No question, the Coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 present an unprecedented “crisis marketing” challenge to marketers of all types and sizes, consumer and business-to-business marketers alike.
Consumers and business customers are distracted to say the least. Many businesses are closed, people are working remotely for the first time, or even losing their jobs. And many are busy shopping to stock up for the inevitable lock down.
Given this environment, is it even appropriate to do marketing? The answer is an unequivocal yes, but likely in different ways. Intuitively, clear and timely communication is required. Customers and prospects need to know that you are still doing business, or how you are doing business, e.g., revised hours, online sales, shipping schedules, etc.
So what are some specific marketing ideas and tactics that can be effective during this difficult time? How about a Top 10 list of Marketing Ideas for marketing during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Top 10 Marketing Ideas for COVID-19
- Place a “supportive message” on the main banner of your website homepage
- Change your company telephone message and oh-hold messages with a simple, supportive message
- Communicate directly via phone or email to your existing customers and other stakeholders (employees, vendors), reassuring them that you are here to help, with specific actions if possible
- TIP: Consider expanding your email list to new prospects, new markets, even new geographies
- Think of new ways your product or service can be used to assist or support the crisis, e.g. a software solution allows employees to work remotely with real-time reporting; publish content and communicate to existing and prospective customers
- Consider a relevant “Cause” that ties in with the crisis that your company can donate time and/or money to; communicate this cause in all customer communications, e.g., XYZ brand/company supports the Medical Emergency Relief International
- With uncertainty, customers may hold or cancel purchases; overcome this scenario with promotions like no payments for 60 days, Free Financing, price discounts, and more
- TIP: Promote offers via pay-per-click (PPC)
- Replace live events or meetings with virtual meetings via video meeting services like GoToMeeting, Zoom, and others
- TIP: offer $20 GrubHub gift card to attendees of a virtual lunch and learn
- Communicate ideas 4/5/6/7 with current and prospective customers, measure interest, refine promotions and “re-communicate”; consider email to existing customer and new, prospective customer lists
- Use social media to reinforce and amplify your messages, including use of #Hashtags to leverage trending keywords; for consumer targets use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube; for business targets use LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter
- Never exploit the crisis with overly aggressive pitches or profiteering
Never Stop Marketing
While customers might not be spending as before, they are still planning for the future. They might even have some time on their hands, so even in the midst of a crisis is a good time to continue or even increase marketing and communications. Why? Because when the crisis subsides, pent-up demand will unleash to the most effective and thoughtful marketers.