Rachael Whitson, Managing Director of Absolute PR and Marketing, explains why marketing your way through coronavirus is vital, and provides top tips to help you get it right.

Rachael Whitson

From the moment the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the Prime Minister announced a UK-wide lockdown, thoughts naturally turned to the impact restrictions would have on business, positive or negative.

 

For pubs, restaurants and cafes, social distancing requirements have had a massive impact, demanding a total business rethink, switching to a takeaway option to survive, or facing up to the harsh reality of having to pause business.

 

For other businesses, such as food wholesalers, the impact, albeit stressful, has been less extreme as demand for food and drink – although delivered in new and different ways – has been undiminished.

 

When evaluating the impact that coronavirus is having on your business, you may be considering what overheads can be iced. Our advice is not to cut back on marketing activities as you could find it hard to kick-start relationships with customers post-pandemic. Instead maintain them; review your marketing channels and evaluate whether you need to refocus your efforts to grow and develop your digital footprint.

 

It’s fundamental to the future of your business to maintain your digital footprint as your audiences are still listening, even more so now many of them are remote working.

 

How you communicate with your customers now will influence your relationships with them post Covid-19; how businesses behave now will also directly influence future brand perception.  Now is the time to do the right thing, to be more sensitive, understanding and informative.

 

Key to communications is knowing what to say, the tone you should be using and the channels you should be focusing marketing efforts on.  Read on for a few tips to help.

 

It’s time to focus efforts on digital channels – if you haven’t already

The digital world is currently flourishing with many people spending more time than ever on their mobile phones, iPads and laptops. So, if you are yet to embrace the digital world of marketing, we recommend that you start now.

 

This can be as simple as investing in Google Ads, generating more e-communications to communicate with and grow your database of customers/contacts, or spending time to improve your organic SEO to benefit your ranking on Google with new blog content. If you find yourself with more time on your hands, then why not go through your website and improve your copy and images while you have the chance?

 

We are not saying blow the budget, but to simply tailor your efforts and be mindful of how your target audiences’ communication patterns are shifting. In a nutshell, less print, more digital is the order of the day.

 

Stay active on social

There’s no question about it, pressing pause on your social media presence is a bad move, especially as social media platforms have seen a 66% increase in usage since the world went into lockdown – LinkedIn alone has reportedly experienced a 2000% daily increase in traffic.

 

Social media channels are tailoring their experiences and so should you. Instagram launched a ‘stay home’ sticker to encourage social distancing. WhatsApp has implemented a World Health Organisation Chatbot to answer any COVID-19 concerns. Facebook has created a $100 million grant program to assist small businesses dealing with the impact.

 

Remaining active on social media is essential. So too is tailoring your messaging to reflect the constantly changing situation. It’s ok to reduce the frequency of your posts but spend more time developing quality relevant content that reaches out and engages with your target audience.

 

Your customers are still interested in what you’re doing, and there’s an appetite for well-balanced posts showing humanity, how you’re evolving your business and services to cope with the current environment, what you’re doing to support those affected by Covid-19, and what your plans are for a return to normality; albeit a new, fluid normality.

 

Recommended posts include encouraging tips for keeping busy during lockdown, positive news and content which can help users learn or try something new, and updates on access to services or goods as rules begin to relax.

 

Being there for your audience, providing them with an escape and keeping them informed in these uncertain times will not go unnoticed.

 

Plan for post-pandemic

Although it might be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, things are beginning to change. This week (15 June), we are seeing shops on the high street reopening. Getting messaging right about shopping in a new distanced environment will be vital, and a dynamic approach will be essential as customers seek guidance before, during and even after shopping excursions.

 

As we return to some kind of normality, businesses of all shapes and sizes, in all sectors, need to be ready to bounce back. Preparing for and managing this is key, giving us all focus.

 

Now is the time to ramp up plans for campaigns across your marketing channels that will pull your business out of the pandemic and into the forefront of your audiences’ minds.

 

If you are looking for bespoke PR and marketing support to keep your brand visible, call our team on 01392 680740, or email us on info@absoluteprandmarketing.com

 

Absolute PR & Marketing

Absolute PR and Marketing specialises in public relations and marketing activities targeting businesses and consumers throughout the UK. The team of PR professionals has a broad range of expertise including significant experience and an impressive track record of working in the property, travel and tourism, leisure, food and drink, recycling, engineering and technology, marine and building services sectors.

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