The past few weeks have been one for the record books. We all have been forced to adjust amid this latest pandemic COVID-19. Personally, social distancing is a bit of a normal daily routine as is washing our hands. However, the latest events have even introverts like us a bit weary.
Our company is used to working remotely so that has not been a huge change for us. Our daily operations, along with the closures of vendors, clients, and a shift in our normal activities has been a cause for reevaluating our processes.
During these uneasy times, there are a lot of questions we keep hearing from other small businesses as well as other agencies. Many of these questions surround marketing, and how or even if they should be promoting themselves or their services during times of fear. Should we talk about COVID-19? Will we keep selling while people are cutting back? Shall we discuss the things we are doing to keep our customers safe? How much is too much or how little is too little as far as our level of communication and transparency?
So many questions, it is all a bit overwhelming to consider, isn’t it?
At HeartWired Digital, we put a great deal of effort into being transparently human in everything we do. Compassion for others is our focal point as we believe that people are the pulse of our business. We do this with intention, and even when we are in crisis as many would say we are now, we do our research first before being compulsory in our messaging.
Would it be easier to jump on the pandemic bandwagon and use fear of the unknown as a tactic? Possibly. Is it better to use a knee-jerk reaction to a media story? Or to change our message in order to fit the mainstream? Perhaps. You will not find us or hopefully our clients doing either though. In times of uncertainty, do you need to adjust your sails? Absolutely! Do you need to quit marketing and start placating to the whims of others? Never!
We have put together some tips on how to effectively (and compassionately) market your business during the COVID-19 crisis.
First and foremost before we even jump into that, one thing you should NOT be doing at this time is…
“Don’t use fear to get sales!”
This should go without saying, but so many messages out there are manipulating peoples’ emotions by focusing on fear. This is the time to be transparent and provide security rather than take advantage of a vulnerable population. Do things now, that provide even a higher level of sensitivity than you may even normally provide. The way we as businesses behave in times of need will reflect in loyalty from your customers in times of comfort.
Now back to the tips businesses can use to keep marketing compassionate during COVID-19.
Tips on How to Keep Marketing Compassionate During COVID-19
While we are in uncharted waters for our time as far as marketing goes, or just business in general. While it is okay to market, in fact, we encourage you to market your brand during these uneasy times versus stopping. It all takes a different level of sensitivity to your message as well as what your clients need.
Your Emails May Need Rewriting
Many companies write their marketing emails weeks if not months in advance and then schedule them using their CRM. While this is a great practice to ensure that you have campaigns running while creativity may be lapsing. The emails you wrote in February quite possibly are not the right message you should be using now. A good practice is to review your upcoming emails to ensure they are empathetic to the time we currently are surviving in.
Social Media Marketing for Information Rather Than Sales
Advertising dollars should be spent on social media marketing as you usually would. In fact, you may even consider increasing them with the upcoming bonuses from both Google and Facebook while available. Your message likely needs to adjust. Right now many people have slowed or even suspended their spending. Rather than advertising for sales, now is the time to be marketing to build. Build your list by providing more value through your marketing.
Market Value for Sales Later
People are scared and they don’t know what the economy looks like tomorrow. Many small to mid-size businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. The last thing they need or want is another sales pitch. If you have the capacity to focus beyond tomorrow and offer more value today for free, you will be remembered. They will remember the one that provided empathy and were willing to give away their content during times of uncertainty. If you are constantly pitching people to buy during your “Coronavirus Sale”, you likely are losing more customers than you will ever gain.
It’s Not About You, It Never Was.
People like to know that the businesses that they give their hard-earned money to, care about them. Let me rephrase, people like to have a relationship with the local businesses they support. This means your messaging needs to reflect your community. If you are providing different hours, better pricing, or new services during this time, let them know. People will care more about that than hearing how you are washing your hands, cleaning after your customers, and have stockpiles of toilet paper. Those are all things people take for granted that you are already doing on a daily basis, they really don’t want to read about it in your newsletter or on your website.
Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found
How we all are used to doing business has likely changed forever, or at least in part. The new normal will look a bit different than the way small to medium-sized businesses do business. One thing many realized quickly as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded is they needed a way to be found. Many businesses resorted to marketing their message on solely social media since they did not have a website. Unfortunately, everyone did that and therefore their message likely was muted if not blocked entirely. Having a website, even a simple brochure site has become vital. Not only in times when everyone is online but also when we return to our new normal.
Prepare Now for Tomorrow’s Surge (Extra Tip)
Whenever there is a crisis that affects our economy, especially an economy as strong as ours was before this all started, you need to be prepared for the surge. People are resilient. They will be looking to grow their business and make up for lost time and income. One way to prepare your business now for the surge is to ensure not only your message but also your SEO, your brand, your story, will all resonate and have a long-reaching effect. While we are in this “stay at home” model for the short-term, businesses need to be working on the long-term as far as their marketing goals and strategy.
At HeartWired we have always tried to meet our customers where they are (currently this includes Zoom meetings, Chats, Email, etc.). The more businesses are able to be flexible and adjust to the changing times, we increase our chances of not only survival but growth.
We understand these are uncertain times and hope that you have been able to gain some insight on how to adjust your marketing accordingly to the brand new world we live in. The ability to pivot and adjust your verticle markets allows your business to grow even during times like these.
Empathy and compassion for others will gain more loyalty in the long run than any other marketing campaign you and your creative team can come up with.
If you would like to discuss how HeartWired Digital Solutions can help your business grow, please contact us online or give us a call 904.660.5185.
Stay healthy and safe everyone, together we are stronger.