Marketing during a crisis like the Covid 19 pandemic
Should I still market my business during the pandemic? That’s the question I’m asked most often. It’s a question heavy with fear and uncertainty – how do I care for and show empathy to the people around me while keeping the lights on in my business?
The quick and simple answer is yes. Yes, you should still market your business during Covid 19 and other crises. The more complicated answer is – yes, but…
First, let’s make sure you have a clear understanding of marketing and how it relates to selling. This is the way I approach marketing – it’s all about service. Marketing is letting the people who need you and your product or service know that you are available to help them.
Marketing is letting the people who need you and your product or service know that you are available to help them.
Marketing is first meant to build trust and educate your customers about their challenges and the best ways to solve them. Then, marketing shows them how to purchase your solution. It’s making their lives easier, and it’s really not about you or self promotion.
Now that we have that out of the way, here are 5 tips to help you market your business during a crisis like Covid 19.
Step 1. You Should Market Your Business, But Start with Your People
This is always where we start. I should copy and paste this paragraph from other blogs and emails. Customers First. Always. It’s the first of my brand values and it’s always where we start.
Gauge how your people are feeling and reacting during the crisis. Are they all affected? What kind of support do they need?
Not everyone has lost their jobs, and some people are even busier than before. What if people need your product or service and you stop letting them know you can help them? What if they still need you, but in a different way. This is why you should still market your business, even during a crisis.
Don’t make that judgement for them. Ask them what they need and how you can help them. Ask them if they have been affected. Read through their social media and get a general idea of mood.
Step 2. Assess Your Offerings
What products or services do you currently sell? Are there any that you can shift. Right now many restaurants have switched to take out and caterers are shifting to meal delivery. Those who teach in-person workshops and classes are moving to online classes.
Should you still market your in-person business? No, but let people know how you’re shifting to accommodate them. This is a time to get creative! Have you always wanted to sell an online product? Can you shift your business to fit the needs of your community now?
Step 3. You Should Market Your Business, But Set the Right Tone
Tone is everything here, and many of the funnel rules you learned before the crises don’t apply anymore.
Now is your chance to step up as a leader and step into the role of caring for others. Your tone is everything and it’s a fine line to walk. When there is fear, acknowledge it and be caring and calm. Let people know how your product or service can help. Let people know how their purchase can help you give back.
Be honest and ernest and rely on your values. Don’t play on people’s fears and don’t claim your product does something it really doesn’t. Go back to step one here. Are people ready to dive in and learn with you? Can you help them take action?
People spend money because they care about how it makes them feel. That’s why people donate to nonprofits. Your tone should match how you want people to feel.
If you are struggling and need your people to buy gift cards or order products from your business, let them know honestly that you need them. Ask genuinely for help and let them know it’s because you want to keep serving them when the crisis is over.
Step 4. Go Back to Your Customer Journey
Remember, marketing is the process of building trust and authenticity with your audience. Most people don’t go directly from finding you to buying your product or service. They need to learn more and think about it.
Now might be the time to work on the first part of your customer journey and build content to educate your people about your business and the problems you solve.
Hubspot just analyzed the activity on their platform over these past five weeks and they saw both an uptick in the marketing emails sent and an increase in open rates and interactions. Your people are interested and they have time right now to read. Take this time to build trust and to serve people. Give free webinars, create that bomber freebie, write those blogs, and share your knowledge. We’re in it for the long game here. Use this time to build value and trust.
Step 5. Trust Your Gut – Not the Haters
There is a chance people in your industry will criticize you or try to convince you that you shouldn’t be marketing your business. Know that this comes from fear and uncertainty. Right now guidelines are not clear on what is and isn’t allowed and things are changing fast.
Check in with local guidelines and officials to make sure you are within ordinances and take every precaution you can. Trust your gut and don’t listen to the haters. Keep your trusted circle close and run your ideas by them. We’re all walking fine lines in business right now, but one thing is very clear – We all have something important to contribute.
Check your mindset, and go back to step 1. How can you support your people. YOUR people, not all people. How can you show up for the people who show up for you and who need you?
Need some extra help?
I’m offering free 30-minute strategy session so you can talk through your marketing plans and feel confident in your offerings. No sales calls here – it’s what I can offer my community right now.