COVID-19: Don't turn the lights off

Many businesses faced with the current worry and disruption of Covid-19 will have felt the urge to hunker down and retreat from marketing – including customer communications, updating the website and posting on social media channels. It is natural to be inward-looking at this time, particularly when businesses have been busy responding to the crisis in practical ways, trying to fulfil customer orders perhaps or setting up team members to work from home.

In these challenging times, businesses need to continue marketing and to be providing the right message more than ever. Here are some of our marketing tips for this period:

Don’t go dark

Going ‘dark’ on social media and not responding to messages, for example, is never a good idea. Any good crisis communications preparation would suggest that ‘no comment’ is never the way to go; instead be honest and open and don’t disappear.

Most companies will have already posted some sort of ‘statement’ on their website about what the current crisis means to customers and clients. It might be a simple explanation that team members are now working from home but can still be contacted, or that the premises has temporarily shut. 

Today, to visit a website or social media channel which doesn’t have some sort of statement in the current crisis will seem odd. Generally, customers and clients will be understanding if communication isn’t as swift as usual, as everyone is facing challenges. Be professional, mindful and honest. 

If your business is in crisis and money is leaking out, there might be an obvious temptation to cut marketing budgets. Try not to though. You need to continue marketing and to be providing the right message more than ever. The focus might just need shifting. 

Listen to your customers

Keep an open communication with your customers, clients and suppliers during this time. Understand the challenges they are facing and be as understanding as you can. Listen to what your customers are saying and don’t take actions that provide a short-term answer or gain at the expense of customer trust in the long term. 

Look at your messaging

It is important to be mindful at this time of the tone of voice you use in your communications. If you were fairly casual, even jokey, in your communications, it might be worth changing that. Also, spend some time going through any scheduled social media posts, making sure you don’t talk about things people aren’t meant to be doing currently, such as meeting socially. 

Keep sharing things on social media though about your services and about how you’re supporting clients and customers at this time. Even if you’re a retail operation which has had to shut its doors, perhaps post about the plans you’re making and how you’re supporting other businesses during this time. 

It might seem mercantile to be sharing content and continuing to market during a pandemic, but companies need to maintain some sort of presence. 

Getting writing

Remember those blogs you are always intending to write? Why not use this time to create some content, which can be scheduled in over the next few months? Also, if there are members of your team who are still working but less busy, get them involved too with creating content. 

Look at your website

Take some time to step back and look at your website. Is it looking tired and how has it stood up during these difficult times? Are there ways you could change it and are there areas which need updating? Perhaps even get a few other people involved. If somebody you know if self-isolating and bored, send them a link to your website and ask them how easy they think it is to navigate and what they think of the messaging. 

To do list

Everyone has a ‘to do’ list at work which never gets done.  Now could be a good time to look at those projects you’ve been putting off, so you are ahead of the game when business life hopefully returns to ‘normal’. It could be updating your marketing plan. 

Crisis communications plan

Every firm needs a solid crisis communications plan. If you didn’t have one already, now is the time to write one. If you did have one, did you follow it and is it helping to focus your mind? Make a note of things you would do differently if you are faced with another crisis. 

If you want to find out more about how Lake Solutions can support you during this challenging time, then get in touch.

Article Details

Ian Jepp
09 April 2020