Saying that COVID-19 has changed the way many companies do business might be the understatement of the century. This global pandemic has affected every aspect of life, particularly the way we do business and socialize with each other. With our movements and interactions restricted, as a business leader, you have to find ways to stay connected to and engaged with consumers as well as growing your client base. In these strange times, organizations that have crisis-proof marketing approaches are better prepared to weather the storm of an outbreak.
Reaching Out to Customers
During a crisis or disaster, it’s important to reinforce the idea that you’re there for your customers. A marketing leader like Eyal Gutentag will tell you that It’s important to consider the point of view of your client base. They need to have a sense that we’re all in this together. One of the best ways to do this is by considering how you can make changes to your business that helps your customers. During these uncertain times, you need to be careful about the tone of your communications. Phase out or abandon messaging that emphasizes selling and focus on ways to help. Your customers will view these changes as sincere gestures of helpfulness and respond favorably to your business.
Boosting Your Digital Messaging
Digital marketing and approaches are more important than ever, especially with restrictions on movement and operations of brick-and-mortar locations. More Americans are spending time online than before, so it’s crucial to have a marketing approach that meets consumers where they are. Take a look at your current digital marketing strategies and make adjustments to messaging that comes across as tone-deaf or insensitive to the realities of a global pandemic. Keep your customers informed about how your business is dealing with COVID-19 through website content, emails and social media content.
Taking Care of Employees
It’s important to show strong leadership in your interactions with your employees during this time. Just as your customer base is dealing with fear and uncertainty, so are the people who work for you. If you can avoid laying off staff, look for ways to keep morale high among your teams. Provide training opportunities for your employees, especially in areas related to adapting your business to a more virtual model. When possible, take a more flexible approach to vacation time and work hours, especially for employees who have children who are now at home instead of school. This is a strange time for you also, so if you need advice on how to lead teams during COVID-19, don’t hesitate to seek guidance.
Adding to the Noise
The last thing your business needs is to be seen as adding to the noise. Customers and employees alike are trying to make sense of the new normal and there are a lot of sources for misinformation and negativity. While it’s important to be pragmatic about the situation, you need to make sure that your internal and external communications are informative, relevant and to the point. Pay special attention to social media posts in particular. Many consumers get their news from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others. While your business is not expected to be a news outlet, you should make sure that your online content focuses on your brand in a way that is positive and affirming. Your information should be up-to-date and engaging. Keep your audiences informed on steps that your business is taking to address COVID-19, especially with respect to protecting customers and employees.
The adage “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” proves its worth during times of crisis. As a business owner, you get to decide how your organization responds to COVID-19. Your customers and employees look to you for leadership during the sunshine as well as the storm. Having a mindful marketing strategy better prepares you to survive times of uncertainty.