Tips for Communicating and Marketing During a Pandemic
It’s inevitable that during a pandemic things will be uneasy and uncertain at times. (It is, after all, a worldwide pandemic.) Businesses across the globe are dealing with a host of unknowns when it comes to clients, employees, operations, and how to communicate in a rapidly changing environment.
The best thing you can do right now is to keep your head up. Follow these tips below on how to use communication and marketing during a time of crisis.
Evaluate your current marketing plans and tactics. You may need to shift your messaging!
Media plans that were created months ago—heck, even a few weeks or days ago—should be re-evaluated. Make sure you don’t have anything scheduled that may not be relevant or could be taken as insensitive. What was funny or pertinent last week could be completely off the mark as the pandemic shifts. Unfortunately, we’ve seen some national brands share scheduled content that, had they reevaluated, should have been canceled and now they’re feeling the backlash. Don’t make the same mistake.
Communication is key.
In times like this, over-communication is not a bad thing. In fact, reach out more often! With daily changes and requirements passed down from Higher Ups, it’s crucial to stay in contact. Have your hours changed? Are you closed? Do you have resources for clients/customers that they can access? They won’t know unless they know, and that comes from you. Utilize digital and social platforms. Now, more than ever, the world is online; contact them where they are. The worst thing you can do is go silent.
Make sure your tone and delivery is appropriate with all that is going on.
- Be positive: Everyone is struggling right now, try to give a message of hope. Can you provide a joke, a funny picture or even a quote to make people laugh or take their mind off things? With so much heavy news, a lighter tone brightens the mood. Is it appropriate for your brand to share a meme or does a blog linked from a social media channel make more sense?
- Be transparent and honest: Authenticity, transparency and honesty go a long way. People want to hear the truth.
- Show empathy and support: We’re all navigating this crisis together. Empathizing with others and showing them you care is exactly what the world needs right now. Are there ways that you can support other businesses in your local community? Now more than ever is the right time to help a neighbor if you can.
Implement a strategic communications plan.
Are you ready to start sharing and communicating? Make sure you have a plan on who you want to speak to, what you are going to communicate (and why), and how you’re going to do it. Follow these steps to create your own strategic marketing plan.
- Identify the purpose of your communication. What is the goal?
- Identify your target audience. Who do you need to communicate to and why?
- Develop key messages: What is the message that you need to communicate?
- Develop an action plan: How and when will you get your message out?
- Implement the plan
- Identify how you can evaluate for success: how can you measure effectiveness?
Cost effectiveness is more important than ever.
Many businesses are feeling the financial squeeze caused by the pandemic. Sales have slowed, foot traffic is all but nil, and some businesses have closed all together. Because of this, stretching your dollar is crucial right now.
Chances are you already utilize and have access to most—if not all—of these options below. Here are a few suggestions on how you could best use them.
- Consider developing a landing page that can feature up-to-date content/materials.
- Consider creating a prominent pop-up alert or web banner on your site. This will allow users to find important information easily.
- Blogs are a great way to communicate more information than can (and should) be on a webpage. Do you have announcements? Has your business helped in some way? Is there helpful advice you can give your audience? Here’s the place to share it.
Social Media Channels – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked in, etc.—whatever is right for your brand.
- Use your owned media channels to develop up-to-date content including posts, IG or FB stories , sharing helpful articles or publishing your own to stay top of mind.
Video – YouTube? Facebook LIVE? IG TV?
- Consider creating a video message that comes straight from you or your business. Video gives you the chance to make your message more personal, and live broadcasts on social media give you a chance to answer questions in real time!
- Create a message from the CEO. Share how your business is coping with the mandated requirements or is doing its part to flatten the curve.
- Be helpful! Include advice and utilize your industry knowledge to help your readers.
- Do you have a specific message or product that you would like to get out to people? Now might be a great time to run a campaign because of the amount of people spending time online right now.
We are all in a very unique situation. Remember to be mindful, reassess messages and marketing regularly, and to communicate clearly and transparently and you’ll get through this just fine. We’ll see you on the other side of this pandemic. Or, if you need us before that, drop us a line. We’re here to help.