The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most significant medical and economic setbacks the world has ever witnessed. According to the latest statistics, it has infected over 14.6 million people and killed over sixteen hundred thousand people.
- The unemployment rate across the world is higher than ever. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has registered an unemployment rate of 11.1% in the United States as of June, 2020.
- Numerous businesses have had to close shops (and thus lost millions of dollars in revenue) due to lockdown restrictions.
- Stock markets have registered rapid and significant declines with no signs of going up any time soon.
- Customer activity and engagement with companies in industries like hospitality, travel and tourism, e-commerce, cosmetics, and more are lower than ever.
It is also expected that several economies are headed towards an impending recession that could be worse than the 2008 recession in the United States. For businesses to protect themselves from inflation and thrive during such uncertain times, smart marketing can be a great tool.
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Businesses need to be on their toes regarding which marketing strategies and campaigns would work and which won’t. Here are 4 do’s and 4 don’ts every business must take into consideration during the pandemic and thereafter.
Do’s of marketing during a pandemic
Reassess customer segmentation
Staying at home has caused numerous people to consume more online content than they ever did. This has helped them learn about different brands and products available. Numerous companies have also registered interest from customer segments that weren’t interested in their products before. It’s a smart step for companies to reassess and create new buyers’ personas depending on the new types of customers showing interest in their company. This will also help you broaden your target audience and cater to a customer segment that was previously overlooked.
Communicate with your customers
Your customers have been isolating at home for several months now. They need to know that you are here to cater to their needs even during a pandemic. Communicate with your customers and acknowledge the impact the pandemic has had on your business. Empathize with your customers and assure them that you are sensitive to how their lives have changed drastically. Let them know how you are tackling the pandemic if there will be delays in deliveries or customer support responses, and that your quality will never be compromised.
Restrategize your marketing campaigns
What worked phenomenally for your company before might not work anymore. Offline advertisements will not be as effective as before since
- not many people are venturing out of their homes to come across billboards and
- people do not want to receive unwanted pamphlets at home
Shift your focus to online marketing strategies that work. You also need to pay special attention to the language you use. For eg. Avoid running ads that push customers to “Buy Now Before Stocks Finish” since this induces panic.
Offer your customers value
Your customers are looking to get the best value out of their money and you need to offer them just that. Offer them speedy or free delivery without charging extra money. Create value pack combos that can be sold at a discount. For e.g. If you are a personal care brand looking to boost sales, offer your customers a combo pack of face wash, scrub, and moisturizer to “refresh and revitalize their skin after a long and tiring day of working from home.”
Don’ts of marketing during a pandemic
Decrease or stop your content output
You might think that stopping content creation and resuming it when “things get back to normal” is a good idea. However, you are missing out on leveraging the benefits of sharing valuable content during the pandemic. Continue to create content pieces even if you don’t use them right away. This will help you when businesses resume normal operations. Till then intersperse your content output with valuable pieces that offer answers to your customers’ questions. For eg. If you are coffee beans roasting company and your customers are concerned about the hygiene conditions inside the roastery, prepare a blog or an Instagram post showcasing how you are ensuring utmost cleanliness and precautions.
Reduce your marketing budget
Due to budgetary reasons, numerous companies have reduced their marketing budget or ceased campaigns altogether. If you have space, do not reduce your marketing budget. With fewer companies running paid promotions, ad rates reduce, and your dollars will be able to churn better results. This way, you do not need to spend more money on trying to get a good response to your strategies.
Post insensitive or panic-inducing content
Now, more than ever, you must be authentic with your customers. Do not post insensitive content like “Buy Now or Regret Later!” or “Last chance to change your lives!”. Such offers are not only insensitive but also induce widespread panic. Also, do not use the situation to promote your brand. Just because people need a product as soon as possible doesn’t mean you should charge them an exorbitant high delivery or service fee.
Forget about damage control
You might have had upcoming conferences, trade shows, meet and greets, workshops for customers, and other physical or face-to-face events lined up before the pandemic brought the world to a sudden stop. Do not forget about shifting these events to an online platform. If you were planning on a conference, host a webinar instead. Turn meet and greets into online lunches. If you cannot do so, make it a point to refund any fee you might have charged your customers.