Marketing During a World Health Crisis
I almost didn’t write this.
With the health situation changing daily people are focused on navigating a new normal in every aspect of life. Every news cycle seems to add to the worry, and give us something else to adapt to. Do we really have the bandwidth to think about marketing during a world health crisis?
Then I realized, this is exactly the reason this topic is so important. We may not be able to run our businesses as usual, but we still have to run them. And how we do it matters now more than ever. So I’m speaking to you personally this month, one business owner–and one human being–to another. I believe it’s possible to run our businesses from a place of solidarity and support rather than fear or lack.
Context brings clarity
Pandemic-related health and safety concerns have affected the vast majority of companies in almost every industry. The spread of COVID-19 has led to real and significant impact, putting a strain on supply chains, sales, and staff. However, if we’ve learned anything from history, we know that this too shall pass.
So, how do we market our businesses now, before COVID-19 becomes history?
The good news is that the key to successful marketing hasn’t changed. Staying top of mind for your ideal audience is still paramount. But how we go about it now can make all the difference in the way we build brand loyalty.
The human touch
Many of us may not have even heard of the term “social distancing” before this crisis. In a few short weeks, however, it’s become the guidepost for our social interactions. People are now relying on digital devices and virtual gatherings to work, be entertained, and stay in touch.
And that’s only part of the picture. Consider that shutdowns may be affecting your ideal audience in many ways, including financially. If schools in their area are closed, they may be struggling to find childcare. They or their loved ones may even be physically affected by the virus.
With families quarantined and communities on lockdown, your clients may not be in a position to purchase your products now. But it’s a great time to build customer relationships with empathy and innovative service. Here are three ways you can put that into action:
#1 Share helpful information on social media.
Do you run a day-care that has been forced to close its doors? Email or use social media to reach your target market with fun activities they can do with their kids. Do you sell a food product that customers may already have in their pantry? Share new recipe ideas that include your product and other common ingredients. Build the relationship by providing value and being of service.
#2 Take advantage of services that are still running, like the USPS.
With so many events being canceled, you have an opportunity to reach out and make personalized connections. Round up the brochures and flyers earmarked for the event and mail them. Include a personalized note to attendees you were looking forward to meeting in-person. You can even invite them to schedule a video conference with you to nurture the connection.
#3 Keep in touch with clients through personalized email and phone calls.
Communication is vital. Let your clients know everything you are doing to keep your staff and customers (them) safe. If staffing or supply chain issues will cause a delay in their order being fulfilled, be upfront. Chances are, they’ll understand, but only if they remain informed.
Above all, whatever you do, do it from a place of putting the customer’s needs and situation first. The best marketing–during a world health crisis or anytime–is not about a quick sale. It’s about building a stronger brand, one relationship at a time.
Stay healthy and engaged!
President, Illustrated Designs, Inc.
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