Every business needs a proper marketing strategy in place. This is especially important during times like these – when unfortunate circumstances are changing our everyday lives. COVID-19 has affected most countries’ economies, which prompted a lot of businesses to change or improve their marketing strategies.
What Is a Marketing Plan or Strategy?
A marketing plan is a strategy that businesses use to reach and attract their target market or audience. A well-devised marketing strategy can help customers make a purchasing decision and choose your brand.
Marketing strategies should be laid out even before you launch the business. You should determine what your approach will be even before customers hear about your business. However, you should have backup marketing plans, too, if ever the first one doesn’t work out.
Modifying your current marketing strategy during this pandemic is important as you have to make sure that you are adapting to your customers’ needs and wants.
How to Adapt Your Marketing Strategy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Now that we have discussed what a marketing strategy is; it’s time to discuss how you can improve and modify your marketing strategy to make sure that you will still be able to satisfy your customers’ needs.
Give Your Customers What They Currently Need
Be a lot more thoughtful than usual and put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Think about what they need during these trying times and try to provide it. It doesn’t have to be big – even the smallest gesture can make them feel important and cared for.
For example, you can give your customers temporary access to some of your VIP features. You can make it available to everyone for about a week or so. This way, not only will they be able to try your products or services – but they will also see that you, as a brand, truly care about them and that you understand what they are going through as consumers. A lot of people have lost their jobs during the pandemic, and helping them with the smallest of gestures will likely make them feel thankful.
Try to focus on this for the meantime, rather than blatantly promoting your business. You can go back to your usual routine once the pandemic is over and the economy is a lot more stable.
Exert More Effort on Your Social Media Marketing
Most people are stuck inside their homes due to quarantine, and what do people tend to do when they are at home? They either watch TV, tune in to the news, binge-watch their favorite shows on Netflix, and of course, go online.
A huge percentage of people are using their social media accounts to stay connected to their loved ones. They are also using it to catch up on the latest Coronavirus news. You, as a business owner, can make good use of this by subtly promoting your brand on social media.
You don’t have to sell your products and services blatantly – simply trying to engage with your consumers is enough to get their attention. Post relevant stories that will add value to your customers’ everyday lives during this pandemic. Make sure to keep your posts interesting or your customers will just scroll through it.
You can try engaging with your customers by replying to their comments and offering help. You can also send them messages if needed, just to let them know that you are listening.
Be More Compassionate and Empathetic
During a pandemic like the one we’re in, the last thing that you’d want to sound like is a robot. Make sure that your posts and ads show compassion and empathy towards your audience. Most of them are likely dealing with some sort of problem – emotionally or financially, and the last thing that they would like to see is a hard sell ad from businesses.
Words and photos might not seem like they would be of big help but during times like these, even the smallest gesture can appear like a grand one. Make sure that all of your posts reflect truthfulness, empathy, and compassion. This way, you can let your customers know that you truly care about their wellbeing and that you are not only here for their money.
Help Your Community Out
This would be the best time to try and help your community out. As we have mentioned earlier, a lot of people have lost their jobs during this pandemic, and giving back to your consumers in any way that you can will mean a lot to them.
You can consider volunteering or donating to your local community, which are both great ways to show your customers that you truly care about them. You can also sponsor events that will help build funds for your community.
This way, not only will you be able to help your community out, but you are also showing them that you are willing to lend a hand during times of need. Encourage your staff to help out as well so that they can build a connection with the community, too.
Be Ready With Changes Regarding Your Operations
Your operations will likely change due to the pandemic. Your manpower will be reduced, leading to delayed orders or canceled services. Factories are closing down, too, which means that the supply and demand chain will not be as smooth as it used to be.
To prevent your business from getting affected and your customers being disappointed, make sure to apply the following tips:
- Be honest with your customers. You should never make a promise that you cannot deliver on as this can easily make your customers lose trust in your brand. Be transparent and set realistic expectations. Be honest about service levels, product availability, launch dates, and so on.
- Come up with automatic responses. Most social media platforms allow automated responses. This is doable through email as well, so make sure to craft one for every platform. This will properly set your customers’ expectations so they won’t be in the dark about what’s happening with your business.
- Be available online. Almost everything is done online these days – customer and business communications are mainly done through CRM apps, online classes are done either through Zoom or Google Classroom, and people stuck at home are counting on deliveries. Make your business available by revamping your online services. Offer digital transactions and make sure to have proper support for it.
Listen to Your Customers
It’s vital to listen to your consumers now more than ever. You have to know what they feel and why they are doing what they are doing. Do your research or appoint a group of people to stay updated with news regarding Coronavirus. Regularly set up meetings so you and your team can decide how you can help your consumers through your products and services.
You should also make sure that your marketing people are doing their best to monitor customer care emails. Make sure that your hotline is always open, and that your customer care services are always prompt when it comes to replying to social media messages.
Train your staff beforehand so they would know what to say to your customers. Listening will help them understand what customers are going through, which will help them be more empathetic. Again, you would want to make sure that you are honest and transparent with your customers so they would not be disappointed with your brand.
Let Your Customers Know How Your Products and Services Can Help Them During the Pandemic
Your consumers’ needs will change, and so should your products and services. Make it a point to relate your products and services to what your customers need at the moment. Direct your ads towards how they can help them make it through this pandemic. Make people realize that your brand is still essential to their everyday needs, or else they might forget about it.
This might mean that you may have to shift your focus from one product to another, and that is totally okay. You have to make sure that your products and services will still be of great use to your customers during these difficult times.
Ask What They Need From Your Business
Your consumers are the heart and soul of your company, which is why it would make perfect sense to incorporate them into the conversation. Invite them to make suggestions on how you can better serve them during the pandemic. You can send digital surveys or do social media polls to make sure that your consumers’ suggestions will be heard.
This way, not only will you be able to know what your consumers need during this pandemic, but you will also show that you are really listening to them and that you are willing to change things up in order to serve them better. This will help build trust and strengthen customer loyalty.
Reworking your marketing strategy during a pandemic is vital to keeping your business alive. Avoid sending out the same emails and messages as this might make you sound like a robot. Acknowledge the current situation and be open to changes. Economies and social situations are constantly changing, and it’s time to revamp your marketing plan and strategy.