Recent years have shown us that businesses need to plan for uncertainty, marketing is now in real time – rapidly evolving social media platform content and email marketing mean businesses are now integrating into customers daily lives. Marketing during a crisis is especially difficult when consumer trends and thoughts change on a monthly, weekly and even hourly basis sometimes.
Marketing during a crisis isn’t difficult if you already understand your customers; how they have used you in the past, what they will need regardless of the crisis (either now or immediately afterwards) and how you can deliver – immediately or already to hit the ground running when they are able to continue.
A few practices that might help, include:
Send the right message
When it comes to spreading the word it’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it. In times of crisis your business can choose to lean into the issue e.g. “Due to COVID-19″ or focus on how the issue is affecting your customer. Can you offer express shipping? Do you have that hard to find part they need? Let people know that you’re reliable and there for them, instead of trying to capitalise on wider issues that may be affecting everyone, deal with how you can help each customer directly.
Keep your marketing aligned with customer-based relationships, concentrate on how can you help them do what they do, and you will refrain from looking disingenuous (lest we forget the Pepsi debacle of 2017).
Build your brand
We all know that different target markets expect different things from brands, but the businesses you work with use you for a reason. While there’s an ever-growing list of consumer demands out there it’s important to remember your USP and build your marketing around that. While all organisations have room to grow in areas such as sustainability – remembering why your customers use your business will be better guidance for brand building than following the latest consumer and business fads.
Don’t be afraid to show some personality however, simple things like showing how your business recycles, celebrating an employee’s birthday or even just general shout outs to someone you think is doing a good job, all help your business transform from a faceless entity to a brand people find easier to trust. Creating that stability and personability through social media channels helps your business to have a stronger voice if uncertain times emerge – but keep it professional and don’t stray too far away from your core message.
Word of Mouth
During times of crisis people rely on trustworthy businesses. Did you know that 97% of people search online for local businesses when they are looking for a new service? Additionally, 85% of those consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
If you’re in the situation where strong business relationships and reliability are present ask your clients to leave you a review on social media and consistently check back for testimonials, most businesses are happy to provide you with kind words especially if you’re helping them during a tough time.
Marketing during a crisis can be difficult but as a business you don’t have to comment on everything that is happening in the news to be there for your clients – remember the reasons your customers choose you in the first place and build from there.
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