Let’s get one thing clear right out the bat, it isn’t business as usual. COVID-19 is a health crisis that is unprecedented in our times. The world is reeling from its devastating impact with over 2 Million being directly affected and the economy as a whole shaking from its tremors. At this time, your customers are in a tizzy. They have plenty of questions on their mind right now and almost every non-essential purchase decision is being reevaluated. Everyone is wondering how long the crisis may last, how it may affect their lives and business, how it impacts your service amongst many others. At this time, your communication and messaging strategy is integral to how you are perceived as a business.
Here’s how to craft your marketing communication during a pandemic like Covid-19:
Communicating with your existing customers
During a global pandemic like this, your customers are looking for reassurance from all quarters. Also, they are looking for respite and empathy. Due to the global lockdown caused by Covid-19, they may be falling behind on mortgage or rent payment or even on their car loans and insurance. If you are a non-essential business or service, try to offer some peace of mind to your customers. If you can offer them some relaxed payment terms temporarily and extension on the billing or a free upgrade of your services, do that first. Step into your customer’s shoes and help them in whatever way you can, this will inspire lasting brand loyalty.
Communicating with New Prospects – Should you even be doing this?
The answer is yes, but not in a tone-deaf manner. You can’t rely on your regular Social Strategy or cold emails or LinkedIn messages at this time. If you continue to use the same messaging, you run the risk of being perceived as a company that lacks awareness or even worse doesn’t care – lacks empathy!
Remember to be human first, read the market and your industry, reach out to help them solve a crisis they may be facing at the time. For Example, if you are an online learning platform, you can reach out to customers offering them free access to all your lessons for two months. You can frame it as a way to help business owners who may be short-staffed and having to do everything on their own. You can even reach out as a helping hand to help employees upskill themselves to prepare for an increasingly tough and cut-throat job climate.
How should you communicate with New Prospects
First things first, be honest and don’t oversell what you can do at this time. The world is going through a tough time and your business is very much a part of it. If you can’t match the level of service that you usually provide, be upfront about it. If customers need to expect delays or cancellations due to logistical challenges, then tell them beforehand. Your customers do not expect impeccable service at this time but they do expect you to be honest and prompt in your communication. Also, ensure to carry this communication across all your channels and reach all your customers. Whether it’s through email, social media, website or messaging, communicate with your customers about what they can expect. Use your company blog to provide a more detailed look at your exact challenges and what you are doing to ensure that your customers are not affected and your service is not impacted. If you are a thought leader in your industry, your customers and even your peers are looking to you for direction at this time.
This too shall pass – Think Long Term
Ok, now that we’ve covered what you need to be communicating right now, how else can you use this time? Well, when it comes to your messaging and your content strategy, there may be many projects that may have been on the backburner as you couldn’t devote your time to it. It may be a complete rebrand, a new case studies section on your website, a blog you’ve always wanted to write or some sales collateral that you wanted to create. Well, now that business is slower than usual it is time to get in the trenches and create content. Yes, speak to people across your business and ask them about their challenges. From the sales team to your Operations and HR team, ask them where they perceive gaps in company literature, policies or messaging. Do an online survey or get on a phone call to collect as much qualitative and quantitative data as you can. Once you do that you’ll have a clear picture of the content gaps in your organization. Use this time to develop rich and well-researched content that will help your organization for years to come. But remember, you don’t need to release the content or get it live right away during the pandemic. You can simply get it ready and when the time comes to fire on all cylinders, you know you’re ready to be back with a bang.