have to be COVID, this rule should apply to any crisis that creates any sort of fear or change to our work.
- Now is the time to keep people informed about what is happening during the pandemic as we can’t do this with everyday walk in traffic to our stores. Be proactive and share what new measures are in place, store closures or even staff policy updates. These makes can be done through social media or even your business’s email newsletter. But keep in mind, not to make these too you-centric and lengthy.
- Don’t create any more alarm to the pandemic than their already is. We have news and TV for that.
- Keep your messaging thoughtful. Now is not the time to have major ‘ Hot COVID-19 sales’ that will drive people to your stores to purchase like Boxing Day or Black Friday.
4. Be Positive
We are bombarded with negativity around COVID-19, especially with daily case number and some businesses sharing that they have to close. Change the tone and create positive messaging if possible.
- Share your brand’s heart is a great way to bring customers inside of your business a little. Tell the human stories, share your emotions and your why.
- Being personable is another approach you can take as you don’t have to stripe the emotion of your brand just because there’s a crisis. Share the good, bad and the ugly if you feel that is what your brand can handle.
- If you have employees, get them involved too. Take your customers inside the world of your business and the faces they may see when they work with you. Share some favourites or employee backgrounds. If you have an employee who cares for all the store’s plants, have them share tips for maintaining them while away from the office. If you are doing virtual meetings, make them fun, take a picture and share with your following.
5. Importantly, share how you can help
Our businesses were created to provide value, no matter the day, no matter the circumstance. COVID-19 is no different, however how deliver our messaging during this stressful time is key. Think about how you can help, support, or enhances someone’s wellbeing during quarantine.
- Communicate how your product or service could help them. Does it give them something to do at home? Does it help them connect with others. Every business has a different way to help out, you just have to think about what your unique value is.
- Is there a way you can help the community during the pandemic? Maybe you are restaurant that has a surplus of veggies that can be donated to the homeless shelter. Maybe you are distillery that can take a break from producing brews and make hand sanitizer.
- Helping them now with content or a skill they can use later is also another way to help. Maybe it’s a new way to market their business? A course on how to better use social media? Way to inspire people stuck at home?
When focusing on how to help others, marketing doesn’t have to stop. Be considerate of how much patting yourself on the back you do though.
Let’s remember, quarantine and COVID-19 won’t be with us forever.
We don’t know how much longer we will be in quarantine but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Although, you probably were planning your business for the immediate change, you also need to think and be proactive about the future now.
With downtime, you can be productive to make adjustments to your business, develop that marketing plan and goals for the coming years, set reasonable budgets and ultimately be better prepared for the day when you can flip that open sign back around.
Let’s work together to grow in our new normal! Stay safe, Stay Healthy!