Marketing during COVID-19 – what to say and how to say it without sounding salesy or insensitive.

by | Mar 28, 2020

The workplace has shifted. Most of us are currently working from home and now have access to more communications channels and distractions during our working day than we usually would. This presents an excellent opportunity to double down on your marketing and start building lasting relationships.

I hear your concerns - what should you say, and how should you say it without coming off as too salesy or insensitive?

Our number one piece of advice is to meet prospective customers where they’re at, and be the helpful guiding hand they need.

When you think about your customer avatar (your ideal customer) and how to empathetically market to them right now the first thing you should think about is what key fears and / or problems are they facing right now that you can directly help them with? During a crisis what people value most from their suppliers is the reassuring of having someone they know, like and trust offering a guiding hand and going the extra mile for their customers in their respective field of expertise. That’s how you need to show up right now to both prospects AND customers. It’s all about building relationships through being genuinely helpful and supportive. This should underpin your entire marketing communications strategy - asking ‘how can we support and be more helpful to our prospects and customers during this difficult time with the knowledge and experience we have? And then communicate that to them’.

You can’t pretend to solve all of their problems in a day, but what you can do is help them right now to solve the key problem/s that your business is already set up for and become recognised as THE person they know, like and trust in your respective field and therefore their go-to when the time is right for them to buy; be that now, a month from now, or in a years time.

Coming back to your USP and Value-Add, you already know your products and services add a tremendous amount of value to customers, otherwise you wouldn’t be selling them. What you need to do now is really think about the MAIN value you can add, the fears / problems you can help solve right now in this time of crisis, and (if appropriate) how and why your product and service is perfectly positioned to help people and businesses get through this and thrive out the other side. If your product or service doesn’t directly solve a need right now this second, or you can’t deliver due to the lockdown, consider other ways your knowledge and experience can be of service. Can you provide some basic DIY tips that complement your service and prospects and customers can get great value from, or perhaps a customisable template or worksheet for them to get started on?

In one way or another we are all navigating unprecedented unchartered waters right now and fear is the main emotion we are all feeling in some way, shape or form. In your industry and with your experience, how can you help dispel Some of that fear by meeting them where they’re at and solving one (or more) major problems they’re currently facing? We’re not suggesting you tell them you have the ultimate 10 step guide out of this thing, but you do have an offering of value and you need to communicate what that solves at the level they’re at.

For example, If you’re an accountant this might mean summarising the key government initiatives via an email campaign to your client base and across social media to your prospect network to calm their fears about finances over the next few months. You’re not directly pitching in your accounting services, but you are solving a problem of needing information and reducing the fear around understanding and accessing the financial support available.

If you’re an IT software company it might look like offering a free 7 day trial and explainer video showing how online software can help staff do manual tasks more efficiently and effectively online using automation and therefore save time and money (two key things everyone has front of mind even more right now). Again this isn’t directly selling your product upfront, it’s communicating the benefits of using online software tools and demonstrating how they can solve a key problem right now of limited time and money.

The tone of your marketing communications during this time should echo that of talking to a friend and offering genuinely helpful advice on the area you have specific knowledge and experience in. Keep that in mind and you won’t come across as too salesy or insensitive during this difficult time. You’ll instead build lasting relationships with prospects and customers who will think of you first and trust you the most when the time is right to purchase the product or service you offer. That might be now or it might be in a month or a years time. But the relationship is already formed and you are top of mind; that’s the purpose of successful marketing.

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