Marketing your way through the COVID-19 pandemic

From the moment the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the Prime Minister announced a UK-wide lockdown, thoughts naturally turned to the impact restrictions would have on business, positive or negative.

As a food wholesaler, the impact on your business would be positive; albeit stressful as you learn to operate in this demanding new world order.

But for pubs, restaurants and cafes, social distancing requirements have had a massive impact, demanding a total business rethink, switching to a takeaway option to survive, or facing up to the harsh reality of having to pause business.

When evaluating the impact that coronavirus is having on your business, you may be considering what overheads and possibly marketing expenditure can be cut. Our advice is don’t be too quick to cut back on marketing activities as you could struggle to kick-start relationships with customers post-pandemic. Instead maintain them; review your marketing channels and evaluate whether you need to refocus your efforts to grow and develop your digital footprint.

It’s fundamental to the future of your business to maintain your digital footprint as your audiences are still listening, even more so now many of them are remote working.

How you communicate with your customers now will influence your relationships with them post Covid-19; how businesses behave now will also directly influence future brand perception.  Now is the time to do the right thing, to be more sensitive, understanding and informative; less hard sell and more empathetic.

Key to communications is knowing what to say, the tone you should be using and the channels you should be focusing marketing efforts on.  Read on for a few tips to help.

It’s time to focus efforts on digital channels – if you haven’t already

The digital world is currently flourishing with many people spending more time than ever on their mobile phones, iPads and laptops. So, if you are yet to embrace the digital world of marketing, we recommend that you start now. This can be as simple as investing in Google Ads, generating more e-communications to communicate with and grow your database of customers/contacts, or spending time to improve your organic SEO to benefit your ranking on Google with new blog content. If you find yourself with more time on your hands, then why not go through your website and improve your copy and images while you have the chance?

We are not saying blow the budget, but to simply tailor your efforts and be mindful of how your target audiences’ communication patterns are shifting. In a nutshell, less print, more digital is the order of the day.

Stay active on social

There’s no question about it, pressing pause on your social media presence is a bad move, especially as social media platforms are seeing a 66% increase in usage since the world went into lockdown – LinkedIn alone has reportedly experienced a 2000% daily increase in traffic.

Social media channels are tailoring their experiences and so should you. Instagram has launched a ‘stay home’ sticker to encourage social distancing. WhatsApp has implemented a World Health Organisation Chatbot to answer any COVID-19 concerns. Facebook has created a $100 million grant program to assist small businesses dealing with the impact.

Remaining active on social media is essential. So too is tailoring your messaging to reflect the constantly changing situation. It’s ok to reduce the frequency of your posts but spend more time developing quality relevant content that reaches out and engages with your target audience.

Your customers are still interested in what you’re doing, and there’s an appetite for well-balanced posts showing humanity, how you’re evolving your business and services to cope with the current environment and what you’re doing to support those affected by Covid-19. Recommended posts include encouraging tips for keeping busy during lockdown, positive news and content which can help users learn or try something new.

Be there for your audience and provide an escape for them in these uncertain times. It will not go unnoticed.

Plan for post-pandemic

Although it might be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it can, at times, feel overwhelming, this won’t be forever.

Once we return to some kind of normality, businesses will need to be ready to bounce back. Planning for that day needs to start now, giving us all a focus and a positive goal to work towards!

So, take the opportunity to plan campaigns across your marketing channels that will pull your business out of the pandemic and into the forefront of your audiences’ minds.

Devoting time to develop your future business and how it is perceived will pay dividends. And why not take the chance to bounce ideas off colleagues, trusted friends and family over a video call? It’s important to keep in touch with face-to-face contact.

It’s a little like keeping match fit for when the season begins, only in this case it’s all about keeping your business in tip-top condition, your mind agile and your marketing relevant, ongoing and ready to roll. With a positive proactive approach, we’ll all be in a good place to return to normality, what ever that looks like and whenever it comes.

If you are looking for bespoke PR and marketing support to keep your brand visible, call our team on 01392 680740, or email us on info@absoluteprandmarketing.com

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