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21 April 2020

Communication best practices in times of COVID-19

COVID-19 has literally turned our world upside down over the past few weeks and is calling on us to change – a lot! From staying home and having video calls with your children interrupting to online yoga classes and… adapting your communication strategy.

Here are our four key takeaways of things you should definitely look out for nowadays.

1. Understand your customer

Big or small, your company should always put the customer first. Try to put yourself in his or her shoes and identify their pain points and gains. Start with your personas and ask yourself how they have been affected by COVID-19.

For example: if your persona is now working from home, he/she might be looking for a quiet space to do so. Or maybe your persona still has to physically go to work and has to find a – safe – way to take care of the kids.

Then think about your customer journey. What needs is your persona trying to fulfill? Are there other, maybe more urgent needs since the COVID-19 outbreak? Have pain points, but also gains, changed? Are they using different touchpoints now?

The goal is to find opportunities to solve (new) pain points and improve their journey. Adapt your communication to answer their needs so you really speak to your customer.

How? Take the example of small yoga studios suddenly doing live sessions for hundreds of people – where they only had max. 10 participants before! Why? Because they are answering a ‘new need’: doing workouts at home.

Examples of how brands adapt their communication to meet changing needs

2. Make sure you stay relevant

The right message to the right person at the right time is more important than ever to avoid damage. There is nothing as harmful as an advertisement that doesn’t apply to the current situation – this might even show you in a bad light.

Check your content calendar to review planned posts and campaigns and check if they can still go live at the proposed date. If not, put them on hold or fine tune them. Even more important – and what companies sometimes tend to forget – is the need to adapt running ads. Make sure you take a good look at SEA (keywords, tag lines and destination pages) and social media ads. Any campaigns running to win a city trip or get a restaurant voucher? Put them on hold! This raises more questions than it will bring you leads, like: “Is this still valid?”, “Yes, but when will we be able to fly again?” or “Can I still use the voucher after corona?”

Make sure you remain relevant during COVID-19

3. Go for solidarity (and use it for brand building)

New trends have been popping up: local shopping, helping out others and showing solidarity. We’re all in this together, so let’s make the best out of it and show support. It could not only build you an online reputation, but also attract new clients!

Let’s have a look at your offering. Is there any way you can slightly adapt it to cater to the needs of the current situation? This could appeal to new people you might not have been able to reach before.

Think about breweries adapting their production line to meet the growing need for hand sanitizers; website builders developing end-to-end e-commerce platforms where local traders can sell their products; or online conference providers who offer their software now for free. (Don’t forget to communicate about it!)

It’s a nice opportunity to make people aware of your brand and lock in clients for later. If you offer a service for free during the lockdown, chances are high that users will extend their contract or buy your product again after this crisis.

Take the opportunity to make people aware of your brand and lock in clients for later

4. And, of course: prepare for the future

After the rain comes… the sun. Make sure you already start preparing your comeback.

With us all at home and some day-to-day tasks falling by the wayside, we may find the time to review our marketing strategy. Is it still up-to-date? Has this situation influenced it (new target audiences, new offering, etc.)?

Define (new) objectives, goals and KPIs for the rest of the year and choose the one metric that matters: your most important metric to measure success. This will help you prioritize and take decisions.

Build your future campaigns upon this OMTM. For example, if you want to increase the amount of website leads, make sure you build campaigns that lead to conversion. It doesn’t make sense – in this case – to run awareness campaigns or send visitors to a page without conversion points.

And, last but not least: don’t forget to communicate your (new) strategy to your employees (again) to have everyone on board!

You don’t need us to tell you that we are living in uncertain times and that our companies are under a lot of pressure, but you can believe us when we say that it brings some opportunities as well. We are definitely seeing some cool stuff happening – at a fast pace! Companies that always wanted to do e-commerce but never got down to it, are now trying it. Factories reworking their production lines to provide hand sanitizers and face masks.

So, let’s look at the bright side and make the best out of this situation! And don’t forget: we’re all in this together! 😊

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