31 Jul Five Crisis Marketing Tactics That Work
Marketing during a crisis is different than marketing during “normal” times. COVID-19 has made it impossible to know when times will be normal again or what that will look like. Still, businesses need to do what they can to keep themselves in front of their constituencies. It is not easy, but it can be done. Your business’s marketing needs to have a different focus: It should be helpful, useful and informative. Some of the marketing plans businesses implement during the COVID-19 crisis may form the basis of their new strategic marketing plan as we move into post-pandemic 2020.
Here are five tips that can help you maintain your market share now and in the future:
Tailor your communications to the times. That means being sensitive to the grief and disruption people are feeling. Be empathetic and show your empathy in tangible and intangible ways. For example:
- Partner with a local nonprofit, such as a food bank, and give a percentage of your sales to it.
- Offer your products and services at a discount. For example, buy one now and get one at a steeper discount in the future.
- Offer a gift card for a future purchase.
- Partner with another business owner to offer a deal. For example, if you make homemade candies, offer a discount (or a gift card) to a vendor that sells that candy.
- Use your website or social media sites as a billboard for online events that are related to current events in your industry and for online events that are a distraction from the crisis.
- Use your email and social media presence to keep in touch with clients. Share with them what is happening with your business and how you are coping with the situation.
Use your downtime to develop new online products or services. For example, maybe you can create virtual training sessions or provide industry updates.
Defer payments to a future date. For example, some automobile makers are offering several months of free financing to encourage new buyers. Not all businesses will be able to assume the risk associated with this type of program, but ask yourself: Is there something I can do now to keep customers coming through the door and build loyalty for the future?
Craft online marketing and social media programs. Whether sponsoring an informative virtual roundtable about what is happening in your industry or starting a challenge or a game featuring your brand — with the focus of entertaining people during this unprecedented time — you can build loyalty as a thought leader in your category.
Focus on the long term. Some of the adjustments you make to your marketing plan during this time will remain in place even after the immediate crisis is over, so it is important to think strategically as you decide which changes to implement in order to keep track of how you’ll sustain these changes as we move into post-crisis mode.
Many businesses reflexively cut marketing and business development when they are in crisis mode. But there needs to be a balance. Yes, you are cutting bottom-line costs when you cut these business functions, but you are also cutting your ability to keep your brand in front of people in a positive way.