The fast paced spread of the coronavirus has impacted everyone and all businesses in the UK, and around the world. In this unprecedented time, it’s difficult to know what the future holds for many businesses but through measurement, insight and support we are committed to helping all our clients navigate through this uncertainty.
If, like Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead, you’ve been in a coma for the last month and you now find yourself on our blog, let’s get you up to speed:
What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as cough, temperature, fever and in severe cases breathing difficulty.
How does coronavirus spread?
Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
As communities and industries around the world respond to coronavirus and lockdown, this presents unique challenges for businesses. Here are some tips and recommendations to help navigate through this with your customers.
This information has been sourced from the World Health Organisation. To learn more about coronavirus, visit who.int
What the UK are doing to stop the pandemic spreading, and why this affects your business?
As there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease, and we have no immunity, most communities are protecting themselves by washing hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol based hand gels, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoiding close contact with each other and staying home. If people feel unwell, they are self isolating for 14 days.
In the UK, we are under a lockdown which means the government has enforced closures on all “non-essential” retail stores, referring to all shops that do not sell food or medicine. The general public should all stay at home unless for absolute essentials, emergencies, or for one exercise per day. The rationale being if less of our community get sick, the NHS can potentially cope better with the pandemic and less people will die from virus.
As a result, most industries are facing challenges around hours of operation, supply chain issues, a huge increase or decrease in demand which is difficult to cope with. We have identified some tips that will help you get through the next few weeks and months of this pandemic.
Our tips for marketing your business and communicating with your customers
- Staying informed is good for business — and your mental health
It’s more important than ever before that your customers know that you’re there for them, whether that be an update about a product coming back in stock, or changes to service hours, information on the precautions your taking as a business to ensure safety and continuity – this is all information that builds confidence between your business and customers and that will help us all navigate through this pandemic together.
Be current and be transparent. Build trust with your customers by pro-actively communicating with them about business updates and product/services.
- Communicate with your customers
If you have a social media page, or business listing on Google or Bing, use it to update your customers and audiences on your new hours of operation, or let them know how your business is changing to serve them even if your place of business is closed. Use posts to communicate directly on your company profiles, and include any special offers, stock updates or business information. Consider adding new Frequently Asked Questions to your website, covering the basics of how your business is coping with coronavirus.
Most people are now working remotely and footfall around the high streets has dropped considerably. So consider that most customers and your key audiences are now spending more time online. Websites are now your shop window like never before.
- Modify your advertising
Ensure your advert creative is accurately communicating relevant information to your customers, whether your business is open or not and if you offer helpful services like expedited shipping.
Pause campaigns that are impacted by supply chain issues or increased demand.
Adjust in real-time, as behaviours change we need to ensure products and services react to demand across all channels and strike the right tone of voice.
- Invest in video
As social distancing becomes the norm, we are all likely to turn to video to adapt and cope with a more isolated environment. If you feel like creating video to communicate with your customers, consider these topics:
- How you can carry on whilst working from home
- Learning videos and demos
- Experiments with your products or service
- Invest in your website
Although this virus is wreaking havoc on our healthcare systems and on financial markets, there is a massive surge in digitalisation as audiences and customers are going online in greater and greater numbers than ever before.
Many businesses are looking at short-term survival during this uncertainty, and that makes sense if you’re in a business that has been forced to close and furlough your employees.
But there is still opportunity in the medium- and long-term to connect with people who are spending more and more time online, and guarding their money, their data and their privacy more than ever.
- Invest in Email Marketing
Inboxes are being overwhelmed right now, with more businesses communicating via email than ever. There’s a rapid increase in overall email volume being sent out. Your own mailbox has probably also been inundated with emails from what feels like every brand you’ve ever been connected with in any capacity. Now is the time to think like a subscriber: How companies use your email address matters in a very tangible way. Keep it personal, helpful, concise, and only for critical updates. And above all, stay safe and well.
- Constantly reassess
As markets change and daily guidance from the government changes our behaviours, it’s important to constantly reassess your business, your marketing campaigns, creative and how you serve your customers. The one consistency in this situation as that things will change. Because of the uncertainty, reassess every possible touchpoint for your business across paid and owned channels.
Ask yourself every day “what is the right thing to do today for this moment and this context?” and if the answer is no, pivot and adapt.
Another good question to ask yourself is “what ways can our business be helpful to people and other businesses in this moment of need?”
For example, should you offer free delivery for all key workers i.e. nurses and doctors, what about the elderly? Is there some offer you can make specific to them to help them during this time of isolation?
- Stay home and stay safe.
- If you have a new and persistent cough and/or a temperature, self-isolate for 14 days.
- If someone in your household has a temperature and/or a new and persistent cough, you must stay home for 14 days.
- Do not go to your GP without an appointment.