It’s been four months since a mysterious illness started spreading in Wuhan, China, and just over one month since the WHO named it Covid-19. Yet the implications for social interactions and important business interactions are developing day by day and there is little chance that they will completely return to how they were before. “Social distancing” is the key phrase and when people no longer agree on whether to shake hands or not, whether they should accept flyers on the street, or attend public events, how do they purchase your products that they need in their daily lives?
What Do I Stop?
The focus for every business has got to be, where possible, minimizing human contact between your customer and your employee groups. Most governments around the world are recommending limits on numbers of people congregating, educating on social distancing, and in extreme cases limiting people’s free movement. Therefore, any marketing activities focusing on face-to-face interaction should be postponed if possible or cancelled. Marketing spend should no longer include:
- In-Store Activations
- Flyer Hand Outs in Public Spaces
- Community Events
- Incentives to encourage in-store purchases
- Door-to-door Sales
Not only are these dealing with a limited client base, but they can also create negative brand impacts with potential clients believing that your brand is ignorant of the current pandemic situation.
What Should I Do?
Pivoting communication and marketing techniques during unprecedented circumstances can be daunting for a business that has thrived with methods that are no longer effective. Structure your plans into communication objectives and communicate these to your consumer-facing staff and your existing and potential customers so that they can alter their interactions with your company.
These are easily implemented and communicated strategies that focus on the immediate changing dynamics. If you have relied heavily on physical space interactions between clients and staff here are some elements to focus on:
- Educate staff on the use of hand sanitizer, disinfecting of areas and personal space changes when dealing with customers. This includes staff visibly using these products in front of customers as well as putting up notices for customers to see. Make sure your staff keep distances from clients and only offer personal interaction when it looks like the customer is requesting it. Make hand sanitizer available for your customers to use as well.
- Use distance communication strategies that can include calling your most important customers directly, using customer email lists for existing clients and social media posts for potential clients. Address what your plans are, how things are changing and how these activities are taking Covid-19 into account.
- If feasible, offer delivery of products to those who have ordered, change the policies of direct contact with people and limit the exposure between your staff and customers.
How Does My Communication & Marketing Develop from Here?
Without the feasibility of low-cost offline techniques, digital marketing and communication strategies can be pivotal in short term communication as well as long term customer relationship management. Businesses and customers need to understand that digital stands to be the evolution of previous communication techniques and in many cases with some tweaking can fulfill the same functions and more. Sometimes even at a cost-saving to the business marketing budget.
With people spending less time in physical spaces, and with traditionally buying customers also forced to acclimatize to the new methods of ordering goods and services, online communities such as Facebook will thrive short term.
Duplicate Your Business Online
Creating an online business platform for your customers to visit offers them the opportunity to discover your products or services and online chat functionality allows them to interact on a personal level. Stores selling products can create virtual storefronts with a wealth of information about their products and benefits. Customers can browse at their leisure, outside of business hours, and request the assistance of your staff online whenever they need it. With a digital transition, your customers can purchase goods and order services easily from the comfort of their homes.
Use Video Vs Live Events
Video streaming platforms like Youtube and Twitch allow businesses to launch products, hold press conferences and engage with their community with a reach far greater than location-based events with reduced costs. Events can also be recorded for posterity for anyone to view at any time. Community managers can answer remote questions in real-time and with worldwide distribution to your potential audience without any limits on audience, technology improves on the existing marketing methodology.
Digital Billboards, Digital Coupons, Digital Introductions
While roads, parks and malls will have reduced foot traffic, digital display ads through Google and Facebook allow you to reach your intended audience with even greater precision, with lower costs and to be seen by more people. Promotions and activations using coupons can be disseminated through email, digital advertising & referrals without the printing costs as well as having the channel identified easily. With new audiences using digital mediums to search for services and products due to lifestyle changes, such as those caused by Covid-19, your business needs to adapt its approach and message to communicate with your clients.
Prepare for Economic Recovery
If you already have an existing website or digital marketing strategy in place, now may be the time to perhaps update your strategy with long term digital marketing goals. Perhaps your website needs to be further optimized for mobile as many new customers will feel most comfortable using this device. Perhaps you need to rework your digital branding or customer offerings and services in line with the changing economy. Without making snap judgments into uncharted spaces, now may be the time to improve on existing digital assets for when the economy recovers.
Keep Everything in Perspective
While the business landscape appears bleak and challenging, there are ways that businesses can transition to keep their doors open, their customers served, and their staff employed. Change is daunting but inevitable and most businesses will need to supplement or convert their traditional methods of marketing and communication to the new digital landscape.
With all this in mind, the focus should be on your health and those of your loved ones and the local community. If you’d like to know more about how your business can pivot to changing markets, speak to our digital marketing professionals today for more information.