Both large and small businesses are facing up to the reality of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on their operations. Social distancing has led to millions of employees working from home, with video conferences and virtual meetings boosting team collaboration. Digital transcription services ensure that these interactions are captured. However, marketing is a key area has been drastically impacted by COVID-19. Here’s how businesses can adapt their marketing strategies to the new normal.
- Focus on digital marketing: With consumers staying at home, reports say the focus should be on digital marketing. A Forbes article noted that digital “will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times ahead”. Top options include social marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and influencer-led campaigns. In the case of social media, the focus should be on being active on your channels and growing accounts by providing useful content, rather than on boosting sales, says a Small Business Trends article. Companies can team with influencers who already have their audience to create quality content. Other digital marketing strategies to focus on include updating Google My Business, answering FAQs, and creating a Google Ads campaign.
- Develop a crisis communication strategy: It’s important to keep your audience informed about developments. Keeping your audience informed and focusing on delivering the right message at the right time is essential to avoid the spread of misinformation and develop trust. Communicating with people is also necessary to prepare them for the post-crisis period. A crisis management team can be set to spread the message across channels and monitor feedback, recommend Digital Silk on Yahoo Finance.
- Leverage video communication, conferencing and webinars: One of the best ways to keep in touch with your customers, prospects, and team is via video communication and conferencing. With video conferencing options like Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams, meetings and sales discussions can take place as scheduled. Webinars offer a more personal way to create and drive business relationships, build authority and trust, and understand your target audiences’ needs.
- Show how your brand can help: During this stressful time, people will appreciate products and services that will help them cope. So highlight how your brand can enhance people’s lives when they are socially isolated and quarantined (www.business2community.com). For e.g., many providers of many video conferencing tools are communicating how their products help people do work without face-to-face interaction. Companies that offer products to educate, entertain and inspire people or keep them fit and healthy can show that they provide value to people confined at home. The goal should be to demonstrate how your brand can help people and not to push sales.
- Be responsible and empathetic: In any crisis, brands need to be mindful of public sentiment. Many people are not working during this time and worried about how things will work out. Tact and empathy should guide marketing during the present crisis. An Inc article offers five tips:
- Review and modify scheduled content timelines and marketing campaigns. Identify and publish content that will be most useful and impactful.
- Assess language and imagery. If you think that your ads don’t project the right message during this crisis, remove them. For instance, visuals where people or crowds are touching would be unsuitable when social isolation is being practised. Even words matter – use ‘contribute’ and ‘cope’, but be wary of ‘gain’ or ‘make the most’.
- Avoid being an alarmist: Don’t use language or images that can fuel anxiety. Make sure that any information you share is from credible sources such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state or local agencies. Appearing insensitive or exploitative, even inadvertently, can have far-reaching, negative consequences.
Many brands have repositioned their messaging for the COVID-19 crisis. CocaCola’s ad with space between the letters conveys the message that ‘staying apart is the best way to stay united’. McDonald’s temporarily changed their logo in ‘solidarity’ by separating their iconic golden arches to indicate social distancing.
The environment for marketers has changed with work stoppages and quarantines. In this landscape social media and video marketing are amongst the most effective communication tools for businesses. Online transcription services can make video content visible in search engines and expand its reach.