The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to endanger millions of people, fundamentally alter our personal lives and impact every industry in America as the world fights to combat the virus. Some businesses are struggling to adapt while others are finding specific products and services more in demand.
Adjusting your brand’s message and how you reach your audience during the pandemic can help you better serve them. Provide the information, products or services your customers need under the new normal of social distancing and self-isolation, and you’ll help your organization weather the pandemic. Proceeding with a business-as-usual approach, on the other hand, could result in tone deafness or lost business to competitors who more successfully shift. This checklist will help you quickly update your marketing plan to respond to the health crisis.
- Understand and encourage. Share messages that boost morale, educate or provide a sense of community. Don’t make light of the pandemic and be very careful about joking about any of its effects on your audience like social distancing, work from home and distance learning.
- Consider your audience. Like everyone, your audience may have new concerns, added responsibilities and altered schedules. You may find yourself with an entirely new audience temporarily. Understand what they need from your organization and how you can help them. Focus on helping your audience and let the rest fall by the wayside.
- Be brief. Share necessary updates only, and do so concisely. Many people are overwhelmed with temporary lifestyle changes and ever-evolving news.
- Be honest and transparent. If you receive questions and don’t have the answers or updates your customers crave, be honest. Tell them how you’re working to provide information or solutions. Consumers understand that everyone is adapting. Additionally, misinformation about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 is rampant. Don’t help spread it. Provide information only within your brand’s area of expertise.
- Revise existing campaigns. Make sure any running advertising campaigns are still relevant and align with your updated messaging.
- Create new campaigns. Media consumption across all channels has skyrocketed as consumers crave information. Some experts predict an increase of up to 60 percent in consumption across the board. Seize the opportunity to reach a wider audience. Provide relevant updates through targeted ads and consider adding nimble, short-term digital advertisements if they are not already part of your marketing plan.
- Adjust search engine optimization. Make sure your content highlights products and services that are relevant to your customers right now. Include newly high-performing keywords like delivery, pickup or no contact.
- Add audio streaming ads. Podcast consumption increased about 20 percent as the remote working population grew, and more than 15 percent of people say they are listening to more AM/FM radio at home.
- Update your home page. Include pandemic-related information on a callout at the top of the home page.
- Create a new page. The attention-grabbing callout on the home page should link to a page dedicated to updates about products or services that may be affected. Users will have one spot to access information, and you can optimize that page’s content for pandemic-related searches.
- Check analytics. Most businesses have seen site traffic increase as we’re forced to connect, work and be entertained digitally. Some brands are even seeing an increase in site traffic with a decrease in app use as more people are on desktop or laptop computers at home. Monitoring your website analytics provides information on changing customer interest or behavior.
- Offer promotions. Goodwill begets loyal followers. If you’re able, follow the example of many other brands — drop paywalls or offer free or reduced access to relevant goods or services for a limited time.
- Connect to customers. Social media use has increased on all platforms, offering a larger potential audience for your content. Posting on social media is an efficient way to share timely updates about important operational changes. You can also quickly answer customer questions.
- Support your community. Share positive news about how your brand or others in your community are helping those negatively impacted by the virus. Partner with other groups to organize donations.
- Share photos and video. Many small businesses have taken to social media to sell products and coordinate pickups. If it’s not easy to edit your website, social media is a great way to share photos and video of in-demand items or even sell them via social commerce.
- Publish videos. Nearly 90 percent of Americans say they’re watching more videos during the pandemic. Not able to shoot new videos? Repurpose relevant recent video content and it may find a newly attentive audience.
- Include Connected TV ads. Video streaming is here to stay with 76 percent of users saying they plan to consume just as much video content after the pandemic. Connected TV ads allow brands to target specific audience groups with the precision of digital ads.
- Consider a commercial. Previous research showed that remote workers watch 25 hours of traditional TV a week as opposed to their counterparts who watch 22 hours. More people are working from home now.