The last few months have been crazy for consumers and business owners across the country, not to mention the rest of the world. We’ve seen a lot change rapidly, and we’re all doing our best to navigate it. Business owners, especially, have had a difficult time: not only are they dealing with this pandemic for themselves and their families, but for their businesses, their customers, and their employees.
Many businesses have done a great job at pivoting not only their offerings to customers but also their marketing. As a business owner, it’s important to connect with customers on an authentic and transparent level, which can be difficult when you’re trying to adjust so many aspects of your business.
Here are three quick steps to adjust your marketing to connect with consumers during COVID-19.
1. Determine Your Message
This is the overall message you want to convey to customers, prospects, and employees, and can include what you have been doing to address the pandemic, any adjustments to your business operations, and more.
2. Prioritize what needs to be updated or changed.
This could be social posts you have scheduled, ads that may now be deemed insensitive, and more. Prioritize these first and then address the rest of your marketing plan to ensure you’re clearly communicating to customers and prospects across all your marketing channels.
We’ve seen a number of businesses pivot and make quick messaging updates to their existing advertising. All they have to do is update the content while leaving the design virtually unchanged; resulting in a quick fix that still accurately and gently conveys their message to consumers.
Here are three examples I’ve seen from businesses recently:
- A friend who owns a restaurant changed its existing ads about a loyalty card program to highlight its online ordering and delivery services with minimal design tweaks. While times are still tough takeout and delivery, which used to account for 10% of their business, now equals 60% of the restaurant’s review prior to the pandemic and many employees have kept their jobs.
- An auto collision repair shop switched out their advertising with messaging about their morning and night drop off for contactless service. They also included a video that highlights how their mechanics wash their hands, wear gloves and shoe covers, and wipe down the inside of the car after they’re done working on it. This was their existing process, so the video was already created. What they have done differently is to feature the video on all of their social media and make it front and center on their website home page.
- A local nursery down the street from where I live adjusted their advertising to focus on products they thought were more relevant right now: antibacterial home sanitizers and fresh fruits and vegetables. As someone who grows a vegetable garden every year, this strategy was effective and I ended up growing a much more full garden than in past years.
These simple yet effective updates allowed these businesses to continue running their advertising while serving a completely different purpose that connects them with the consumers in their communities.
3. Determine what you need to add to your plan.
What, in addition to your current marketing, do you need to ramp up or adjust based on what’s going on now? This could be new promotions or specials for pick up or delivery, social posts that relate to what’s going on with your business, and more. This could also be different marketing strategies to help you proactively engage with how consumers are spending time and searching now, like with an SEO, social media, and website strategy. Once you’ve completed these three steps, stay nimble as things change day-to-day. It may seem stressful to pivot your plan so quickly, but consumers connect with businesses that are able to rise to the challenge of a crisis.
So many companies have sent a standard message letting consumers know they care about customers and employees and are taking every effort to keep them safe. And that’s kind of it. What I’ve loved seeing is how many companies are taking it a step further, outlining how their employees are still getting paid, talking about community resources for those in need, or sharing how they’re supporting their friends and neighbors during this time. This is what consumers want to see. They don’t want you to tell them you care; they want you to show them.
We’re Here for You – At The Spark Social we understand that local businesses are the foundation of our communities, and our goal is to help them thrive.