3 tips around marketing for COVID-19 (and other events beyond your control)

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It's a tough time at the moment with the uncertainty around COVID-19 and what that means for usual business operations. In crisis situations like this, marketing is often the first thing to see a reduced budget, however like panic buying, panic cutting of spending can lead to negative outcomes.

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Marketing for COVID-19

It’s a tough time at the moment with the uncertainty around COVID-19 and what that means for usual business operations. In crises like this, marketing is often the first thing to see a reduced budget; however, like panic buying, panic cutting of spending can lead to adverse outcomes.

Marketing in this type of situation is tough; here are three tips of how you can maintain a strong presence with your customers.

Keeping up with the communication

Like maintaining any good relationship, communication is key! Keep your customers and community updated with what’s happening and what you are doing in response to COVID-19. Keep your customers up to date via email and social media regularly.

You should also keep your website and other sources of online presence up-to-date. Update the opening hours on Google My Business and Facebook, and communicate any changes to your offering or business as soon as you can. If your meetings now happening via video conference, how do your customers access the technology? What questions might they have? Answer them all online, so the information they need is at their fingertips! If your business is profoundly affected by COVID-19, add a blog post or permanent page that you can keep updated with updates and FAQ relating to your business.

Finally, make sure you keep up communication with your staff. Australian businesses are looking to adopt remote workplaces amind COVID-19, ensuring all your staff are on the same page about what is happening is essential.

Special promotions and distribution channels

Updating your product offering in line with any restrictions going on is one way to try and get on the front foot. Can you offer your products or services via an online channel? Can you change the way you distribute your service? For example, can you provide a drive-through or delivery coffee service instead of a sitdown service like you usually would?

If you are a professional services business, consider updating your pricing or available packages, so they are in line with the current market. What does the market need at the moment, and how can you help them achieve that through your business? As an accounting-related business, you could provide information around the stimulus packages being offered by the Government for small businesses.

You should also consider the long-term relationship with customers and the short term cost of giving refunds or credits versus the longer-term loyalty those customers will offer knowing you have been flexible in a tough time.

Agile planning

Now is the time to reassess your marketing strategy for the next few months. It’s not the time to go stopping all of your advertising and marketing, but it is a time to get smart! Set aside some time to review what your marketing goals are at a top-level, and how that flows down to your campaigns and channels. Things to consider for marketing for COVID-19 are:

  • Evaluate your negative keywords in Search to ensure you are not wasting money on un-related clicks.
  • Review any contextual advertising to make sure there is a low chance of appearing next to undesirable content relating to COVID-19.
  • Pause your programmatic display activity whilst you review your campaigns. Set it live again once messaging and targeting has been reviewed.
  • Change up some of your marketing messaging to be as relevant as possible during this time. How can your business help the situation we are all in?
  • Consider the launch of any new products – is now the best time, or can it hold off a couple of months?
  • Look at what other businesses you can partner with to help each other.
  • Think of other marketing channels or tactics you can use (for example fact sheets and infographics).
  • Put together a crisis communication plan if your business is in an industry that might have massive fallout. A crisis communication plan is something that your business should have in place regardless of a pandemic like this, however if you don’t have one, now might be a good time to invest in one.

Over to you

Start with communicating with your customers and go from there. It is a busy time, and reviewing your marketing might seem like a lower priority task. I do encourage you to look at it though! Feel free to reach out for a chat if you had any questions.

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