How to adapt your business marketing and communications to suit pandemic conditions. Our BEST TIPS to market your business to your customers during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) period.
The priority of any business during this virus crisis is the continuity of day-to-day business operations, providing confidence to employees, customers, and associated suppliers.
It is however VERY clear that there will ultimately be a knock-on effect to how your customer’s deal with the crisis.
It’s essential that where possible, we continue to carry out the work tasks, make purchases, pay suppliers, and promote your products / services.
Companies will keep spending, but in a different way.
If you can adapt the changing ways and offer them value during this time of uncertainty, you will ultimately win their confidence and loyalty when normality resumes.
Marketing Ideas during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Crisis
GET THE BUSINESS BASICS IN PLACE
It’s important to take some time to plan out what the most common questions you will be asked by your customers?
• Is your business open and when/where?
• Do you have stock or can provide an alternative?
• Is there any disruption to your service delivery?
• What is the best way to interact and transact business? (online, face-to-face, courier service etc.)
• What are the changes to your business policies and procedures? e.g. how your business has changed and how it operates during the lock-down period
• What are your policies to support refund/cancellations/returns?
MARKET WHAT PEOPLE ‘NEED’ NOT JUST WHAT YOU WANT TO SELL THEM!
Before you start posting content across the internet about the Coronavirus, think about the changing times and customer circumstances, then tailor your marketing messages. Customers may be looking to mitigate some business risk, so perhaps target lower cost offers to them initially?
• Create a brand crisis management plan that builds customer confidence and loyalty?
• What product or service do you have that will provide value to your customers?
• Can you bundle products and services to be more suitable? e.g. smaller packages or extended payment terms etc.
• How should you word the sales marketing message for your offer? e.g. confidence, trustworthy, helping each other through a crisis?
• Create the most efficient eCommerce program that will streamline the electronic way your customers transact with you online
• You MAY NOT have what people want in stock, but you can launch some alternatives!
Our BEST TIPS on how to market your business during a Pandemic
FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER (they may be feeling vulnerable)
No this doesn’t mean scaremongering messages titled COVID-19, it means to let them know about how your business has transformed to support the economic changes and mandates in place.
• Deploy digital systems that allow your business to market and communicate effectively with your customers e.g. Email Marketing, Video Conferencing, eCommerce stores, Live Streaming, and Video Content.
• Run regular online meetings to keep customers informed about the status of each other’s business and to discuss products and service offers.
• Build Fact Sheets and FAQ Pages on your website that allow customers to self-educate about your business and how it’s being managed during this crisis
• Learn your customer’s policies and procedure changes during this period so sales teams can cater to their specific business requirements
• Take the time to understand the health of your customers business. Perhaps they have cash-flow issues, and you can defer some invoices. Or perhaps they just need some help? e.g. some loan equipment or maybe resources?
• Offer credit vouchers for refunds or event cancellations
• Honour any loyalty programs, even when their spending may be below the threshold
• Think about how you can perhaps partner with your customers and suppliers to offer a combined offer to benefit companies?
• Support initiatives that allow the more vulnerable to access your products and or services more easily, e.g. control the level of inventory being sold
• Offer NEW products or services that people need, e.g. if people are using more disposable items, source those in advance.
• Think about news ways to operate your business, e.g. if you are café, remove every second table to adhere to the 1.5m space rule. Offer a drive-thru service instead of face-to-face. Perhaps use disposable tableware?
GET YOUR ECOMMERCE AND DIGITAL ENABLEMENT LIVE!
Now is the best time to ramp up your eCommerce program.
• Engage professionals to build an end-to-end ‘purchase to payment’ system that can scale now, and also when the crisis is over (none of this will be wasted effort)
• Think about your marketing message, e.g. how easy it is to buy from you even from your lounge chair
• Focus on the ‘contactless’ order-to-delivery process
• Display clearly your online purchase, refund and exchange policy
• Implement online help systems such as Live Chat or an online FAQ help centre that make purchase issues easier to resolve.
• Make doing business with you EASY! (Ensure purchase issues are resolved quickly).
IMPLEMENT COMMUNITY SUPPORT INITIATIVES
To build more confidence and trust with your customers, think about implementing and communicating a community ‘give-back’ program.
• Partner with other businesses to (customers and suppliers) to offer a free product offer or service?
• Donate products and services to a nominated charity
• Offer support services to customers like extended payment terms or even contra deals
• Encourage staff to participate in community volunteer programs (give them the time off).
BUILD NEW CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Replace your face-to-face events and sales steps with ‘virtual environments’ and digital tools that will support your essential business tasks such as customer training, support, project meetings, and of course sales demonstrations.
• Create Digital Customer Management Programs to support ongoing communications, sales engagement, business support, and end-user training
• Educate your Sales Teams on digital systems to help them better manage their sales engagement process and sales pipeline (Email Marketing, CRM, Sales Dashboard, Zoom Meetings)
• Adopt Digital Transformation for your business by implementing digital tools such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Google Hangouts, Zoom Meeting, Skype, TikTok (for a bit of fun).
FOCUS ON YOUR DIGITAL ASSETS
Over the next 6-months, the majority of your customer interaction WILL BE handled online.
To accomplish this successfully, you will need a LOT of digital content (Quality content). We suggest that you look at creating a range of content that includes quality brand messages;
• Case Studies and Testimonials
• Fact Sheets, Brochures and Whitepapers
• Video Content (marketing, sales and support/help)
• Build some fun and frivolity into your campaigns
• Utilise pre-existing partner or industry content
*Important* Protect your brand by ONLY sharing trusted sources of information.
THINK ABOUT YOUR POST-CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) MARKETING TACTICS
The announcements by the Federal Government highlighted that more stringent control measures were being put into place, and these will be here for at LEAST 6 to 12-months.
After this period, you need to be thinking about bringing your business operations back to some level of normality. Review the last few months and ask yourself the following questions;
• What changes MUST we revert to normal? e.g. pricing and sale policies etc
• What did we find worked very well that we can continue?
• What kind of efficiencies did we see, and how can we expand on these?
• Are there areas of the business that are too vulnerable to continue supporting?
• How do we manage the communication of these changes to our customers?
• Have we built a new sales and marketing plan to support the next 12-months?
• Provide mental health support for fellow business owners.
A crisis such as this really does bring communities together.
They are an excellent opportunity to highlight how your business brand is here for the long-term, not just to capitalise on a short-term opportunity.
This period also presents a wonderful opportunity for you to turn your business operations on its head and into the digital age. Make those necessary moves to digital that you’ve previously been delaying.
It allows you to also see the vulnerabilities of your business and allows you to plan out how to secure these for the future (or perhaps cut them loose).
The key here is to listen and adapt to the changing needs of your customers, answer their questions, put aside their fears, and then build new expectations and trust as a working partnership.
How you manage your brand now will put you in good stead for the future!
Marketing ideas during COVID-19!
We’ve created a range of products and services like our Coronavirus Business Contingency Program to help companies deal with the economic times driven by the Coronavirus.
Also, learn how to manage your Brand during the Coronavirus Pandemic and run a small business during the Coronavirus, as well as how to keep positive and in Good Mental Health during the Coronavirus
Are you planning your business recovery after the Coronavirus COVID-19 Shutdown?
Use our post-Coronavirus Shutdown Business Recovery Action Plan
Is your business is eligible for any Small Business Grants & Support?
If you have any questions or perhaps just need some help to market your business during the Coronavirus Pandemic, please do not hesitate to contact us on 03 9863-7444 or [email protected]