A 6-Step Pandemic Response Marketing Strategy
How are you coping with the economic setback that’s affected all of us during the COVID-19 outbreak? Have you changed your business model or altered your marketing strategy?
If you’re not sure what to do, follow these six steps and you’ll be on your way to keeping your business rolling throughout these challenges:
1. Develop a new communications strategy.
The first thing you need to do is to keep people informed. Let your customers, employees, stakeholders and folks in your market know what’s going on.
What are you doing differently? How will those changes affect the people who have an interest in your business? Those are the kinds of questions you need to answer in your updated communications strategy.
People will want to know that you’re practicing social responsibility and helping out where needed. Perhaps you’re lowering prices or extending the grace period for payments. Make your initiatives clear, and if you’ve added an important value to your business model, let people know about it.
Amazon.com, for example, has seen a surge in business because consumers want to shop while keeping distant from other people. If you run an e-commerce site, you might see a similar increase in demand, which would also be worth communicating.
2. Go for a digital refresh.
Now that you have your communications plan in place, use all of your digital properties to get the word out.
First, update your website. That’s where people will likely look when they’re interested in the latest news about your business.
Pro tip: Make sure your updated communications are easy to find on site. Don’t bury important info several layers deep and only link to it in the footer.
Next, update your ads. Remember, it’s still OK to sell in the midst of a pandemic. Just make sure you’re sensitive to the challenges that some consumers currently face.
Lastly, make a change to your email marketing. An email message is a great place to let people know that you care about what they’re going through, as well as detail what you’re doing to make a difference.
3. Create a dedicated COVID-19 page.
Create a separate web page that does nothing but explain how your business has changed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Have you cut your hours? Closed temporarily? Changed from a walk-in to a delivery model? Explain everything. Make sure the link to the COVID-19 page is prominently displayed on the homepage and other top pages of your website.
4. Develop a media response plan.
“How have you changed your business model in response to the outbreak?” Expect that question one day from a journalist.
You should anticipate questions that media members will ask, and have answers ready to go. The last thing you want to do is stumble around looking for an answer when a journalist calls. The media can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Which one it is depends on how well-prepared you are for interviews.
5. Create a plan for the red zone.
It seems like every day we move closer to the goal of things getting back to some normalcy. How will you change your business as we move away from social distancing? If you haven’t thought about that then now is the time to do so. You’ll want a different plan for every phase of this recovery process.
6. Be a Good Samaritan.
Be good to everybody. Lots of folks are frustrated, heartbroken, unemployed and worried right now. They don’t need a lecture; they need a friend. Take the time to be that friend.
John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, a premier full-service digital marketing agency based in San Diego, CA.