Whilst staying up-to-date with government guidance is still paramount, the daily desolate news cycle is beginning to get a little repetitive. And there are only so many Work from Home tips anyone can follow (the Bliss tips are obviously an exception given they have a fun digital twist!).
That being said, the UK’s attitude towards staying safe at home is overwhelmingly positive and strong, and rightly so. Anything even implying otherwise can be quickly lambasted. Though this can be tricky for certain industries, such as tourism or hospitality, to have anything to promote which couldn’t attract some negativity or criticism.
So now you face the dilemma, how to post content which doesn’t mention Covid-19, but still remains sensitive to it, but is also enjoyable to read, but doesn’t imply anything against the rules?
Read on to find out some tips on how to navigate this unusual period…
This article is part of our Content Hub on how businesses can proceed with marketing during this Coronavirus period. Bliss is pooling our 10 years of industry experience to create these free and informative guides to help you, with weekly updates.
Show Your Faces:
This period is a rare opportunity for your marketing to cool down on the hard-sell of ‘buy this right now’, ‘book here’ today, because the majority of your customers can’t or are afraid to...
But that doesn’t mean that your marketing should dry up, it simply needs to adapt. It is critical that you don’t stop marketing yourself. You just need to aim for the long game of improving your relevancy and reach, whilst promoting with positive associations.
Idea - Don’t be afraid to pop your head above the parapet!
Just as we’re all worried about our friends and families, customers are worried for their favourite businesses too. With economic troubles on the horizon, as well as the literal health of employees, people will care about how you are getting on. So don’t stay silent!
I'd stopped posting as I didn't want to encourage people to travel but now lockdown is well established, I thought I'd share some photos around the site. I have been amazed at the engagement
- Holiday Park Owner
Post on your social media, send out a relevant update email, keep your blog content going. It’s your choice whether or not to mention the c-word (Being ‘Coronavirus’ of course) but just be sensitive to it.
✅DO: Make sure that you’re only emailing when there is something worth saying. You don’t want to appear spammy to customers during this a period of busy inboxes.
🚫DON’T: Overtly promote your business. Whilst this can be done, you want it to be subtle. Gently remind people that you’re open for business amongst your other messages.
Idea - Humanise your brand
Have you noticed how everything and everyone seems a little more low-tech and back to basics? From politicians addressing the country on selfie mode, to news presenters updating us in their back gardens. It may be a necessity, but it has the additional advantage of everyone seeming a lot more relatable.
This is something you can bring into your marketing too - the more human and unpolished side of your brand. From behind the scenes photos, to blogs keeping up with employees, it could add a new interesting, more genuine element to your brand customers haven’t seen before. It also creates that feeling of empathy for you and your struggles, especially if you’re a smaller business!
To our clients and friends, at the end of last week, Bliss made the decision to allow our team to work remotely from home for their safety. We have implemented new procedures to ensure the same productivity and so far are happy to announce that everything is still full steam ahead. So if you require any help or support from us, we will be available to contact: 📞+44(0)161 819 5847 or 💻[email protected] Our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted during this unprecedented period. We hope that things can continue on as normal as possible for you ❤️ #Manchester #Digital #Love
A post shared by Bliss (@blissmcr) on Mar 18, 2020 at 5:12am PDT
🚫DON’T: forget your core message though. Whilst these kind of posts are fun to see, intersperse them with your normal marketing. You don’t want it to look like you think it’s all about you! Important communications should always lead with your key messages first.
Have a really important message you need to drive home to your audience? Bliss explains optimal structure and best practice in our full Communications Guide
Idea - Write your emails carefully with clear purpose
You’ve probably noticed a second wave of ‘Emails from our CEO’s’ landing in your inbox this past week. These emails feature longer paragraphs of text than usual snippy marketing blasts, they’re often barely formatted and they’re written as if personal to you (count how many you receive starting ‘dear’).
In other words, these emails are taking their inspiration from letters - another hark back to the low-tech of yester-year and an overall more genuine-feeling communication method. As well as adding much more gravity to the communication than a regular email.
✅DO: copy this format if you really want to send an email out. Even in an unprecedented time, these formal emails have become somewhat of a new normal and not adhering to them may be interpreted as not taking the situation seriously.
✅DO: put the emphasis on what your brand is doing and how your service can benefit the customer, to stop the email being too Coronavirus heavy.
