No one could have predicted a pandemic taking over the world, let alone trying to find ways to deal with its unprecedented repercussions. In such a crisis, marketing professionals need to think on their feet and proactively adapt to the situation by changing how they interact with customers or the way in which they put out their brand voice. These are uncharted territories where the center stage has been handed over to marketing departments in every company.
It’s in times like these when your response to the pandemic reveals your brand’s true character. The newly added pressure of the job can be quite overwhelming, and the need to show results is at an all-time high now. This is why we’ve prepared a guide to help you craft empathetic content during the COVID-19 crisis. Let’s have a closer look at the same.
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Pick out the right words
The business world can be quite shrewd at times. However, it’s more important now than ever to think more about your customer’s feelings rather than your revenue. A good way of going about this is to pick the right words and use a sensitive language.
Do not create promotional offers centered around COVID-19. Adding words such as “Hurry!” or “Buy now before the stock finishes” can create quite a deal of panic. In times when your customers need stability and balance, enticing them to make quick purchases is considered to be very poor in taste.
Rather, offer them value through comfort or convenience. Let them know how you can help or what you can do to ease out their current lives. Does your product help them take a break from continuous work? Can your service help them save time? Identify such value-based benefits of your product or service and advertise accordingly.
Create compelling content
People have been working from home or staying at home for several months now. This has also caused them to feel isolated, bored, and frustrated. There can’t be a better time to engage with your customers by showing them that you care and are here to look out for them. Create compelling videos or stories which are light-hearted or hopeful.
You could also choose to inform them on how to take care of themselves and others. Encourage them to be kind and respectful. Workaround to host webinars where you have a virtual lunch party or post a video about how they can refine their resumes. Share news on kind gestures around the world and try to lift their spirits.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in some capacity or the other. While some businesses haven’t been able to fulfill deliveries, others have employees who don’t have the required infrastructure at home to cater to customer needs. This is why it’s vital for businesses to become thoroughly transparent with their customers.
Let them know beforehand of any delays in deliveries or if the stock can’t be refilled soon. If you provide at-home services, tell them how you are making sure that your personnel is following all hygiene standards and protocols. If you provide software services, let your customers know exactly why your servers have been down and how much time it would take to fix it.
Swap out insensitive visual elements
Before the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world, we never found issues in images showing people having a hearty brunch at a cafe or content stating we should ‘come together’ and celebrate an occasion. However, with lockdowns and social distancing in the picture, we can no longer advertise our message with such imageries.
Avoid using words such as ‘Join Hands’, ‘Get together’, etc. Also, avoid images or visual elements that show large gatherings or close contact with others. Rather, choose words such as ‘Take care’, ‘Stay home’, ‘Stay safe’, etc. Make sure that you do not promote anything that could put them in harm’s way.
Be resourceful and hopeful
It’s important for you to diversify your content. Talking about COVID-19 constantly can be quite morbid, which is why you need to create resourceful and hopeful content. Spread the joy by sending updates on acts of kindness in the world or about any recent donations you might have made. Share tips on how to stay productive, how your employees have handled the shift to work from home, or how to receive some mental detox.
You could even share recipes that can be made easily at home or information on local take-outs that are hygienic and clean. The idea here is to send across messages of hope, compassion, and kindness, and adding as much value to their lives as you can.
Boost engagement with campaigns, contests, or giveaways
A great way to show your customers that you are proactive, engaging, and up and running is by hosting campaigns, contests, or giveaways. This not only helps you boost engagement and stay connected with your audience but also encourages them to stay home and stay safe.
Start a hashtag relevant to COVID-19, such as #StaysafewithXYZ or #Stayhomefortheworld, and ask your audience to use this hashtag and share what they’ve been doing at home. Host virtual contests such as designing, storytelling, and more, to keep them engaged with your social media channels. Send goodies to winners or provide them with a gift coupon.
More than anything, stay connected
In times when people have had to stay away from friends and family without any social connection, they need to feel connected to something in the outside world. Whether it’s via emails, newsletters, or social media posts, stay in constant touch with your audience.
Highlight any relief efforts you have been a part of, provide them access to free resources, update them on changes in business operations that might affect them, share how you have been maintaining hygiene in your offices or warehouses, and if nothing else, simply send them heartfelt ‘we’re in this together’ messages.