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Digital Marketing 5 min read

Communicating During COVID-19: Do's and Don'ts

Dallin Porter photo

Dallin Porter

Communications Manager @ Galactic Fed

Published 04 May 2020

It’s hard to think of a time when the term “COVID-19” wasn’t on the tip of everyone’s tongue. We hear it on social media, our inboxes, the news, in advertisements, and on every channel. It’s a sensitive time, and for companies of every industry, navigating the world of communicating with their customers is proving to be confusing and proving hard to get right.

DON’T reach out for the sake of reaching out. We’ve all had our inboxes flooded with COVID-related updates from every company we’ve ever interacted with, and most people aren’t wondering how their local fabric store is handling the crisis. If you’re going to make a statement about it, be helpful. Everyone is tired of the “we’re here for you” messages, and they see right through it. If you really want to reach out, it should at least include some sort of COVID-driven offering like discounts, a donation drive, or online news sites offering free subscriptions to read COVID press. In a time where everyone is sending something, substance means everything. We spoke with Devin Schumacher, Founder of the digital marketing agency Serp Co, who said, “how annoying it was to get all those emails from companies you don’t care about, random companies saying “what we’re doing for COVID”, but it’s like, we don’t care, nobody cares what you’re doing.”

DO make sure your message actually adds value to customers. Ask yourself this question: will this communication help people understand how my services are changing in response to recent events?, Does it explain how these changes might impact them? If not, you might want to hold off on hitting the send button. Best Buy executed this extremely well, by breaking down what changes they made and what it meant for the different aspects of their business. Customers are interested in how their relationships with companies are affected by COVID-19. If these factors don’t intersect for your brand, then reaching out will most likely end up being another deleted email.

DO acknowledge what is going on. For some companies, this may look like revisiting their planned campaigns and scheduled content, readjusting, or scrapping all together. There is nothing more tone deaf than receiving a 15% off gym membership email or seeing a social media ad selling “your dream vacation.” We’re in a time where the whole world is acutely aware of the same thing, and bulldozing over that by pushing planned content that doesn’t speak to the conversation everyone is having, will do more harm than good for your brand. About this, Devin says, “I was writing blog posts about hyperlinks and what is SEO or backlinks strategies and people don’t really care about that right now because their business isn’t even open. They have other problems, so I’m not pushing that in front of their face, but I’m still working on my agenda.”

DON’T repeat the same message to every audience. This will require you to take a look at the different relationships people have with your brand. Are they customers, clients, stakeholders, staff? Evaluating how these people interact with you and on what level, will shed some light on the best way to communicate what changes your making, or policies you’re implementing. Devin goes on to say that “I follow a lot of gym marketing agencies and I noticed a lot of them doing the same things, and then a week later, a couple more. It would be posting the same stuff and I just was ad blind to it already, so I think at this point people don’t need to be reminded about what to do when they’ve heard enough of that already”

Yes, that may mean crafting more thoughtful communication pieces, but during a time where consumers’ ability to cut through the noise is at an all-time high, authenticity and relevance are king.

DO highlight the positive. As most are taking this crisis day by day, even hour by hour, infusing your brand communications with positivity, hope, and humanity, are the quickest way to connect to your consumers. The key here is to be upbeat, not dismissive. Customers need to know you’re taking the situation seriously, but could stand a dose of inspiration. Is your brand engaging in corporate social responsibility, helping those in need, or donating items? These are good deeds that will go unpunished, so make sure your audience knows about it.

There are unchartered times for countries, communities and companies alike, and in your brands’ desire to reach out and connect with your audience, it’s crucial to acknowledge what is happening, while offering valuable information, relevant knowledge, or even just a really good deal. As a brand, you have the ability to make a positive impact on your customer during a time of uncertainty, and following these do’s and don’ts can be the difference between your customer saying “I will” or “I won’t.”

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Dallin Porter photo

Dallin Porter

Communications Manager @ Galactic Fed

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