The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the entire world to its knees. All the nations are struggling to cope with the situation through social distancing and remote working. However, the lockdown in several countries, including South Africa, has had an adverse impact on businesses. With positive cases at 3635, we have been able to control the community spread but must continue to live with caution.
The global economy and supply chains have been disrupted, and most non-essential services have been asked to shut shop temporarily. While the national lockdown has been beneficial in saving several lives in the country, it has forced small businesses to sell and market differently. If you are an entrepreneur or have recently acquired a thriving business for sale in South Africa, then you too need to modify your processes to survive the crisis.
The situation calls for maintaining optimum safety measures, creating a plan for the coming months and managing finances judiciously. Besides altering the operations, you need to make changes to the marketing strategy as well. So here are some tips for responsible and effective marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Communicate With Your Audience
The unprecedented conditions have caught everyone off-guard, and most people are feeling anxious and disturbed. Customers are worried whether they will be able to procure the required products and services during the lockdown. Thus it is imperative to send out a reassuring message to your target audience that you are still in business and are leaving no stone unturned to maintain hygiene and precaution at every level of production and distribution.
A recorded message from the business owner can be shared through social media profiles and the website which presents the facts. Instead of sounding preachy and up-selling your products, focus on empathetic marketing and inform them how you are ready to serve them in the critical condition.
2. Transform Your Marketing Campaigns As Per The Need Of The Hour
If you had been spending a lot of money on traditional advertising, such as newspaper ads, radio spots, POS, etc., then you need to put a stop on these promotional tactics. In the current circumstances, it may not be possible for a small business to sustain such expenses. Thus the way you have shifted your work to the digital medium, you need to move your marketing campaigns online.
However, make sure to continue with only those ads which are relevant in the COVID-19 affected world. You can spend on paid ads like Facebook Ads and Google Ads, which have become cheaper. You can include important information, such as no human contact and doorstep delivery for the products to enhance the confidence of the buyers.
Also, make sure that the campaigns do not hurt the sentiments of the public in any way during tough times. If any of the content seems inappropriate at the moment, then change it altogether or save it for later.
3. Pay Attention To What The Customer Wants
The apprehensions of buyers can become more pronounced in a catastrophic situation. Thus this is time to give them all the attention they deserve and listen to their side of the story. Use social media channels to understand their needs and worries during COVID-19 and what they expect from your brand.
Respond to emails and phone calls with care and concern and provide them with honest answers. Do not offer false hopes and tell them upfront about what can be delivered and what is not possible. Stay true to your promises and do not disappoint your customers by setting unrealistic targets as it is one of the main reasons why sales fail to pick up.
4. Create Awareness And Find Ways To Help
The priority of all businesses during the crisis should be to inform people about the pandemic and its ill-effects and also how to avoid contagion. Do not create panic among the audience and support them with compassionate communication and initiatives that can help the community.
If your business can offer masks and sanitisers to the poor or distribute food packets to the needy people, then it can be highlighted to showcase your humane side and inform people that you are standing with them and will help them in every way. You can also create videos about utilising time and limited resources during quarantine to uplift the spirit of depressed individuals. Make sure your content is valuable and responsible.
5. Focus on Local SEO to Reach Your Consumers
Social distancing and lockdown have made it impossible for consumers and marketers to travel far for buying and selling. In the current scenario, you will be getting more sales from the local buyers, and thus, you need to become visible to them. Most online shopping in South Africa is happening through mobile phones, and the percentage is all set to increase by 2022.
Thus you must update your Google My Business Page to offer the latest information about your business to your customers. The page allows the users to know whether the entity has been closed temporarily or what are the trading hours or whether it is providing home delivery or not. Thus it will help the locals to know more about your business, and it will not affect your rankings in any way.
6. Leverage The Social Network
Your consumers will be present online more than ever during the self-isolation period, and you can utilise social media to reach out to them. Keep posting on the platforms and interact with them through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Provide them with the latest updates about your business and how it is progressing through the current situation.
Talk about your disaster management strategy and how you are adopting modified business models to deliver the results. You can post about the safety guidelines being employed at your workplace and the safety measures being taken by the employees. You can offer discounts as the economic conditions may be proving taxing for the customers.
7. Act Responsibly And Recheck Your Sources
While trying to help by sharing significant information, make sure that you are getting the news from verified sources. In many cases, people have been sharing misinformation related to health and hygiene on social media sites, and these can affect the brand image.
For instance, if you are spreading awareness about proper hand wash, then make sure that the tap is turned off while you are applying soap so that water is not wasted. Become an authentic source of information and ramp up your corporate social responsibility.
Pivot your marketing strategy to make sure that you are adapting to the changing times and being helpful in comforting your worried audience. If you have acquired a business for sale in South Africa, then you must make use of the tips mentioned above to market effectively and sensibly.