As a B2B copywriter and marketing consultant, I have been working with clients of different shapes and sizes during this crisis. I have found that all my clients have had to respond in different ways in terms of their marketing activities.
Some, like me, are sole traders and also primary carers for their children. Whilst they are fully used to working from home and working digitally, they can usually rely on children to be in school and if there are holidays coming up, they can flex their schedule around it so as well as a potential reduction in business, they are also facing a massive reduction in available time to work on their business.
Others are larger and with employees to consider, have rightly had to focus on the essentials of keeping the buisiness afloat, or are making tricky decisions about cuts and furloughing staff. I have also seen individuals that feel that it's important to keep marketing in a crisis and to stay visible. Those clients want to talk about the opportunities for their customers.
Keep your audience up to date on how you are trading during the Covid 19 pandemic
The thing that all the businesses have in common is that their own audience are interested in how they are navigating the current situation and if they are trading, they want to hear about any changes to normal processes. As with the basics of content marketing, it is worth taking the time to think about what your own customers would want to know during this time and what are their pain points. Also relevant is to consider if their pain points have changed (permanently or temporarily) and if your produce or service can still meet that need.
Aside from specific marketing campaigns, some short and relatively simple activities are worth completing in order to update clients and prospects as to your availability and trading situation.
- Create a call out on your home page with a Covid 19 update - are you open? How can your customers get in touch with you?
- Update your Google My Business profile with any changes to opening hours or contact details
- Create a new out of office reply if your response times have changed. Think about your branding and use that tone of voice in your response.
- If appropriate, email your clients to give them an update on the situation and how they can work with you.
- Stay social, if you are working in alternative ways, share it on the appropriate social channels. With many more people working from home, you may find that you are able to make a more personal connection with your audience than usual.
Support your local community
Where possible, look for opportunities to support your local community. That could be through raising the profile of other small businesses that may be trying new things and needing to reach different audiences. Alternatively if you are able, you might be able to volunteer time or resources to a local community group that is helping the more vulnerable. Lastly, there are lots of causese that you might choose to support if they align with your business values, even a small donation at this time will be appreciated when charities are being hit hard by a lack of fundraising opportunities.
Grow your way?
There will no doubt be opportunities in some industries for growth of course it is right to create marketing campaigns to support this. As with all marketing campaigns, try to align to your business values and create content or marketing materials that are sensitive to what many businesses and families may be dealing with. Focus on the value that your product or service can bring and how it can help others rather than selling hard.
My approach to the current crisis
For my own business, I have altered my trading hours and am currently only working with existing clients until the situation changes. With two primary aged children at home, it is not feasible for me to take on any new work or to continue as was. One of the reasons that I choose to work freelance is to have a career which allows me to be there for my children and whilst this is unplanned and we don't know how long it is for, we are adapting as best we can as a family. I plan to stay active on some of my social media channels but mainly by sharing life behind the scenes or encouraging others. Unfortunately I had to pull out of some PR activity and business development work. I will continue to cheerlead other small business owners and look to support you in the best way I can.