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Marketing during quarantine – the worst thing to do is nothing

March 19, 2020
Jon Bauer

We are in unsettling times with office closings, events canceled and many business activities in flux. However, we are still connected online and we can’t just sit around doing nothing. As marketers, we need to be creative, and continue to interact with clients and prospects, introducing solutions, meeting needs and doing the best we can despite the circumstances. Here are some thoughts to keep your company (not to mention yourself) connected with your audience while most of us are working from home.

First thing’s first

First of all, watch your existing campaigns. Make sure nothing inappropriate or irrelevant (ex. an event that was canceled) is being promoted. You don’t want to appear out of sync with what’s going on in our marketplace. (We recently got a message from a restaurant promoting franchising opportunities — while most restaurants are closed!) 

People haven’t disappeared

Just because we’re not having in-person meetings and events doesn’t mean the world has stopped and people aren’t interacting. More importantly, users are consuming content like never before and are looking for relevant information and solutions that can help their businesses now and in the future. Here are some ideas for how to make the most of your marketing, even when most people are working from home.

Proactive outreach

Depending on your business, and the realities of a long-term quarantine, your product or service may be of help to your customers managing through this crisis. Now’s the time to reinforce that, while showing empathy. Let them know what you’re doing to be proactive and thoughts on how we’re all going to get through this together. An email or phone conversation to check in with a friendly “hello” and “how can we help?” can go a long way!

Over-communicate, letting your customers know if there’s going to be an impact on delivery, completion of projects, or any sort of delay during this time. Most professionals are in the same boat, attempting to work with limited resources, so make sure you’re in regular communication with them. Chances are they’ll be understanding as long as you let them know if something is changing. 

Virtual booths

With so many high-profile industry events canceled in 2020, there’s a lot of reduced exposure. However, many of these organizations are turning their cancelled events into virtual trade show booths, allowing attendees (and even those who weren’t going to attend in the first place) access to the speakers, demos, presentations, and information provided virtually on a section of their website. Risdall has already helped clients make this transition after the sudden cancellation of HIMSS 2020 and is seeing very positive results. This inconvenience has sparked innovation and new ideas of how to do things differently for future events — building contingency digital plans or virtual booths for anyone interested in seeing the information that was to be presented at the event, not just the people who were planning on attending. 

Targeted lead generation

If you aren’t doing this, now is the time to start. Creating targeted demand and lead generation campaigns can give you an edge in a marketplace that is more competitive due to this crisis. Defining your target audience and driving inbound sales engagement will result in conversions and sales. Even in a down market, there is still a need for your product or service and targeted inbound marketing allows you to find those who need your product and service and deliver a relevant message to them.

Update your metrics

Don’t wait until the end of the second quarter to reset your expectations for marketing results. We can safely assume numbers are going to be down across the board so make sure you and your leadership agree on updated goals and metrics for the coming months, if not year. We’re still not sure what the long-term impact will be so review and be realistic about what your business will (and will not) see. 

Got extra time? Update your content

You’ve probably already seen cringe-worthy communication that clearly should have been removed from distribution now that events are canceled and most people are stuck inside. (For example, a retail store campaign is of little value right now when people are hunkering down.) 

If you’ve got extra time with cancelations, it’s a great time to review things that often get placed on the back-burner; in particular content. Now’s the time to define and write future blog posts, long-form content like ebooks and whitepapers, and determine your social media posting schedule. Now is the time to create content that is educational and informative and positions you as a thought leader in your industry. Good content posted now can position you for greater visibility and boost your authority as things return to normal. How great would it be to have a significant portion of your content for the rest of the year done and ready for the coming months?

More than anything, stay active

The worst thing any business can do right now is be complacent. Everyone is still active online and available to receive your marketing and content. Work with your marketing team (or agency) to think through the best course of action for your business during times of uncertainty. If necessary, rethink your current plan to make sure you’re being creative about keeping your business visible and maintaining relationships. Things will return to normal and hopefully, the economy will come roaring back. What you do now will impact your business a few months from now.

Don’t panic and if you’d like to talk through ideas and strategy to keep your marketing successful while most people are at home, please contact us.

Let's make your marketing shine, even when most people are home.

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