Jaymie is the CEO of Jaymie Scotto & Associates (JSA), the premier public relations, marketing and event planning company for the telecommunications / technology industry.
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, companies need to investigate how, where, and when to market. It can be viewed as a tightrope walk as companies and brands balance a sensitive and compassionate tone with finding ways to stay up and running during an uncertain time.
In the first few weeks of the pandemic, many companies flooded customer inboxes with messages about how they were reacting to COVID-19. What do you say or do next? Some companies have impulsively scaled back their marketing efforts during a crisis, but now is not the time to take your foot off the marketing pedal. Instead, take a close look at your current marketing strategies and adjust them. During this crisis, you can and even gain a competitive advantage by investing more, not less, in your marketing strategy.
Here are five ways you can twist your B2B marketing plans to effectively position your business during the pandemic.
1. Customize your messages
Find ways in which you can put your audience first by using messages with a sensitive, relevant, authentic, and compassionate tone, and make a point of addressing their needs, questions, and concerns. I delved into this topic in depth in my last article on Best Branding Practices During the Pandemic. This message is intended to illustrate how you are helping customers while respecting the seriousness of the situation. If you have a service that can save businesses money during this time, adjust your mindset and message to be customer-centric rather than filled with sales pitches.
Press releases and social media posts don’t have to stop; they have to adapt your content to the current tone. Take into account the timing of product launches and news by measuring the news media and social conversations to ensure your announcements are relevant and appropriate for the current business environment.
2. Get virtually face-to-face
If you planned to invest money in trade shows or other on-site events that have since been canceled or postponed, consider investing that budget in virtual events. With the help of virtual meeting programs like Zoom or Google Meet, you can reformat personal events into engaging virtual meetings. Hosting or attending virtual events and webinars is a fast, interactive, efficient and effective option to connect with your customers and prospects in real time.
3. Redirect marketing spend to expand your virtual engagement
When reallocating marketing dollars, consider leveraging digital advertising to grow your branding and online business. Social media ads help you send consistent messages to your current customers, networks, and prospects. With people now spending more time at home and online, now is the time to jump into digital ads if you haven’t already. In addition to increasing brand awareness, ads can also help you capture new leads and build your email marketing list. To get even higher quality leads, consider using LinkedIn’s lead generation forms with your sponsored content on the platform.
You can also work on improving your company’s SEO. Invest in your search engine optimization so that you can improve your organic rankings now and be better positioned when the pandemic is over. With so many people on the internet, this is an important component in keeping your digital properties relevant and on track.
4. Focus on current customers
Lasering your current customers has never been more important. To be present. Listen to your existing customers. Find out what your customers are doing and saying by monitoring their behavior and sentiment about your industry or brand on social media. You may discover a new problem your business can solve or find an opportunity to communicate something that your loyal customer base desperately needs.
It’s also important for your company to show empathy and put customers first in every communication. Not sure where to start? Consider these questions:
• How can we help our existing customers?
• Can we offer more products and services?
• Can we offer you discounted prices or added value?
• What partnerships can we form to improve our products and services?
5. Share more content – and make sure it’s appropriate
As traffic increases on both news websites and social media platforms with more people at home, a strong content marketing plan is vital.
Companies can add value and help with stressful events. Let your brand tell your story by leaning on the human side of your business. For example, share more personal and charitable stories to connect more with your audience. Using employee-generated content is a sincere approach to humanizing your business during the pandemic.
The content should be about the value your product or service offers and how customers benefit when they are ready to buy. Remember to keep your focus on helping people so it doesn’t appear like you are bragging or serving yourself.
Here are some tips on how to create suitable content in this unfamiliar time.
• Make sure you adjust and reevaluate campaigns and content that were planned before the pandemic.
• Make sure your messages are empathetic and not deaf.
• Create helpful content to educate, entertain, and inspire people.
• Create value by keeping employees informed of your business operations, closings, or policy updates.
• Communicate the value of your brand at this critical time.
Don’t stop your marketing plans as we maneuver through this crisis. A strategic fulcrum with global awareness and tact can be your guide to continue brand awareness and reach in this new marketing landscape.
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