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7 things to consider when promoting your business during a pandemic

In order to survive, the reality is that businesses need to promote themselves right now. Fortunately, your customers won’t think any less of you for it. In fact, just 8% of consumers think brands should stop advertising due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But marketing is a delicate business, which is easy to get wrong at the best of times. So tact is important now more than ever – get out there and sell, but make sure you’ve thought about your approach before you do.

1. Give customers the facts

First off, be clear about how this crisis is affecting your business. Both existing and first-time customers will need to know what to expect, especially if your product or service has changed significantly.

Take century-old pie and mash shop Arments, which initially moved to takeaway only and later fully online, to protect their staff. Importantly, the shop has kept customers in the loop via its Instagram page every step of the way.

Arments has been through two world wars, so it’ll weather this storm too. Why? Because of its loyal following, who know what’s still available and the best way to access it.

2. Be supportive of government guidance

There’s plenty of ads right now that speak to our current situation, but the messages that reflect government advice tend to land the best. From IKEA encouraging people to stay at home to Coke reminding us to stay apart, big brands are playing a vital role in reinforcing best practice.

While you may not have a big marketing budget, your business can still get behind the official guidance. So when you’re communicating with customers, take the lead from bigger companies and remind people what they should be doing.

3. Be open and honest

If you don’t have the time to draft something formal or carefully crafted, that’s okay. Honest, heartfelt communications can be just as powerful, revealing the truth of the situation businesses are facing.

Craving Coffee, an independent coffee shop in Tottenham, came close to going under recently, as it exhausted the last of its cash reserves. Thankfully its crowdfunding page, which talks candidly about the company’s difficulties, has raised over £20,000 so far.

4. Offer a positive perspective

A lot of what we consume online right now can be a source of worry and anxiety. So it can help to switch off the news, take a break for a while and limit how we use social media.

But at the same time, social media has come into its own during this crisis. Suddenly it’s genuinely social – a valuable tool that helps us stay in touch with friends and family during this extended period of isolation.

So when you are feeling positive, why not shout about it? This garden centre in South London is a great example, which rarely used social media before but now frequently shares bright, uplifting pictures.

5. Don’t raise your prices

This should be an obvious one, but it bears repeating. If you’re providing a service that’s suddenly in much higher demand, your business might be doing well during this crisis. But customers don’t take kindly to price hikes and they have long memories too.

Both small and large firms have put a foot wrong here in recent weeks, as they try to boost financial gain with little effort. As expected, customers haven’t responded well.

6. See how your product can help

Whether it’s France’s biggest luxury brand producing hand sanitiser or Morrisons focusing on the essentials to get deliveries out faster, this crisis has seen brands direct resources to genuinely helpful activity.

Small businesses can do the same. There’s been no shortage of restaurants providing free meals to NHS workers, while textiles firms are crying out to make PPE. Think about what your business can do to help and make it happen.

7. Big up your team

Right now, customers want to see that brands are looking after their staff – with almost 80% saying employee health should be a key priority for companies. So give your team a starring role in your communications.

Take food delivery business Milk and More, which has had hugely increased demand during this outbreak. While admitting the strain its under, the firm has been celebrating its tireless milkmen and milkwomen, who are working night and day to deliver much-needed essentials.

 

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We hope this advice helps, as we all adjust to this new reality and how it affects the way communicate with customers. We’re trying to make sure we bear these considerations in mind at Fluidly too. 

Our weekly newsletter, Intelligent Cash, was launched to help business owners keep on top of their money – stress free. With the emergence of Covid-19, we feel an even bigger responsibility to bring you content that can help your business during this difficult time.

You can sign up for a weekly dose of practical advice here

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