We are in uncharted territory.
The COVID-19 pandemic has completely taken hold of the news cycle and our attention. Regardless of your thoughts on the severity of the situation, it’s hard to deny the effect it’s already had on industries of all types.
Events are being canceled, more and more people are staying home from work, and the economy is seeing a major impact.
As marketers, this can be an incredibly tricky time to navigate. The show must go on for many businesses, although daily life might look a little different for the next few weeks.
Here are our do’s and don’ts on how you can still see marketing success in your business during the Coronavirus crisis.
Do stay human throughout the crisis
First and foremost — and this is advice that you should follow at all times — stay human. This is a scary time for many people, and you should take that into consideration when planning any external communication.
Twitter offers some guidelines on brand communication in times of crisis:
- Know your brand
- Keep up to date on what’s happening
- Be mindful of your tone
- Anticipate changes in your customers’ behavior
Don’t take advantage of the situation just for clicks
If your company has little to offer regarding this situation, please consider not posting about it. You should only be providing value to your clients regarding the situation, not taking advantage of fear for clickbait.
Before you hit publish, take time to think: Am I helping? Or am I just adding to the noise?
One big example is Corona itself. Fast Company wrote an article about how the beer brand is making the right choice by not talking about COVID-19 at all.
Do review any upcoming or current campaigns that may send a less-than-ideal message
Do you have content already written and scheduled? Go back and look at the contents of these campaigns. In relation to today’s news, do they still sound appropriate or would they lead to your company receiving backlash?
Two examples of companies who pulled ads due to messaging, as laid out by Marketing Dive:
- Hershey’s had a campaign focused on sharing handshakes and hugs with strangers. These commercials were pulled and replaced with product-focused ads instead.
- Coors was planning to run a campaign that called its product the “Official beer of working remotely.” To not appear like they were capitalizing on the pandemic, the campaign was halted.
Don’t forget to update your Google My Business
Do you have a physical location? Avoid confusion among your customers by following Google’s guide on updating your Google My Business profile.
You should make sure that your adjusted hours are correct and let people know if your location is closed because of COVID.
Do consider using paid tactics to get your information to the right people as fast as possible
If your company needs to get Coronavirus-related content out as fast as possible, use paid tactics to distribute your information quickly.
Boosting an article that communicates news about canceled events, preparedness information or important news can ensure that your audience will see your message immediately.
In addition to sponsored content being distributed to a wide audience, you can also target exactly who you want your article to go to, whether it’s by age or location.
[Learn more about the MAT Release]
Don’t be caught without a plan to replace lead gen due to canceled trade shows
Is your upcoming trade show canceled? Most likely, yes.
Were you banking on that trade show to bring in a large number of new leads? Again, probably yes.
There are digital ways that can help supplement your lead generation.
By creating a gated asset like an eBook, template or whitepaper, you can direct users to your site and require an email address for them to download the resource. While it’s not the same as meeting face-to-face, you’ll have a list of interested people that you can begin to reach out to with calls or email campaigns.
Do start looking into video conferencing and webinars to replace live events
But, what if you were planning to HOST an event? You need to make the decision whether to cancel the in-person aspect of your workshop and what your next steps are.
Jay Baer has a history of attending and leading virtual events and has offered up his knowledge on hosting a digital conference. He talks about length (the shorter the better!), if you should have a moderator (yes!) and formats (you need GOOD sound, and video is a plus).
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your external communication
Since most of your in-person marketing opportunities will be limited, you’ll need to be creative.
- Video is huge, of course. Start upping your video output now and think about including them in email, social media or landing pages.
- Live streaming on social media is another option. To stream on LinkedIn, you have to fill out an application. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all offer live options, as well.
- Discord is upping their stream limit from 10 to 50 people during this time.
An update from us regarding COVID-19: pic.twitter.com/gKUXvvsqrs
— Discord (@discordapp) March 11, 2020
Do think about rearranging your budget
With events canceled, your budget might start looking a little different. Many airlines and hotels are offering free refunds, so you may have extra funds laying around.
Use this extra budget to create more content to help drive your business the best you can.
- Do you have complex information regarding banking or healthcare? Create infographics to get your message across.
- Do you need to drive more traffic to your site? Native advertising will bring more eyes to your company.
Don’t be too stingy on certain rules
Like I mentioned earlier, this is uncharted territory. Many companies are adjusting their practices to best serve their customers and the general public. Do you have anything you can do to help?
Many news sites are removing their paywall on any Coronavirus-related news.
Other companies are waiving fees or offering discounts, and letting their clients know through social media or email blasts.
Do prepare for work from home and remote collaboration
The reality that many companies within the country will face is a switch to temporary remote work. Make sure your team is ready for this.
- Do you have access to all the files you need? This includes making sure your team all has access to your content calendar.
- Is your company communicating through employer branding best practices?
- Are you personally set up to work from home? (Trello gives tips!)
Working from home doesn’t have to mean employee isolation. Plan to use tools like JoinMe meetings to have video conferencing to replace in-person meetings. Stay in contact with your co-workers, whether through Slack or Microsoft Teams.
We hope these tips provide guidance on how to navigate this uncertain situation. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need help making sure your company stays on track.