The Consortium Lounge Affiliate Kellie O’Brien shares her top three tips for Marketing through COVID-19

While many Illawarra businesses will be tested in some form by coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s important businesses think long term in relation to marketing.

Sure, you may need to adjust your 12-month marketing plan, but with 66% believing their social media usage habits would increase during this time (Source: IZEA), now more than ever it’s important to be where your ideal client is – online.

If your competitor is cutting back, that’s an opportunity for you to grow your audience and those relationships. How does that position you when you come out the other side of this?

Here are 3 tips to help your marketing during COVID-19:

  1. Meet your ideal client where they are

So where should you be showing up? First, you need to understand WHO your ideal client is – the person you most want to serve in your business – and WHERE they’re hanging out?

Talk to current and past clients to determine what their online habits are right now so you can show up and meet people where they are.

Within each platform are different forms of marketing too. Facebook alone has:

  • organic posts on your page,
  • Facebook Live videos,
  • Messenger,
  • Groups,
  • Watch

What makes the most sense for your business? The key is to keep it simple. Less is more.

  1. Adapt your marketing plan and language

Before you leap into making changes and shifting plans, it’s important to consider a few steps first.

Listen to your audience to know what they need

If your business is still operating, you have the luxury of being able to ask your clients or customers what they’re most struggling with right now. But if your business is currently on hold, visit online spaces where your ideal client is (you know where these are now) and listen to the conversations happening on pages, groups and in videos.

For example, my accountant is putting out newsletters that outline what the stimulus package is for individuals and businesses. Then underneath this it provides a comment that, in layman’s terms, explains exactly what that means to me as a business person. Other firms are simply copying and pasting government website information without adding value.

Look at what you already have in place

It’s important to look at what you already had scheduled for your next quarter marketing activities.

Then decide:

  • what should be paused immediately
  • what to prioritise or pivot
  • how you can prepare for the next stage of your business by looking to the future.

Those businesses that have the ability to be creative and adapt will achieve the greatest success during this period.

An example of a business adapting their marketing plan is One Agency JD Property Agents in Fairy Meadow. It’s annual in-person Easter Egg Hunt instead used Virtual Reality home tour technology to create a virtual Easter Egg hunt throughout an off-market property. People are looking for fun and entertaining content.

Other small but important changes include adding a post on your Facebook page that outlines where your business sits in the current climate and what measures you have in place if you’re still operating. Being transparent at this time is important to build trust with your clients and customers.

Be conscious of your language and tone

Some of your usual language may need to be adapted to ensure your tone and message are appropriate. If you’re unsure, look to your purpose, vision and values as your guide.

While highlighting how your brand can help through resources and content adds value, don’t be afraid to sell too. You may be nervous about appearing opportunistic, but remember that selling is service and not sharing how you can help deprives others of what they might need right now.

Just ensure you practice empathy and are sensitive to others in all communication.

  1. Build genuine relationships through conversations

Two of the goals my clients aim for when doing marketing are:

  • driving people to your shopfront. In today’s environment, that means your website.
  • building genuine relationships.

A little while back Mark Zuckerberg said:

“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions”.

This highlighted how important relationship building and conversations were going to become in our social media marketing. Now they’re more important than ever as our interactions move online. The reality is, it’s not too dissimilar to what you’d do in person:

  • Add value first through stories that entertain, educate and inform
  • Create two-way conversations to build genuine relationships. That means replying back when someone comments
  • Care more by knowing how to respond to feedback. If you attract negative feedback, respond with kindness.
  • Do more videos, especially live videos where people are able to engage with you in real time, like Facebook Lives.

The conversations you start now, will matter to your business in the future.

Whatever your situation, now is the time to get creative and double down on your marketing to ensure you’re in the best possible position when you relaunch.

About the author: Kellie O’Brien

Kellie O’Brien is a Wollongong author, speaker and consultant who specialises in online marketing and social media for coaches, consultants, service professionals and small business owners who feel they’re simply throwing darts at a marketing map.

Kellie empowers business owners to purposefully use storytelling, strategy and systems to build online marketing pathways that consistently move your ideal clients from discovering who you are online through to investing with you.

With 16 years as a journalist, 5 years owning a PR agency and now as an online marketing consultant, Kellie lives and breathes story and strategy and would love to work with you on your next campaign or strategy.

Contact Kellie at Kellie O’Brien Media today

Ph: 0418 172 533