5 Effective marketing strategies in a time of crisis
The Coronavirus outbreak in the UK has had a major effect on the business sector and every industry. Companies have been forced to shut down offices, factories and having to sort work-from-home arrangements for employees. Some have had to resort to simply running with a skeletal workforce.
Regardless of what actions have been taken, virtual meetings have quickly now become the new normal, as individuals and teams connect together in video conferences. Mostly, the topic of these online conversations is how to engage clients and customers despite the social distancing and lockdown factors that are preventing nearly everyone from running a normal business operation in the current climate.
With that considered, it’s crucial to have a strong marketing strategy now more than ever. As we are now living in very uncertain times there is a need for better business plans. Many businesses will have suffered immediately from this situation, loss of revenue in the region of 70%+ is not uncommon at this moment in time.
With that, consider including these 10 strategies in your marketing strategy plan to survive, even thrive, in this pandemic or any other crisis for that matter:
What to post? Content and context
- Know your audience – think of their needs
Everyone is anxious over these uncertain times, it’s natural. Everyone will have been affected in some way. First and foremost, they are concerned about their health. What if they catch the infection, how are they going to deal with no income if they have to self-isolate or maybe worse.
At the same time, they are fearful for their daily survival: how they can keep their cupboards stocked? What if they lose their jobs? How they’re going to pay for bills? and many more. This is the perfect opportunity to look for ways to meet the real needs of your audience.
If your business is in the finance industry, consider producing regular content about protecting money during this Covid-19 crisis. If your business is in the food sector, give tips on how consumers can prolong the shelf life of food items. The bottom line is, anticipate their needs and from there, address them one by one.
Content is King
2. Focus on being personal
It may feel like it’s tough to put a human touch on services, with social distancing & effective lockdowns being observed everywhere. However, it is possible to be personal with clients even on digital platforms. The key, as always, is authenticity in the marketing strategy.
Produce video content, sharing how you as a team have been coping with the crisis yourselves and what your plans are in protecting your clients and consumers. This way, your audience would see that there are real, equally vulnerable people behind your strong, professional brand, and would likewise feel that they’re cared for.
3. Tweak your language and imagery
As well as the topics and tone of the content is vital. Ultimately the t text and visuals you use in any messaging should be chosen very carefully before they become part of the marketing plan. Here are some reminders when reviewing your content:
1. Avoid using puns or headlines that link to the crisis. Under normal circumstances, ‘hot spring fever sale’ sounds very tempting to draw people in. However, it’s not very tactful to use it during a time when people are literally getting sickly, fatal fevers. Think about the language you use.
2. Rephrase other common terms. Replace phrases like “keep in touch” or “drop by the store” as these won’t be relevant now. Replace with subscribe to the newsletter or visit our online store (if you have one) be a little softer with the messaging.
3. Drop visuals and images that show close, physical interaction. Images of social gatherings are likewise not as relevant as they should be right now. Be more choosey when selecting images at this moment in time.
Social media – more, more, more
4. Educate or entertain when posting on social media
Most of the people you will be trying to talk to will now be in their own homes, dealing with the fact that they now have a lot more time on their hands now. They are more likely to be on their phones or tablets, surfing the internet, using social media and chat apps. . Make their time online worthwhile by giving them meaningful content. Provide them with either education or entertainment.
A simple and highly effective marketing strategy would be to offer health related content on your Facebook page, Talk about basic hygiene, reminders about social distancing, when people can and should go outside etc.
While you may not be in the healthcare sector, or have any real healthcare credibility, this “off-brand” content is acceptable, as people would want to keep themselves informed about the virus. Use different media, such as photos, gifs, and videos. As always, cite credible sources. If you want to keep content brand-related, do it with tact and empathy in mind.
As for entertaining posts, maximize interactive content that will engage your audience, Polls are a good choice. Ask them what their top lockdown grocery essentials, top exercise tips, top songs they are listening to or maybe how they’re coping with the lockdown situation
5. Create a social media group
Social media is now a given in every marketing plan, don’t just settle for settle for a winning business page or fan page. Think about the first tip: know your audience. People are not able to go out and engage in the personal way we would all like to at the moment. So with that in mind, they will almost certainly be craving for some sort of community engagement. If you can provide that sense of fellowship and belongingness, then engagement with your customers and clients will increase. One effective way to provide that experience is to create your own social media group.
It will be better if the group is created around the lifestyle or advocacy your brand represents, rather than the brand itself. People don’t like to be sold to, especially during a time of crisis. However, they will most definitely support your finance company if you give them exclusive advice on how to best use their money during the crisis, or a garage giving them advice how to look after their car during this time, or a builder providing insight in to how best to do small DIY jobs.
Times are changing, normal will be a lot different to what it was before and so should your marketing strategy. Re-evaluate your plan and incorporate these current strategies. The outbreak will hopefully be over in in a few more weeks, however what you decide to do here now can surely bring a significant impact to your business in the long-run.