Business owners are caught between a rock and a hard place right now. Marketing your products and services when customers are worried about their health and jobs feels at best insensitive, at worst scheming. No-one wants to look as if they’re trying to make money out of a crisis.
But stop selling entirely and you run the risk of having no business to come back to once this is over. Chances are you have people who depend on your income, as do your team. And if everyone stops selling, the economy really will be in trouble!
So, how can you continue to market your services sensitively? The answer is to tweak your message and potentially your product to make sure you’re serving your customers and give a little bit extra where you can.
How can you market your business during a crisis? We’ve pulled together our 5 top tips below.
- Show empathy for your customers
The internet and social media are saturated with crisis-related content right now. Unless you’re a company providing services directly related to the virus, adding more noise is pointless. There’s a strong chance it won’t get picked up, anyway. Google and Facebook are pushing content that directly names the virus far down the search results.
On the other hand, you can’t ignore what’s going on completely, either. It’s important to show you understand what your audience is going through. Be relatable – you’re going through it too. Keep your content relevant to your brand and product or service but acknowledge that the environment you’re operating in has changed, as have the challenges faced by your customers. What do they need to hear right now? How are you uniquely placed to help them?
- Create free content to help your customers
It’s dangerous to offer your main service or product for free because you risk devaluing what you do, but creating new free content – blog posts, checklists, videos – that help your customers at this time is a great way to serve them. Make sure the content you offer is useful to them now, but also aligned with your brand. If you’re a security company for example, a DIY checklist for auditing home security might be helpful. Be helpful.
Direct marketing might feel too sales-y and uncomfortable right now but content marketing – providing value for your customers with free products that are exactly what they need – is a way of drawing attention to your brand without the hard sell. If you provide value for your potential customers now, they are more likely to come to you when they are ready and able to buy.
- Continue to sell if your product or service is relevant
If your goods and services are useful to people right now, continue to market them, but take extra special care not to bombard people with hard-sell content.
It’s also vital to tweak your messaging to make sure you’re sensitive to the current environment. And if your potential customers are likely to be on a strict budget at the moment (and who isn’t?) consider your pricing. Can you offer a discount without devaluing what you offer? How about a payment plan? Could you include a free add-on, so your customers get more value for their money?
- If your product isn’t relevant, pivot
Despite the rumours, no-one actually has a clue how long this crisis will last. Businesses are wise to plan for a worst-case scenario. If your goods and services aren’t relevant right now, i.e. you think there’s no way your customers will buy, shelve your current marketing plan and offer something else that will serve them instead.
If you own a cafe, can you deliver? If you’re a yoga teacher, can you go online? Other people might be offering similar services, but no-one is offering what you uniquely bring to the table. Going in a slightly different direction might be hard – even temporarily – but it could be just what your business and your customers need.
- What do your potential customers need to hear right now?
Easy to digest, helpful content is best, along with short posts that make people laugh and provide escapism. As the initial panic gives way to resignation, we’re expecting people will want to get back to business as near to normal and as soon as possible.
We’re here to help
Just like you, at The Social Matrix, we’re navigating our way through this crisis. If you need help formulating a marketing plan for your business, we’d love to help. Contact us to book a free, no-obligation 15-minute consultation call. We’re not looking for business right now. Let’s help each other through this.