The New Normal - Marketing During COVID-19

The world is starting to adjust to the new, socially distant, normal. How can you market your business through this changing business landscape?

Coronavirus
Current Situation

The pandemic has caused global social and economic disruption, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression. It has led to the postponement or cancellation of sporting, religious, political, and cultural events, supply shortages exacerbated by panic buying, and decreased emissions of pollutants. 

Recommended preventive measures include hand washing, social distancing, wearing a face mask in public, disinfecting surfaces, increasing ventilation and air filtration indoors, and self-isolation for people who suspect they are infected. Authorities worldwide have implemented travel restrictions, lockdowns, workplace hazard controls, and facility closures. 

Wikipedia

What This Means For Businesses

There is so much information available about who can and can't open, what date, what measures need to be in place and all the intense health and safety measures that are now essential. It feels as if we have been so lucky for so long to go about our business is relative safety pre-COVID. 

It's easy to get lost in the lists and plans, we just wanted to make sure the marketing of it all stays on your radar at this difficult time. Your audience may well have people from all of these spectrums of COVID attitudes:

Shielders

People advised to stay at home for medical reasons or just choose to. They may venture out occasionally, but in general, these people are doing their very best to avoid contact with others, doing all they can to stay safe.

Social Distancers

Most people seem to fall into this category, following guidelines but also ready to get back into the world. Keeping away from people outside of their bubble but venturing out for meals and events that seem safe. 

The Old Normal

We've all seen them brushing past whoever they like and other risky behaviours with no care for the consequences. These folks are not a group we suggest you target, but a group of the population you should be aware of. 

When you think about your marketing activity you should always consider how each of these groups will react to your post. Where possible, depending on the type of service you offer, you will most likely be targeting the Social Distancers, making a concession or online offering for Shielders and making clear your rules and guidelines to prevent The Old Normal from putting off the other two groups from using your service.

Top 5 Things to Help Marketing Your Reopening Business

There's loads that you can do, but as time is precious here's some of the most important things to consider:

Connect

It's never been more important to say connected with your customer base. Depending on who your audience is, there are probably one or two platforms which will capture the majority of them, for example, different age ranges preferring different social platforms. Don't forget - your preferred platform may not be the most efficient way to keep in touch, think of your customers first. 

You need to keep your website up to date, as the one source of truth about what's happening with the business. By all means, post about re-opening, but be sensitive to the fact that some people may not feel able to visit your business just yet, if you had started doing take away, for example, it would be sensible to keep those options open for those still shielding. 

Big sales and promotions for anything which encourages people to go out of their house can be received with some mixed responses ar the moment - it may be safer to keep these in your back pocket for a later date. 

Keep Ahead

You and all of your competition are allowed to open on the same date, keep an eye on what they are doing. If they have some simple social distancing measures in place which you haven't thought of then can you implement them? You don't want people seeing the competitor down the road as the safer option as we settle into the new normal. 

Keeping ahead can take many forms, it's not all about speed. We've seen restaurants which didn't open on the first day they were allowed, using messages about improved safety and proper training - especially with an older customer base this has worked wonders. 

Remember this is all new territory, so keep your eyes peeled and your mind open so that the best way to keep everyone safe and still make money doesn't pass you by.

Safety Notice

You should have a statement, a PDF, a page on your site, a post on your social or if you really have marketing capabilities a video explainer that tells customers what you are doing to keep them safe at this time. Are you using an online queuing system? Do you have full visors for the staff or just masks? There are no right or wrong answers, but you should be giving people this information before they visit. 

It works to assure social distancers that it's safe to visit, the old normals that you expect them to act accordingly and the shielders that you care - even if they can't visit, they might be more likely to use your online service or visit you when they are able to if they know you are taking the guidelines seriously. 

If nothing else it's polite to give people the details, no one wants to show up and be surprised at the moment. 

Reviews

For anyone who is concerned about the precautions you might be taking, a review from a fellow customer about how safe they felt can encourage them to visit. This does, of course, rely on you having safe practices whether that be for your staff on-site, your delivery service or in your store - people want to know that you as a company are going to keep them safe. 

As much as your own safety policies and information will reassure them, the final push they need to brave the outside world and spend their money with you could be the social proof of another customers experience. Here are some great online review sites to push for reviews on.

Once you obtain that all-important review screenshot it, design it into a nice image, post it on social media, add it to your homepage. Do what you can to spread the word that your business is a safe place to visit, order from or work with. Unless it's negative, then you need to handle that negative review quickly.

Be Kind

We're all getting used to the new normal, some more quickly than others. 

It's a crazy new world out there and people, overall, are adjusting well. However, there are those who cannot or will not accommodate the changes. Everyone is having a slightly different experience during the pandemic, with different medical needs or levels of understanding of what is going on. 

If you are seen to be kind to the different communities you work with while they are struggling through this pandemic then you will reap the benefits of loyal customers and staff for years to come. So keep the struggles of everyone else in mind when phrasing your messaging at the moment. 

That's our top tips for your marketing. But there's one last note we wanted to make for your business overall.

Prepare to Pivot

The most recent new guidance (27/07/20) is for face masks to be worn in all shops, but not restaurant and bars, presumably because eating through one might be a challenge. 

We have seen the guidance change often, we've seen decisions come in unexpectedly early (and late!). By this point, we shouldn't have to remind you that you need to be ready to change in response to new information as quickly as possible. 

We can't tell you what's coming next, but we can tell you there will be changes. Be ready for them and keep your mind open to the new possibilities.

Keep Calm And Wash Your Hands

If you would like any advice about your marketing during this pandemic feel free to reach out. We're experts in all things digital marketing and we're here to help. 

Feel free to get in touch for advice or for a quote of outsourcing your marketing to us.  

Posted by Becky Cockman on July 27th 2020

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