As much I hate to be the bearer of bad news to any proactive and well organised marketer out there, but (just in case you hadn’t realised yet) all those 2020 strategies that you meticulously prepared prior to the COVID-19 outbreak can go straight in the bin.
To be frank, they’re next to worthless and are just not going to cut it right now.
So… what will work?
There is no denying that these are incredibly strange times. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everybody. It’s nowhere near business as usual for your audience, so it shouldn’t be for you either.
If you’re not acknowledging the current climate, no matter how well-intentioned you are, you’re going to come across as insensitive and out of touch. This is a once in a lifetime global situation, and if you’re not adapting your marketing strategy right now, you’re only going to get left behind.
Now is the time to make it known that you’re not looking to sell your customers unnecessary products and services, you’re not looking to capitalise on their struggles, but you’re going to be there for them because you genuinely care.
It’s called Support Marketing.
Your audience is spending a lot of time online, and I mean a lot of time.
This is a no brainer really. People are locked inside their homes, they’re away from their friends and family, and they’re turning to social media for not only interaction, but also for comfort.
If there’s ever been a time to engage with your audience on social media, the time is now.
However, you must remember that the priorities of your audience have changed. People in isolation are relying on social media as a way to connect, stay informed, support each other, and stay entertained. It’s a lifeline for people, and you need to be incredibly sensitive to this when marketing on these platforms.
Creating this support system and switching up your strategy also has the potential benefit to create a halo effect for your brand.
We need to face it that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. Even after it’s gone, we’re not going to be forgetting about this period quickly. People will remember who was there for them during their time of struggle, they will remember the businesses who cared, and the support they received as life starts slowly progressing back to normal.
So, here lies the perfect opportunity for you to put your foot on the pedal, amp up your marketing efforts and be there for your audience in a time where your competition is probably backing off.
What exactly is Support Marketing?
We may all be physically separated, but emotionally, people are becoming closer and more engaged, and have more time to consider and really feel what is being presented to them.
This means that marketers need to move away from the more traditional transactional approach, and towards a more compassionate strategy that is sensitive to the current climate.
Support marketing is all about adapting your strategy in these unprecedented times, creating a relationship based on empathy and understanding rather than buying and selling.
To give you something to think about, here are four key areas that you may wish to consider when developing your support marketing strategy.
- Compassion and support – Prioritise compassion and understanding in all of your communications and look at ways in which you can provide support to your customers to make their lives easier during this difficult time.
- Connect – Something many people are striving for are ways in which they can feel connected – to their loved ones and to their community. So, think about ways in which you can assist your audience with this need. How can your brand make reaching out and connecting easier?
- Teach – With so much extra spare time on their hands, people are more open than ever to learning a new skill. Can your brand teach them something? How can you change your strategy so that instead of selling them a product or service, you are teaching them something new?
- Entertain – Let’s face it. We can all do with a break from all the doom and gloom every now and then. So, how can you brighten your audience’s day by providing a genuine escape from what is going on in the world? I think this is a very important one. At the end of the day, you want your audience to feel good about your brand, so directing them away from a situation every now and then that they are feeling anxious and down about, and towards a positive brand association is only going to pay dividends in the long term.
Just remember to remain responsive and flexible. Also remember that a message that was perfectly appropriate a few months ago might be completely out-of-touch or insensitive today.
Things are changing hour-by-hour in this current landscape. Make sure that you are staying across it and remain ready to re-evaluate and update your support marketing strategy regularly.
Above all else, as marketers we need to remember that we’re dealing with people. People that are struggling, people who may have lost their jobs, people that are separated from their families.
Your marketing strategy should reflect these issues and remind your audience that we’re all human, we’re all feeling it, we’re all in this together, and we’ll get through it all together.
I always love to receive feedback (positive or constructive) on this or any of my posts. Feel free to contact me at any time.