Just about everything is difficult right now, including taking care of your business. We understand that when you start each day, you’re faced with an ever-evolving set of challenges, leaving you feeling uncertain. That’s why we want to help you create a strategic plan to ease your anxieties and do what’s best for your business.
In our last blog, we explored the importance of maintaining your marketing efforts through a recession or crisis, such as the global COVID-19 pandemic we’re currently experiencing. Here, we’ll dig a little deeper into how you can craft your message and stay fluid as you continue your marketing efforts throughout this time.
We’ve simplified this process by pinning down a few concrete steps:
Step 1: Define Your Audience
In order to reach your customers, you must first define them. If you’ve developed personas in the past, now is a great time to revisit them, update them, and use them as a reference as you develop and continue to change your messaging. Who are your customers and what value do you provide them? If you need some help developing your personas, you can refer to this HubSpot article that walks you through the process and offers some resources.
Step 2: Explore the Problem
Like yourself, your customers are looking for clarity and peace of mind during this confusing time. They rely on your business, and it’s up to you to offer them any bit of help and clarity you can.
According to an article by Harvard Business Review, “Companies that put customer needs under the microscope, take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to the marketing budget, and nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand are more likely than others to flourish both during and after a recession.”
Take time to truly explore the problems your customers are experiencing and determine how they relate to your industry. How have your customers’ priorities changed over the past several weeks? How do you foresee these priorities shifting in the future? The answers to these questions can help you make small changes to your marketing strategy that will have the biggest impact on your customers. Not sure what they need? Ask them! Have a virtual consultation, send a survey to your email list, or poll your followers on social media.
Step 3: Offer a Solution
After thoroughly exploring your customers’ current problems and priorities, figure out what your business can do to help solve them. For example, if your customers can no longer visit your bar or restaurant, create a message that will help your customers get their food, drinks, and entertainment through an online format. Are your customers missing their friends and family? Center your strategy on ways to build connections, whether it‘s offering gift cards you can email to friends or a gift that can be delivered right to their front door. Don’t shy away from creativity and don’t be afraid to experiment. You can always readjust your approach (and you’ll likely need to in rapidly changing circumstances).
According to the same Harvard Business Review article, “In deciding which marketing tactics to employ, it’s critical to track how customers are reassessing priorities, reallocating budgets, switching among brands and product categories, and redefining value.” This will be the key to crafting a message that speaks directly to your customers. Circumstances affecting humanity require innovations that speak to human needs. Meet your customers where they are at.
Step 4: Be Considerate When Creating Content
While you should always consider the implications of your tone and imagery, it’s especially important during a time of crisis. You don’t want to appear as if you’re attempting to capitalize on a difficult time, but you do want to remind others that your business is available to help those around you. Be considerate of the struggles people are experiencing around you.
In addition, make sure that your language is appropriate for the given circumstance, so avoid pictures of groups of people and language that denotes gathering, such as ‘reaching out’ or ‘getting in touch.’
Step 5: This Too Shall Pass
You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth mentioning again: this won’t last forever. Incorporate this message into your marketing strategy and give your customers a bit of the peace of mind they’re looking for, no matter how small. You won’t have solutions for every problem, so don’t place such an unrealistic expectation on yourself and don’t over promise your capabilities to your customers. Be present, be a resource, and help where you can. Customers will remember who had their backs when the going got really tough.
If you’re looking for a helping hand during this difficult time, we’re here to help. Please contact us at Postern here. We would love to have a conversation, learn more about you and your business, and see if there are any ways we can support your goals now and into the future.