By now, most of us have been flooded with content related to the coronavirus.
Emails that explain, in great depth, how every brand we’ve ever worked with is approaching the pandemic. News stories about the virus’s progression, and about the multiple flubs and fumbles being committed by businesses both great and small. Social feeds flooded with memes and arguments.
Either your brand is among those that have yet to issue a concrete response, or you’re wondering if what you’ve done thus far is sufficient. You wouldn’t be here otherwise. Let’s talk about what you should be doing (and what you shouldn’t), both in your messaging and your overall business practices.
- If you operate a digital storefront, add warnings on your website that customers should expect shipping delays due to COVID-19.
- Create and share branded content related to the pandemic where both relevant and appropriate. This content should provide direct value to your audience in some way.
- Send out a single email blast to customers who have subscribed to your mailing list, explaining how your brand is approaching the pandemic.
- Allow all staff to work remotely, and put the necessary frameworks in place to ensure they can do so and remain both mentally and physically healthy.
- Follow the news related to COVID-19, and update your policies and processes accordingly.
- Scale back on your marketing and advertising efforts. While it’s true that people are spending more time online, these are uncertain times. People may, in light of the financial challenges posed by COVID-19, be less likely to spend money.
You should not:
- Ignore advice given by medical professionals, or respond to them in an insulting fashion when they offer advice. Accept that they likely know more about the situation than you do, and remain professional while interacting with them.
- Attempt to use the coronavirus to drum up business. As reported by news publication The Star, the owner of a Subway franchise in Calgary, Canada tried offering free masks with the purchase of food.
- Engage in any manipulative marketing tactics that prey on your audience’s fear or uncertainty regarding the pandemic.
- Overdo it with COVID-19 updates on any of your channels. Again, a single email blast is enough, and may even be overkill. Most of your customers are likely tired of hearing about the virus by now.
Like it or not, we live in a historic time. The challenges presented by the coronavirus and the changes it’s forced onto businesses around the world are both unprecedented. But they are not insurmountable.
It all goes back to understanding your audience and empathizing with what they’re going through. Do that, and everything else should fall readily into place.