April 15, 2020 Kyle Turk

7 Marketing Tips to Remain Effective & Appropriate During COVID-19

The way in which we market our business, products and services has been uprooted by the COVID-19 outbreak. In order to keep your content relevant you are likely adapting your messaging and content strategy to include the pandemic. Marketers need to walk a fine line during this sensitive time to ensure that the content they are producing is appropriate for the current pandemic.

The entire marketing landscape has shifted and marketers have been scrambling to continue to produce quality content that continues to resonate with their audience and augment the brands they represent. With no timeline in place for the pandemic, content schedules have been pushed aside and marketers need to be flexible enough to adapt each day as you don’t know what the next one brings. 

Here are 7 considerations for your marketing efforts during COVID-19 

1. Double check scheduled and current ads

It may seem unbelievable but I have still seen some promoted posts on LinkedIn targeting group outings or team activities. I think it is fair to say that these were either pre-scheduled or running before COVID-19 and just haven’t been turned off. Whatever the reason, it is still very insensitive to the current situation to have this type of content continuing to be promoted. Marketers need to take a full view of their current marketing activities in place and make sure they pause any content or ads that could have a negative impact on their brand. 

 2. Evaluate and be sensitive with messaging and wording

Marketers are known to be creative with their tag-lines, word puns and messaging. Given the current pandemic avoid using words like “viral”, “killer (i.e. killer info/ killer deals)” or health related terms in copy. I have seen a couple play of words using these types of terms to sell products and drive engagement but it comes off as insensitive. Take a full view of your messaging both on your website and content to ensure that you are being sensitive to our current environment. 

3. Adjust call-to-actions to avoid urgency selling tactics

Creating a sense of urgency is a common tactic used in content or promotions to drive a customer to make a desired action. Given COVID-19, my guess is some things just aren’t as urgent as marketers would like to think. This type of message and creating a sense of urgency is not appropriate right now. Switch your messaging to one of support and optimism to drive your audience to action as opposed to urgency. 

4. Provide educational content

With the majority of people self-isolating and social distancing, a large portion of your audience is likely passing time online. Use this as a chance to educate your captive audience on your brand, causes you support or services you provide. Now is the chance to be loud and engage in conversations to help educate your audience.

Providing a little extra advice or “how-to” styled content to support your audience during this time is essential. A great example is numbercrunch, an outsourced back-end finance company (bookkeeping, controllership and CFO services), has been providing detailed and timely updates on government financial support programs available to businesses in Canada. They are helping their clients better understand the qualifications and application process for these programs. 

Another example is Keynote Search, an executive search and recruitment company, has been providing content to employers to help with video interviews, remote onboarding as well as how to optimize LinkedIn profiles to be found by recruiters

Adding value and support will go a long way during this difficult time for many people and businesses. Find a way to add value to your customer base and audience. 

5. Create high quality webinars

I am personally a huge advocate for webinars. As to the previous point about adding value through content, hosting webinars is a very effective way to do so. Webinars seem to be increasing in popularity, however a lot of them have been a poor brand experience for the companies hosting them. What better way to have your audience ignore you and your other content by hosting poor quality webinars. If you are going to invest the time and resources to host a webinar, make sure you are doing it properly. I’ve been tuned into a few webinars where guests have cut in and out of connection, hosts and panelists have had poor quality  lighting, backgrounds, and audio. If you are going to screen share as part of the webinar ensure that you are prepared and have everything set up before you share your screen.

Content during the pandemic needs to remain top quality if you want it to be effective. Don’t fall into the trap of riding trends and not executing properly.    

6. Invest in paid advertising

A lot of companies and marketers pulled back their spends during the pandemic while others used it as a way to take advantage of less competition and lower costs in the auctions for keywords and terms in order to increase the effectiveness of their spend and overall ROI. Now might just be the time to focus on paid channels while it is more cost effective.    

7. Adjust your Payment terms to create payment plans

Price is a very important factor while companies deal with their current cash flow situations. They may have uncovered a need and are open for new technologies, products or services. Rethink your agreements and create payment plans to adapt to the current situation. By doing so, you’ll be able to continue to convert leads and drive revenues while your competitors might not be able to do so. 

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