Current events today are unprecedented. The coronavirus has caused chaos for many lives and businesses in ways that are nothing short of disruptive- for many, alarming or possibly even frightening.
If you are like us, you want to stay abreast of the latest and evolving news about COVID-19. Yet, the constant barrage of coronavirus information and updates is generating a level of stress some have never experienced.
Given your first priority is safeguarding your loved ones and home, and that you have created a safe and healthy environment for yourself and those in your care, perhaps your thoughts or worries are also wandering to business. If so, you are not alone. For businesses across most industries, pressing concerns include possible effects COVID-19 could have on first and second quarters’ revenue and profitability.
While the situation is undoubtedly serious, and it requires our full-and-upright attention, we would suggest that communication focus and ingenuity are two essential elements for keeping your business relevant in these distracting times.
Whether you are a business owner, member of an executive or leadership team or a communications professional, being proactive and strategic is imperative for unifying your messaging. In times of crises, internal and external communications for your business or brand need to convey clear and consistent information.
From a marketing communications perspective, being proactive is essential to cut through the noise and maintain open lines of communication to and with your target audiences.
For those of you who are facing canceled business events at venues, trade shows, design centers, or other onsite encounters, consider contrasting your marketing engagement strategies. Start by tackling the chasm in physical networking by implementing new digital marketing tactics. Whether you have an active digital marketing program or not, these times call for a vastly more robust approach to digital and viral connections.
Digital marketing has given rise to the restructured marketing of brands, products and services by implemented digital methods. Fueled through mobile phones, devices and desktops, a surge in screen-to-screen messaging, for now, can replace face-to-face networking. Best of all, when things calm – and they will – one result can be a stronger union of digital and in-person marketing for you or your sales and marketing teams.
For the foreseeable future, online display advertising, paid and unpaid social media, video series, Google Ad Campaigns, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, and, yes, sometimes Facebook Ads Manager can act as a foundation for business-to-business, business-to-consumer and business-to-community outreach.
If you’ve implemented these tools in the past, now is the time to revisit how, where and when to supplement your marketing plan with them. Increase their presence and frequency in your day-to-day promotions, or start by adding them to the marketing mix.
Then, there are automated marketing programs, inbound leads generators and thought-leadership webinars, along with other best-in-practice digital mediums. Productive marketing plans involve initiating these tactile virtual events and activities for branding, regardless of canceled onsite events and meetings. Stretch your marketing muscles with a host of highly creative digital connections, and harness the power of reaching more qualified and quantified targets. Not only will this advance your brands share of voice, you’ll gain new prospects for sales by reaching them for the first time or exponential ways.
The current necessity for increasing engagement with target audiences is also rife for developing a strategy with the newly popular social video marketing, which is a digital content and distribution method driven with the support of influencers. Influencer marketing offers one type of beneficial “halo effect,” which involves a positive perception of a product, service or brand by having relatable, similar experiences, or given the optimistic view or opinion of another. Influencer marketing serves real results for brands and businesses when deployed, monitored and managed across pertinent digital platforms and online channels.
Start by identifying top influencers in your area of marketing and business. Assess their online and digital presences, gauging which could act as trusted authorities or ambassadors of your brand. When you create your influencer program, the single-most critical factor is to stay focused on exactly how your carefully selected influencers will endorse the professional services you provide to your clients, or the products you sell to your customers. These digital communications can be utilized for blogs, social media, e-newsletters, infographics, images, photos, online testimonials, online reviews, and the list goes on.
Having suddenly entered this era of critical mass-messaging to your important audiences, we recommend the best means of developing corporate or brand messages is to concentrate on being authentic, empathetic, professional, and clear. This is the time to follow your company’s brand and messaging standards like never before.
If you do not have brand or messaging standards, read the rest of this article and then schedule a meeting with your marketing and executive teams, or with your public relations agency. Conceptualize, draft, review, and refine a set of guidelines, copy and content for your business’ communications, spanning diverse segments within your internal and external contact databases.
Choose prudently the ways in which to communicate online by generating an advanced schedule of timely and valuable insights your business has to offer. Information-packed e-newsletters, online educational sessions, virtual product displays, satisfied-client case study videos, and Facebook Live are only the cusp of many available digital platforms you can put to use to accomplish digital connectivity.
Your personnel can post and share the information with your customer groups, sales prospects, vendors, media members, and others. The result will yield digital engagement that replaces the in-person interactions that have been lost by canceled conferences, trade shows and networking events.
Digital Decisions: Where To Go From Here?
Digital marketing can be a persuasive instrument to expertly reach wide-ranging contacts from the comfort and safety of your desk or home office. Properly managed, it can be a marketing teams’ roadmap to incorporating digital platforms, strategies and messaging power that will maximize promotions and publicity.
But, many marketers have only yet to implement one or two facets of digital marketing, whereas the reality involves vast prospects to maximize the concept. If well planned and judiciously activated, your digital marketing communications will help you reach and win new customers or clients, as well as sell consumer products and professional services.
With the pressing current events of today, all of us are distracted and concerned. Though, most, if not all of us, are online throughout the day (and night). Connectivity and the chance to interact are just a click away.
We are rooting for you as you invoke focus and ingenuity for building and maintaining new or boosted digital connectivity with your target audiences today and in the weeks to follow. If you need professional consultation and public relations support, we are here for you. Connect with us about your digital marketing, crisis communications, publicity, or just to digitally say hello.
The team at Eberly & Collard Public Relations