Spread some positivity
It is no surprise that the largest Just Giving campaign ever took place during the Coronavirus period. Captain Tom captured the nations’ hearts in a time when we all really need a hero to support and get behind. Positivity is in high demand right now.
Even with plenty of people doing their bits for charity, volunteering their services and working hard to make others happy, the realities of coronavirus and the economic downturn can be difficult.
So ask yourself, what can you provide of value which could bring joy? Not only will it cheer up your customers, but it will engender goodwill towards your brand. Win-win.
Idea - Share Plenty of Non-Promotional Photos
As well as the humanising the brand mentioned, now’s a good chance to really up your social game with interesting and pretty photos.
A lot of us are stuck within the same four walls, maybe with a garden... if we’re lucky! So getting an insight into the beauty of other parts of the world, especially if we already like those places enough to ‘like’ their social channels, can bring a moment of happy escapism and nostalgia.
Happy Saturday from Argyll Holidays - We just thought we'd let you know that we can't wait to welcome you back to our holiday parks once things have calmed down. In the meantime stay home and stay safe. Love Team AH x
A post shared by Argyll Holidays (@argyllholidays) on Apr 11, 2020 at 5:24am PDT
Source: Argyll Holidays, Instagram
🚫DON’T: obliquely promote your products in every post - especially if they’re not available to access currently. You don’t want people to get the wrong impression!
Idea - Get involved with charity
This is one of the easiest ways to spread positivity! Obviously, the NHS trust organisation of charities is one of the most popular causes, and rightly so, but don’t forget the other charities which will be really struggling to fundraise right now.
Are there any local causes, or ones close to your business’s heart, which you could make a public pledge to? There are many innovative ways to support charities whilst also promoting your business. For example, offering to donate a specific amount for every social media engagement (be that share, like or comment) can bring a lot of traction to a post.
This is an opportunity to inspire a sense of loyalty in customers that can last long after the pandemic.
Idea - Give something back
As well as giving to charity, consider giving something back to your community to thank them for their ongoing support. Whether this is a giveaway, a competition, a discount, decide on what you have to offer and how it could benefit them.
What will you get in return?
- Feelings of positivity within the community and loyalty to your brand, as you’re recognising them.
- Interaction and traffic on your website/social channels
- User-generated content, which you can use in future marketing materials
For example, you could run a photo competition on Instagram, encouraging people to share photos of them using your product/at your business with a specific hashtag, with the clear message that after the competition, you have the right to utilise these photos. Suddenly you have a load of new imagery you can use to refresh your website and social media, your Instagram will be busier than ever before, and people will be excited to take part and be thinking of your brand.
Idea - Entertain the masses
Do you have an in-house entertainment team? Their time has come!
With plenty of events moving online, and more unusual shows starting up every day, why not join the party? It doesn’t have to be directly related to your business, it could just be a hobby of yours. It can be anything from running a quiz to hosting a concert to starting a podcast. People are bored at home and so if you are doing something fun, it will be easier to gain an online following now more than ever before.
If this is something you used to do, it will also help with a feeling of normalcy for customers - a feeling a lot are missing right now.
✅DO: keep it light and fun, perhaps use it as a way to promote a charity but be wary of too much self-promotion.
Case Studies: How other businesses are avoiding Coronavirus
Clarach Bay Holiday Village is really aiming for a feel-good factor in their marketing and promotion. They’re hosting daily entertainment live-streams which are proving to be increasingly popular, donating to charity through sponsorships and hosting competitions for their community to win free holidays at the parks.
Source: Clarach Bay Holiday Village, Facebook
This is certainly paying dividends for the PR department, with stories about them being picked up in Welsh media publications, as well as the thousands of fans watching the live streams nightly!
Secret Escapes have opted for a campaign of ‘Postcard from our Travels’. These are created to fuel wanderlust without actively selling holidays. Even the links from the emails are not to hotels/holidays in these areas, but more information about the areas.
Source: Secret Escapes, Emails
This is a great example of drumming up interest for your product without trying to sell something people can’t yet access
Promoting Your Business in this Tricky Time
Hopefully the above has given you some ideas and inspiration of what you could do next to keep your marketing going.
Remember to stay positive, relax on any heavy promotion and go with your instincts about what will work well for your customer base.
We are way into this lockdown now and people really are starting to dream about what they’ll do when this is all over. Maintain a good presence and you’ll ensure your business is first on their list!
Check out our full Content Hub for advice, best practice and ideas on how businesses can proceed with digital marketing during the Coronavirus period.