These are chaotic times, and finding the right marketing message can sometimes feel impossible. With the coronavirus, COVID-19, upending the way we live and the way we work, it might feel impossible to focus on your marketing goals.
Since the coronavirus has spread all over the world, industries and economies have been turned upside down. Whether things are business as usual or your industry has been radically transformed, your customers are turning to your company to see what’s next.
Marketing in the time of coronavirus is more than sending an email to your customers to let them know the steps your company is taking during this global pandemic. It means taking a larger look, not just at your messages and content but also your overall strategy.
In just a few days, you might have seen the marketing strategy you carefully crafted for 2020 go up in smoke. Before you panic, take a deep breath and then dive into your marketing plan to determine how to redirect. Through coming together (and staying apart) we’ll all get through this pandemic together.
Here are some of the things you should consider when looking at your coronavirus marketing strategy:
Take Stock of Your Marketing Goals
What denotes success for your business or industry? Are you trying to sell t-shirts, seminars, or monthly paid services? Are you looking to improve your brand awareness, convert followers into leads, or sell physical products? Right now is the best time to take another look at your KPIs for 2020 and decide if they’re still reasonable measuring sticks?
For instance, are you selling a product or service no one is interested in right now? If your business hinges on in-person service, whether an installation or a series of events, you probably need to rethink your 2020 strategy. Instead of running paid ads, you might want to consider redirecting those dollars elsewhere for the moment.
Be realistic about whether or not your product or service is likely to sell right now before throwing money at the problem. Don’t be afraid to get more realistic about your KPIs and projections. Chasing your pre-coronavirus numbers in a post-coronavirus world doesn’t make sense and will just set you up for failure.
Redefine Your Marketing Strategy
That huge paid social campaign might not be where you should be putting your energy right now. Instead, looking critically at your whole marketing strategy. Are there some aspects of your marketing funnel that you’ve been ignoring? While paid media might be dicey at the moment, there’s never a bad time to invest in your organic content. This might be a great time to look at your content marketing, your email marketing, and your organic social. Get creative and think outside-the-box.
For instance, if you haven’t had time to create automated emails to lead your potential customers through your marketing funnel, use your time now to develop that content. If you have made it that far, it might be the perfect time to refresh the content you already have. Dive into SEO and keywords and create a content calendar in order to rank your website higher in relevant keywords and improve your SEO.
You can get an influencer marketing campaign off the ground, edit new promotional videos, start a new content series, or even create a podcast. Look at this moment as an opportunity to get creative with your marketing strategy and test out new ideas to see what works.
Be Transparent and Don’t Ignore What’s Happening
The coronavirus is impossible to ignore, so there’s no use trying. Don’t go along posting as usual without addressing the very real issues that are popping up. It’ll seem crazy if you’re the only one in your customer’s newsfeed going about life as usual.
Let customers, clients, and potential leads know what your company is doing to address this crisis. They’ll appreciate your transparency and be understanding of any bumps in the road if you communicate clearly.
Don’t Try to Get Cutesy
There’s a line between acknowledging the pandemic and using the pandemic for marketing. You don’t want to be a cringe-worthy brand that looks like they’re trying to profit off a pandemic. Believe me, the Internet will remember.
Incorporating the current social distancing moment into your marketing is one thing, but don’t get too funny (or punny) about it. This is a very stressful and anxiety-ridden time for most people, and you need to respect the seriousness of the situation.
A great way to improve your brand image and also just do something good is to use this opportunity to give back to your community, whether locally or globally. Raise money for first responders to get the personal protective gear they need. Work with a local food bank to make sure their shelves are fully stocked. Talk to employees at all levels of the company to ensure everyone has what they need to do their jobs, and support employees who need extra help. Consumers will remember brands that tried to help their communities in ways both large and small.
Marketing during the coronavirus (or any crisis) is complicated. None of us have a roadmap for this, so we need to address the situation head-on and think strategically.