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Coronavirus: Is it time to update your marketing messages?
Don’t panic. Yes, things are crazy, but there are tactics you can use to connect, engage, and even grow in the coming months.
"Losing your head in a crisis is a good way to become the crisis." C.J. Redwine
Marketing is all about communication and how your messaging represents your brand. Over the past couple of weeks, many businesses have seen dramatic changes, some good, some not so good. Crisis can bring out the worst and the best in business, and unfortunately, it’s not always your choice. The one thing was can control in crisis situations is the message we portray to our customers.
How are you communicating with your leads and clients? Are you being transparent? What about honest? Is your messaging outdated or seemingly out of touch?
These are important questions to ask yourself in the next couple of days. The time is now to change up your messaging to ensure you do not isolate any leads or customers and continue to create personalized customer experiences.
In this blog post, I am going to talk about the different ways you can update your marketing message in these unprecedented times.
"Crisis forces commonality of purpose on one another." Michelle Dean
Now, more than ever is a great opportunity to connect with clients. You have a connection point. Use it wisely. We are all in this together. Every single person is experiencing some level of disruption from the Coronavirus. While unfortunate, it gives us a chance to connect on a whole new human level.
In a crisis, it’s critical to showcase your support for your clients. What can you offer your clients - a helping hand? A discount? For example, some gyms are offering their members free months for staying on when they open back up. Businesses are offering free online classes, workshops, etc. to keep their customers engaged and supported during these tumultuous times.
What can you do to show your support?
Review your current messaging
Does your current messaging seem out of touch? Now, is the time to make sure what you are sending sends the right message in the right tone.
For example, take a look at your welcome messages, drip campaigns, and lead nurturing journeys? Could they be isolated to a particular segment of your database? Are they appropriate for new clients or leads?
Another place to start is with your monthly newsletters. It’s ok to say that everything isn’t ‘gravy’ right now, and to share valuable insights and important information that could and will affect the lives of your leads and clients.
Get your messaging right to avoid isolating anyone and to develop a deeper sense of trust between you and your audience.
Be transparent & honest
Keep your customers up to date on any changes to your service. Let them know how you plan to manage relationships in these difficult times. Do not pretend everything is just great when in reality, it’s not. This does not do you or your clients any good. Be open about what your company is going through.
We’ve found that because of this ‘connection’ I spoke about earlier, more people are willing to understand what has happened or what you have to do under these stressful circumstances.
Listen to your customers
Monitor what your clients are saying. Are they worried? Do they have to suspend service? Listen so you can respond appropriately.
This is probably one of the more important strategies right now. To continue to provide exceptional customer experiences, you must listen to the feedback they are sharing with you. Whether via social media, emails, phone calls, tickets, etc., the customer is always giving you information about themselves. Use that to improve the communication you have with them.
This is NOT the time to go cold. If you can, continue to be active on social, send personal emails, get in touch with clients. Maintain connectivity and set realistic expectations. For example, is it taking your customer service team longer than usual to respond to inquiries? Let clients know. Manage expectations, do not just leave the customer hanging there. This will only make you look bad and most likely lose the customer in the long-run.
Use all the tools at your disposal to share your messages with your audience. Use social, email, PPC, your website, online chat, etc. If you have the capability and resources, maintain a multi-channel strategy. All of these channels present a different opportunity to connect with your audience and showcase your message.
Use social media to highlight your support and what you are doing for all new customers and/or leads. Use email to keep your database up to date about any news, updates, or changes.
Review your segments
Different parts of the world are experiencing different levels of the COVID response. Think about the message you send based on your demographic data. For example, some states have stricter lockdown restrictions than others. You don’t want to send a movie theater or restaurant promotion if the person can’t actually use it. Make sure your content is relevant to what they are experiencing, whether it be by location, age group, parents vs. non-parents, etc.
Don’t use humor inappropriately
While laughter is great, you want to be conscious of the humor you use during times of crisis. This is not the time for inappropriate memes or jokes. A seemingly harmless joke can actually really alienate a certain segment of your audience. Stay light and positive, but not insensitive and inappropriate. People can be extra sensitive in stressful times, and it’s important to be conscious of how everyone might perceive your message.
Perfect your tone
Different situations require different tones. Adjust your tone to fit your message and what you are trying to convey with that message. Are you sharing your message with a heavy heart or are you trying to be uplifting? Tone is everything, especially when you are communicating via email. Don’t just think about what you say, but HOW you say it. How will your message and tone be perceived by the recipient? Often, a good way of judging this is by sharing it with a third party not affiliated with your organization. Have them share their honest opinion, and adjust as needed.
Nobody likes a downer. This is your time to uplift and support your clients any way that you can. Stay positive, encourage, and inspire. Share thoughtful stories or uplifting images, or more personal campaigns like “What our team is doing on their free time to stay busy.” Then, have each of your team members share their hobbies, etc. while working from home.
In your professional messages, try to be as encouraging as possible. People gravitate toward positive messages.
Decide WHO your messaging should be coming from
Should a message come from your CEO, sales, or marketing team? Depending on the message, update who it’s from.
Recognize that some people are having a harder time than others. Be sensitive to everyone’s current situation. Listen, show that you care, and most importantly, show respect.
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