This is a challenging time to be alive. Health concerns, global fear, financial impact… The world as we know it has turned upside-down, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are cutting marketing and communication budgets to save costs.

Is it necessary to keep communicating?

But we’ve got a different take on it that may help you: If long-term survival is your goal, now may be the best time to keep communicating.

Yes, because the world as we know it has changed drastically in a very short time. People want to preserve the parts of their lives that are important to them, and your business may play a role in that. If you haven’t already communicated your COVID-19 approach to your clients and other stakeholders, and you’re still in a position to do so, you should – soon.

Additionally, our email stats show that the overall open rate in March was incredibly high – like, close to Black Friday type stats! So, people are reading. As overwhelming and destructive as this crisis is, it won’t last forever. And when the dust settles, it will have made a difference to your clients and employees that you kept engaging with them. That kind of brand loyalty can help your business get back up and running faster once all this is over.

What’s the best way to do it?

Saying you’re going to keep communicating is one thing. Making marketing and other communications work during this period is another. Here are some tips:

1. Focus on low-cost channels

Budgets are tight. If you can’t get through the pandemic at normal speed on your company reserves, focus on the more affordable channels: email, SMS, and social media. According to Forbes, you can also get more from your social initiatives by asking your employees to authentically share your company content.

2. Stay ready to adapt

Every day, there’s a new development in this pandemic. Planning too far ahead just isn’t feasible. Keep your sights on the short-term and be ready to change your strategy as your environment and social circumstances change. In our marketing department, for example, we’re taking it month by month.

3. Personalise everything

There are millions of people sitting on their couches, ready and able to absorb your messaging. Capture their attention by speaking to them as directly and personally as you can. On email, you can use personalisation tags and dynamic content tools. On social media, target specific audiences with information that adds value to them.

Read the case study on how Flight Centre used dynamic content to boost website traffic from email by 388.72%.

4. Share helpful content

People’s buying patterns are inconsistent right now, and with the lockdown, many stores are closed. Keep your focus on maintaining and growing brand awareness with content that helps people. After all, that’s what most audiences are looking for – a helping hand. Not a sales pitch.

This is also a great time to go the extra mile to help out. Depending on your business, you can do this by checking in with clients to make sure they’re okay and offering support where possible. After all, we’re all in this together!

Use content to draw people to your brand with tips from our Guide to Inbound Marketing.

5. Remember to be considerate

A great tip from Google is to be conscious of your messaging and imagery. Now isn’t the time to be funny or insensitive to people’s pain by sending messages about touching, being out and about, or behaving like nothing’s changed. Make sure your messaging is considerate, your tone kind, and your content helpful and honest.

Leverage your content marketing mission statement during this time to make sure your messaging is aligned to the heart of your brand.

6. Adapt your SEO keywords

According to Media Update, another good strategy during COVID-19 is to adapt your SEO keywords to ones that your target audience will likely be searching at this time. This can also include just creating more content about the pandemic, the lockdown, and how you can support the people you’d like to attract to your business while we’re in the thick of it – always reference SA’s Corona Virus Resource Portal to ensure your information is accurate.

Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. And a global pandemic like COVID-19 is pretty extraordinary! So, if you’re making changes in your business to lessen the long-term impact, we understand. But be careful not to overcompensate by making it harder for you to pick back up when this is all over.

*This article was originally published on the Everlytic blog on 2 April 2020.