This is part two of my talk on marketing during COVID-19 for The Thrive Effect run by Clare Griffiths. I have adapted it to reflect some recent examples because, of course, things are changing quickly in the current climate.
Strategy for now
Short term – this may be tricky for you if you’re not able to trade right now. You may need to pivot, you may need to diversify or adopt new technology. There might be some who are reading this who never used Zoom, Teams or Google Meet before March 2020. Now, at least one of those technologies will be playing a significant role in your day to day.
If you’re unable to pivot or adapt your products and services (see some examples in part 1) then perhaps look at working on some collaborative projects. Find others who are in the same boat and see how you might be able to do something together. It will help to keep you visible and you’ll be able to contribute in a positive and helpful way. Collaboration has been kicked up a gear with global brands working together. McLaren for example are collaborating with competitors to produce medical ventilators. Apple and Google have worked together to develop new tech and apps for contact-tracing. Local small businesses are banding together to support one another and explore new collaborative projects. There’s a great initiative that some of our fellow members of The Good Business Club have started. It’s a campaign to Re-Imagine The Future. People are developing habits that are having a positive impact on their own health and wellbeing, for example. Instead of going back to regular habits post COVID-19, why not see how you can extend new habits and create a positive change? Calling all changemakers – Declare what you’re doing to re-imagine the future! Use #LockInChange on Twitter and Instagram to get involved.
Find out more about this initiative HERE.
Strategy for now AND later
Look at your marketing strategy and plans and see what might work right now and what needs to be for later. If you haven’t had time to think about a marketing strategy, then now might be a good time to work on that. Normally we would recommend starting with your long term goals and work backwards to how you’re going to get there. At the current time, you may need to be a little more flexible with that approach. Look at where you are at now or what you were doing normally before the end of March. It might be that you have to cut some things or put some things on hold, but think carefully and explore ways of adapting and diversifying too – especially if that would be helpful to your customers. Don’t cut out everything. See where you can reduce efforts or budgets. A reduction in travel costs might be a positive factor for businesses which also allows for more working time (or more time to take much needed breaks!). Keep on communicating with your customers and potential customers but make sure it’s relevant and appropriate for right now as well. You may need to do a communications plan audit to be able to send out relevant content. For example, scheduled content and content plans might need to be adjusted in order to fit with the needs of your customers. Try to stay consistent – whatever that consistency is for you – stick with that but ensure it’s relevant and also on brand.
I spoke with business owner Denyse Whillier who is focused on longer term strategy for building up businesses within the ‘new normal’ even though it’s uncertain what that might look like. This means going back over your business strategy and implementation plans but more importantly, revisiting your business vision so you can build back and “envision the future you want for your business”. Denyse’s series of articles on restarting business post lockdown, with step by step activities, is a great resource so please do check that out.
Reopening your business might indeed be on the horizon for many of you, especially those of you who had to shut your doors to customers. One of our clients is looking to reopen her therapy room over the coming months so I’ve helped her create and send out an email communication to her customers letting them know her plans and the steps she will be taking to be able to welcome people safely. She has had to pause all treatments so it’s important that she keeps in touch with customers and has been doing so through her Facebook page. Staying visible by posting videos highlighting products, meditations and self-therapies that are helpful to people right now in addition to keeping them informed via her newsletter is a strategy which is working very well for her. She understands her audience and what will be of use to them so has come out of her comfort zone to stay visible online, since being visible in person is not an option now. This also means that when she is able to safely reopen, her customers will have felt looked after and loved despite her having to close her doors. It’s a great example of how small location based businesses are adapting their marketing strategy during this time.
What are your marketing strategies now? Are you working on something for the future? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Meg Fenn, Director of Shake It Up Creative