Marketing in a Pandemic

These are trying times indeed, and the “new normal” is definitely not normal.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation, and changes to what we can do and where we can go happen almost daily.

Many businesses have temporarily closed, and many others are having staff work from home.

Most companies are sending emails about the COVID-19 virus. It’s an important subject, and it’s reassuring to get messages from your bank, utility company and other essential services during this period of uncertainty. But some businesses can risk looking tone deaf with their emails.

You want to stay connected to your customers even in times of crisis. What’s the best way to do that without looking insensitive?

Your Message Is Important
You’ve most likely built a rapport with your customers through your email campaigns and social media. Now is a good time to reach out. A message about how the pandemic has affected your business hours or operation is appropriate. You can also send a message with wishes that everyone stays safe.

Your Tone Is Even More Important
You need to be very careful when writing copy. In the “old normal,” it was common and effective for brands to use a conversational tone. In the current climate, it’s better to avoid using humor or wit. It’s far better to be more serious in your approach. Keep a positive, inspirational tone. Nothing too casual or humorous.

Your Choice of Words Matters
Some words that used to be very common in advertising are now problematic: a good example is Killer (as in a “killer deal”) or Contagious (“how to create contagious content”). Even the word Viral (in connection to marketing) should be avoided.

You also want to tailor your copy to create the most appropriate message. When reaching out, take the position of helping an individual or community, not capitalizing on the current situation.

Use words like “contribute,” “connect,” “play a role,” “navigate,” “cope,” “respond”

Avoid words like “capitalize,” “advantage,” “offer,” “gain,” “profit”

People Still Need Things
Even though many people are staying home and buying less, they still need essentials — and even non-essentials. If you have an online business, you can offer free or reduced shipping on orders to help your customers get what they need. Restaurants can make sure their customers know about delivery services and take-out options. Running a special on meals — buy one enter get one entrée — can also be an approach to consider.

Maximizing Social Media
Social media has never been more important. Stuck inside and away from friends and family, people are posting and sharing more to stay connected. Usage of all social media platforms — Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok — is up significantly. As a business, you want to connect with your customers, but in a way that is helpful and supportive.

As always with social media, you want to keep your customers engaged. Let them know your company is either doing good for the community, which helps build trust, or present content that makes people feel good — positive content that can be shared.

While traffic is up on Facebook, cost-per-impression ads have gotten cheaper. Now is a good time to advertise, as you can maximize your marketing budget (a real concern in these uncertain economic times).

Whatever strategies you try, remember that staying positive is important. We’re all in this together, and we’ll make it through.

If Farmhouse Creative can help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.