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What Marketing Should I Do as Businesses Re-Open?

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EJ Phillips

As most state governments slowly ease lockdown restrictions and re-open economies, businesses are eager to get back into the game, drive revenue and earn some much-needed income. However, back in business does not equal back to normal.  Or, rather, we need to come to terms with the oft-used phrase “new normal” which includes continued use of social distancing strategies. 

For those of us in the marketing world, this means tap dancing between “come one come all” language while still being mindful that we are far from the end of the pandemic. It is not simply a return to the way things were.  Yes, we want all to come to our businesses, but safely, in an orderly fashion six feet away and perhaps clad in a mask. 

To that end, here are some marketing pointers for your business as you enter this next phase of the pandemic.  Download Crisis Communications eBook

1. Emphasize Health & Safety in your Messaging 

We are not out of the Covid-19 woods, and your messaging should reflect this. The health, safety, and well-being of your employees, customers, and target market is still priority #1.  As you craft your messages, be mindful of the following: 

  • Many of your customers will still be limiting in-person meetings. As you create content, it should still reflect the knowledge that many will still be teleworking and utilizing video chat. 
  • Cultivate a tone of patience, calm, and optimism. Your brand is concerned about its customers and the public at large. While you may feel a sense of urgency to get your customers back in your business, expressing this too boldly may appear that you are not taking public safety seriously, or worse, you are not enforcing social distancing policies. 
  • Avoid stock photography that includes large group gatherings or people not practicing proper social distancing. 

2. Announce Your Plans for Re-Opening 

Just as you shared how your business reacted to Covid-19 in March, your target market also needs to be kept in the loop as to how your business is pivoting now. Within a week of re-opening, draft an email to clients highlighting your business’s plans to re-open and what steps it is taking to keep employees and customer’s safe. Let your market know what steps it is taking now and what steps you will be taking in the coming months in the event restrictions loosen even more or tighten up more.  

3. Create and Distribute Your Playbooks for re-opening safely. 

Your customers and employees want to know how you plan to reopen safely.  While some guidance and company actions seem to be universal—such as stickers on the floor denoting social distancing spaces—other behind the scenes steps you are taken may go unnoticed.  Think about some of the questions your market and employees may have and try to head them off at the pass.  You can even let your customers and employees have access to all of your reopening playbook.  Forbes reported that global auto part supplier, Lear, created a free reopening playbook that has now been downloading over 25,000 times!  (Talk about valuable content!!)  

4. Anticipate Your Market’s Content Needs 

The brilliance of Lear’s reopening playbook was that it anticipated a need and filled it, without even having to be asked.  And everyone loves the brand that meets unknown needs.   

As we reopen, your customers and target market will have plenty of questions, which may include: 

  • Should I focus more heavily on lead generation now that some venues are opening back up? 
  • Demand is increasing again: when should I rehire my employees? 
  • How do I handle my employee’s requests for summer vacation time? 
  • How do I hire new virtual employees? 
  • When will it be safe to start planning for more face-to-face events like seminars and trade shows? 

The sooner you begin thinking of the questions your market will be asking, the sooner you will be able to provide your audience with answers in the form of meaningful content in blogs, videos, and social media posts, thus driving more engagement with your target market. SEO and keyword analysis are all over the place these days, so your best bet is to home in on what your buyer personas are going through.   

5. Slow Your Roll in Lead Generation 

The truth is no one is certain what the next few months will hold.  It appears that many industries will only be able to recover a portion of their usual revenue.  Your numbers, KPIs and goals should remain lofty, but reflective of our current economic environment.  We like the idea of aiming small and missing small.  Be targeted and direct.  Start small and slow, especially in the B2B world, where many companies are being cautious in their spending. As always, knowing your market and what it is facing will help you to properly scale your efforts and not waste precious resources. 

More than ever, it is important to remember that effective marketing is always helpful and human.  Engage with your market.  Listen and respond.   

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