Over the past several weeks, the world as we know it has quickly changed as drastic steps are taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are feeling the impact as key conferences, events and other in-person meetings are canceled or postponed, leaving companies unable to find and engage with current and prospective clients in this traditional way. So, where do you go from here? By thinking differently, organizations can effectively reach target audiences – even leveraging some work that’s already been done – and communicate thoughtfully and deliberately.
In this environment, typical marketing messages are no longer valid or appropriate. How you approach the situation and communicate can play a significant role in your short- and long-term relationships. To help prepare your business now and for the long-haul, here are a few of our recommended communications approaches to help guide your strategy and stay top-of-mind in front of all audiences.
Don’t add to the information overload. With hundreds of marketing emails landing in audiences’ inboxes daily, it’s crucial only to communicate when you have something meaningful to say. While now is not the time to be silent, each and every communication should serve a specific purpose. Work smart to maintain visibility through other relevant channels beyond email, such as social media or your corporate blog channel.
Be transparent and empathetic. Keep internal and external audiences informed with communications that are clear, factual and actionable. Detail the steps you’re taking and when to expect the next update from you. Be mindful of people’s privacy, and always remember to be empathetic. It’s an unprecedented time and we’re all going through the same challenges.
Scenario planning. Everyone is in uncharted territory, both professionally and personally. It’s also likely that an employee, colleague or family member will be impacted by the current crisis. Be proactive by mapping out all possible scenarios, the overall message for each, who will need to be notified and how. This should also include contingency plans for supporting your customers should your staff become ill.
Implement a personalized content strategy. Employees and external audiences should have different messages and different channels that are clearly defined. Determine what messages are appropriate right now and what platforms are most useful to reach each audience. Consider ways you can personalize offerings to address customers’ or prospects’ most urgent concerns as part of these messages.
Don’t forget about your automated communications. Organizations commonly leverage email marketing to maximize lead generation efforts leading up to industry conferences or tradeshows and have campaigns pre-set to run. Be sure to check these programs and put them on pause.
Re-evaluate budgets and redeploy funds. As refunds are distributed from the numerous conferences and events that have been canceled, organizations will be challenged to redistribute available dollars quickly. Turning to digital marketing strategies and tactics can be an effective way to stay in touch, engage, nurture and retain specific audiences, safely and deliberately.
By taking steps to remain proactive, you will have built a strong foundation that makes sure your relevant audiences can find and interact with you when they need your services or support– even outside a conference gathering. Maintaining this mind share can go a long way in building momentum and preparing your organization for success during an uncertain time.