We’re all struggling with how to market ourselves during the pandemic. Not because we’re greedy, but because we have to survive. At BKE, we’ve stopped marketing our services entirely. Instead, we’ve shifted to providing tips and guidance to everyone (whether they are clients or not) on how to weather the pandemic financially.
Here’s how you, too, should be changing your marketing approach.
1. Be realistic about your offerings. Scale back to market only your most critical offerings—your customers “must” have’s and stop marketing anything else.
2. Don’t be tone deaf right now. Acknowledge the new environment of the pandemic. Don’t be tone-deaf or opportunistic. Your customers are worried, and some are scared. Acknowledge this, and write and market accordingly.
3. Focus on relationships. The pandemic will pass. Every interaction you have with your customers (see #2 above) will have an impact. If you’re ethical and helpful, they’ll remember you, stick with you and (if they can’t) return as customers when they can. If you are opportunistic, they’ll leave you for life. Don’t mess this one up.
4. Think about what your customers need from you and provide as much free and helpful advice as you can. Are you an HVAC company? Many customers might be reluctant to pay for a service person to tackle projects right now. Consider sending them basic HVAC tips that they can do themselves to keep things running. Are you a gym facing a dropoff in customers? Instead of encouraging them to come in, consider telling them that if they’re not comfortable coming in, they should continue their fitness routine at home, and send them a useful video for a 20-minute cardio workout. You get the idea.
5. Turn off all marketing campaigns (including automated social media tweets, posts, and paid ads). Pivot to campaigns that are more serious (see #2) or do nothing at all.
6. Adapt. Change your approach to meet your business capabilities, right now. Perhaps you’re short-staffed or cutting back on some services. Focus on fewer things, and do them well. It is not business as usual right now. You must adapt.
7. Be empathetic. Be patient with your employees and contractors, your vendors, and your customers. Expect (and understand) requests for cancellations and refunds, and handle those in the most empathetic, and flexible way. We are all in this together, and everyone is in a different place, trying to figure out what the “new normal” means for them during this pandemic.
Your customers will remember how you interacted with them during this crisis. And, for better or for worse, those interactions will become your brand.