COVID-19 is undeniably spreading across the globe, causing widespread anxiety and disruption. With immediate health concerns being a priority, it’s also impossible to ignore the complications that arise for small businesses who are continuing their online interactivity. 

Every day, we experience a public change of perspective and disruption caused by this outbreak. So, keeping this in mind, we need to be on the front foot with readily adaptable communication efforts.

More than ever before, our main consideration must be to provide helpful, beneficial and valuable information. Here’s how:

Satisfy Your Audiences Need For Content 

With health officials directing more and more people to self-isolate, individuals will be looking more and more towards their smartphones for news, information and relatable conversations. It’s important that you take the time now to check over any scheduled social media posts to ensure they are sensitive and match the tone of what is happening. 

When sharing content be mindful to:

  • Not incite panic!
  • Consider your tone of voice. It’s really not the time to be snarky or sarcastic. Instead, empathy and carefully considered humour can go a long way to put people at ease.
  • Share only facts from reputable sources. Do everything you can to limit the spread of fake news.
  • Be honest! Be transparent about what your business is doing to share resources and help the vulnerable. 

Focus On Community Building

Now is the time to over-communicate, rather than under-communicate. Regardless of whether or not people are spending money right now, they are more attentive than ever! There’s no doubt that people will be watching and listening to every new protocol put in place, communication efforts, as well as your response to new information. All these learnings will essentially contribute to their decision to spend money with your business after the crisis is resolved. 

As much as your audience will be listening to you, it’s important that you also listen to them. Understand their perspective and their requirements and do your absolute best to address your customer’s changing needs. If this means less in-store contact and more online contact, make the decision and be quick to inform everyone concerned. 

In the case that business operations need to be postponed, consider how you can provide relief to your customers as a result of this. A refund or reschedule could mean a world of difference to those experiencing stress or hardship throughout this time. How you do or don’t offer relief could impact long-term relationships with your customers. 

Keep Ads Up To Date With Stock 

Did you know? More than 70% of consumers who consider themselves loyal to brands will move on after just one bad experience. This is why it’s indispensable to be open and honest with your customers. 

Do your best to not advertise out of stock items, and consider setting up an email marketing back in stock automation to keep customers clued in about inventory updates. 

At the moment, while Australia faces production difficulties, logistic trouble, and sparse inventories, there’s not much that can be done regarding product availability. The best response to this is to simply be transparent, be honest about your intent to restock, and afford shoppers with peace of mind. 

Should You Review Your Marketing Spend? 

It’s essential to take a holistic approach and assess your business plan for the future. Perhaps you can consider lowering budgets for non-essential campaigns, but instead, focus your spend on digital efforts such as your business branding or your website design. At the conclusion of this health crisis, these will be the investments that prove to be worthwhile in driving quality traffic to your site. 

For some food delivery businesses, health, and IT companies, it would be advantageous to increase marketing spend as these services are being needed more and more. 

However, there doesn’t seem to be much point in spending marketing efforts on traditional methods of marketing that may not be effective at the moment. For example, in the case of extreme isolation, physical advertising (billboards) are unlikely to provide any return on investment. 

Stay Calm and Take Control Of Your Marketing

Keep in mind that there’s nothing you can do about the spread of Coronavirus, except to follow instructions by health officials to self-isolate, wash your hands, and stay safe. 

The most strategic business move right now is not to fall silent. Stay on top of your owned marketing channels such as your website, social media accounts and email lists and simply communicate about your plan of action. There’s no one size fits all approach, so just take it day by day, keep calm, be kind, and always maintain a customer-first approach.