Here I am, sitting at my desk, pounding away on my laptop. For me, doing digital marketing in a new COVID-19 world hasn’t changed much from what I usually do. But it has changed EVERYTHING for many businesses, large and small, for-profit and nonprofit, everywhere in the world.
Here are my marketing suggestions as we adjust to the “new normal” of being sequestered away from people.
- Consider your clients/customers first – what are they going through?
The best marketing starts with understanding your current customers and prospective clients. Who are they? What are they going through right now? In writing this blog post, I thought about all the businesses (and nonprofits) who are having to make do with going digital in their work process – or close temporarily (brick-and-mortar stores, for example).
What is going through their minds right now? What are their realities? For me, I have clients who span the range of extremely busy to being at a standstill. With that in mind, what can I do for them? What happens to their marketing efforts? These are the questions my clients are grappling with as they wake up to a world where people are staying at home, wherever possible.
2) Be helpful in a stressful environment
At its best, marketing should ALWAYS show how you are helpful. In this trying, tense time, it’s imperative that you move to being helpful rather than “selling.” If you run a successful business (or nonprofit), you must be solving problems for someone. What is that? Think from your best client or customer’s perspective: how are you helping them to move forward in their business (or in their lives)? What issue or problem are you solving for them?
For me, thinking about marketing in a COVID-19 world, I know that my clients, and many others, are navigating in new territory. This has never happened before in our lifetimes, so what does it mean when people are all staying home and avoiding crowds? What can we do when schools are closed and people are told to stay away from others? How can we market products and services in this new world? Or should we even do that? What if your product or service can really help people right now?
The answer is quite simple – and the same as it always is, really. Be helpful (as I am trying to do here). What counts now is what you do that makes a difference to others, to the world. Be the difference!
3) Get creative – how can you go the extra mile?
In stressful times like these, going the extra mile for your clients is very appreciated. Consider the HR consultant, who provides handbooks and other great information to their clients about managing people and processes in times like these. Or the event-focused website that offers updates on the latest closures and cancellations nationally and internationally.
Taking a look on social media: the posts that have “gone viral” show humanity at its best. The person who volunteers to go to the store and get necessities for people who are home-bound, such as the elderly. Italians playing instruments and singing on balconies, or hanging outside their windows, to be together while they are sequestered in their homes. In times of stress and uncertainty, it’s wonderful to see and share the best of humanity. Along those lines, what can you do for others?
4) Network virtually
Although networking events are being cancelled, you can still reach out to others. Now is the perfect time to call your clients and see how they’re doing, or set up a “virtual meeting” with someone you’ve been meaning to connect with. Platforms like Zoom and Skype are booming because of this need.
It’s also a great way to stop feeling isolated and alone. Do you have a pile of business cards you’ve collected at networking events? Start to call these people. Just to say hello and swap COVID-19 stories. What are they doing? How are they coping?
Talking to others – and seeing others online – all in the same situation, is a wonderful way to find solace in the fact that we’re all in this together – even if we’re all in our separate homes. Who knows? Maybe someone you contact will be a great networking contact in the future?!
5) Feel grateful for what you have
OK, this may not be “the best marketing tactic,” but I recommend it highly, especially if you’re feeling stressed about lost income.
- If you have a place to be right now -if you have a home – you’re extremely fortunate.
- If you don’t have someone sick that you have to care for – and you don’t have to worry about hospitals or doctors or healthcare – you’re extremely fortunate.
- And if your greatest concern is lost income – you’re extremely fortunate.
This episode will pass and humanity will go on.
When I start to feel sorry for myself, I remember that there are people who don’t have homes to go to, people who can’t go online to do business, areas of this country (and others) where people are dealing with this illness and are doing the best they can, under the circumstances. Feel grateful for everything you have and think about how you can help. While it may not bring you business, it will certainly lift your soul and your spirits. And who can put a price on that?
Feeling overwhelmed? Contact me and let’s talk. Even if it’s just to touch base with another human being. Remember: we’re all in this together and the more we can reach out and help one another, the better off we all are!