Like everyone else, we are concerned about what happens next. The recent pandemic became the biggest story in the world. It’s very existence threatened every business in America. Beyond that, it caught a good deal of us off guard. Few among us had any contingency plan in place to account for a full shutdown of the economic machine. No matter where you fall in terms of whether or not the shutdown was necessary, the reality is it happened, and there is a good chance it might happen again. The even sadder reality is that the government rarely ever helps any situation, but instead puts up roadblocks that get in the way of success to business. As a prudent business leader, it is smart to be prepared.
As such, there are a few simple precautions that you can take with future marketing efforts to ensure that you can maintain as much positive momentum as possible in the event of another such event.
The first of which is to make certain that your clients have a way to reach you. With the departure of employees shifting from on-site to a home office, workplaces were left in a state of partial abandonment. There is no more important aspect of marketing than maintaining a good relationship with clients and prospects. One very easy way to make sure the relationship stays intact is to ensure they’re able to reach you.
The first step is simply some sort of communication to your clientele that lets them know the communication options available. Emails are an affordable way to do that but may not reach everyone. In a crisis, it would be a good idea to go the extra mile to also send out a postcard or letter informing them that you are still here to serve and how best to contact you.
The next step is to consider how you can communicate remotely. There are dozens of options at your disposal to stay in touch with clients, customers and employees remotely. At our company, we use Zoom for video meetings and conferences. It’s been handy for us even before the crisis. There are other online video and audio conferencing systems that work very well.
Simply assuring them of your continued presence is only half of this effort. The other half is assuring them that you’re there for them. Events like these won’t shut down the internet. People will still be buying. It may be more difficult to buy in person, but it will still happen. It’s arguable that social distancing has made digital marketing all that much more critical. Consider how you can offer your products and services creatively to give as many options as possible – including both the internet and in-person.
Another essential practice to consider is to adjust your digital marketing to the reality of the situation. Even if you don’t agree with some of the social distancing mandates, many people do, and the last thing you want to do is chase people away because they do not trust you will keep them “safe.” For example, a product or service once marketed being “conveniently available” online can now be marketed as being “safely available” online. It’s a small adjustment to an existing platform with the same end result.
Consider how you’ve been marketing your brand and then find ways that you can make a transition from “convenient” to “safe” or “secure.”
Lastly, be sure that your team has all of the basics that it needs to succeed under whatever circumstances you face. For example, when an employee is in the office, it’s easy to see when they’re in need of an extension cord, mouse pad, staples, or other supplies. When the entire workforce is working from home, it may be more challenging. Probably the most important thing to consider is if they have a computer at home and do they have a good internet connection? Do they have access to the specialized software programs they need to do their job from home? Having the ability to work remotely is a handy tool, even in normal times.
The full scale of the fallout from this hurdle has yet to be determined. We are going to learn a lot in the coming months. But having a game plan in the event of another similar situation is an excellent proactive measure that anyone can employ.