Working out how to continue marketing your products and services during a crisis can be a very tricky business. Most company owners don’t have the luxury of being able to wait it out — if you want to continue paying yourself and your staff, you might have to continue pursuing sales.
You do need to be more mindful of how you do this during a crisis, though. When there’s a lot going on in your customers’ lives, it can make it much easier for businesses to come across as inadvertently insensitive. Plus, people will remember how you made them feel during a time of crisis, so it will pay off in the long run if you can get it right.
We’ve all learned a lot during the coronavirus pandemic, and we’re certainly not out of the woods yet. Plus, it’s become very apparent that we simply can’t predict what the future holds for us these days, so you may well find yourself in a similar crisis in the future. Here are our top tips for marketing your business throughout a crisis, so your business can continue to survive — and hopefully thrive — while supporting your customers through turbulent times.
Think about what your customers actually need
As a business owner, you’ll constantly be thinking about your customers’ needs and how to cater to them, but everything you already know about them could completely change in a crisis. Therefore, when everything is up in the air, it’s important that you reassess what they need each and every single day.
Of course, this way of thinking will very much apply to the products you’re selling and promoting. For example, if you were a brand that sold party dresses before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, you might have pivoted to loungewear and pyjamas. Or, if you owned a nail salon, you might have started to sell at-home nail-art kits. Putting money into promoting products or services that people just don’t need or can’t use at the minute isn’t helpful for anyone — you included. So, it’s vital that you consider what’s actually in demand when choosing what to sell and market during a crisis.
It’s also a good idea to consider what kinds of information and content your customers might need during uncertain times. For example, if you get the sense that your target audience are feeling blue, you could try to cheer them up with your social media content. You could share positive news stories or funny videos you know your followers will love.
If you’ve had to adapt the way your business works, you’ll also want to provide potential customers with all of the information they’ll need to shop with you. Make sure they can easily find all of the details about your current delivery times and methods, what kinds of guidelines you’re following to keep everyone safe, and what your business hours are if they need to contact you.
Provide them with value
Even if people aren’t buying from you at the moment, or you’re unable to even offer your products and services, it’s well worth looking for ways in which you can still offer them value. Consumers will remember this when they are in a position to buy from you again, and it could well lead to a lot of sales when things start to get back to normal.
Depending on what kind of business you run, there are a number of ways that you can offer your customers value during a crisis. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, everyone’s been spending a lot of time at home, so companies have looked for ways to cater to this. Video tutorials and in-depth written guides have been a fantastic tool for the job. Everyone from personal trainers to hairdressers and craft business owners have been creating videos and how-to articles to keep their customers happy, healthy, and entertained during lockdown. Of course, it’s worth creating content that provides value all of the time, but it’s even more important during a crisis when people might not have direct access to your services or products.
Keep the conversation going
In a similar vein, even if you’re not in a position to actively sell your products or services right now, ensure your customers don’t forget about you by keeping the conversation going.
It might not make sense to market your offerings right now, or you might not feel comfortable doing so. But you can still use the likes of your social media platforms and your mailing list to check in with your customers and let them know you’re still there. It’s also worth keeping them updated on how things are for you and your business, as this will help them to feel more connected to your brand.
You could even use your social media accounts to conduct surveys and polls to get an idea of what your customers would like from you right now. Maybe they have a problem they would like you to solve, or they might have some strong opinions on how you should go about getting back up and running.
When marketing your business during a pandemic, the most important thing is that you do it sensitively. Most people will understand that you have a livelihood and potentially employees to protect, so you’ll still be trying to market your products if you can. However, you need to approach it in the right way, or it could backfire.
You don’t want to be seen to be capitalising on the crisis people are facing, so be very mindful about every social post, newsletter, and marketing campaign that you put out. In any crisis, some people are going to be severely affected — for example, during the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people have lost their jobs, while others may have lost family members. So, it’s important to keep things in perspective.
Remain as flexible as possible
In a crisis, things can change very quickly, whether that’s on a daily or even an hourly basis. So, you need to be flexible.
Whenever there’s a shift, whether guidelines have changed, things have gotten increasingly serious, or you’re having to change the way you work, take stock of your current marketing plans and tweak them if necessary. You should also review any scheduled social media activity or newsletters to ensure they’re still as sensitive and relevant as possible.
Marketing your business during a crisis is such a big and difficult job because you need to be willing to change tack at the drop of a hat. But, if you remain sensitive and helpful throughout, you should continue to make sales and will likely earn yourself some new fans, even when things are so uncertain.
Deciding how to promote your products or services during a crisis is no easy feat, but it is possible. Prioritising your customers’ needs, remaining flexible, and keeping things in perspective should help you to weather the storm. Hopefully you’ll be able to retain the loyalty of your current customers and maybe even earn yourself some new fans.
If you’re still unsure of how to continue promoting your business during turbulent times, we can help. We’re experts in SEO, paid search, and affiliate marketing so, if you’re looking to improve your online visibility, get in touch — we’ll be happy to help.