Is Your Business Ready For Crisis Marketing In Times Of the Pandemic? With reduced cash flow, people have optimized their preferences in accordance with their immediate need which applies to both product and service sectors

By Shruti Kaushik

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The Wuhan virus, or the bat virus, induced a mass annihilation that just shredded the world into pieces. The world before December 2019 is a mesmerizing history and the world now, i.e. few days in the seventh month of 2020, is a bitter reality. But all is not lost, the global economy is learning to adapt to this "new normal'; healthcare systems are learning from their mistakes, businesses have entered a digital disruption phase, and the greatest luxury known today has become "survival'.

In short, we are now witnessing a new global revolution, a pushed one, but a necessary one. Why do I say necessary? Because the relevance of businesses is now directly attached to changed consumer behavior. With reduced cash flow, people have optimized their preferences in accordance with their immediate need which applies to both product and service sectors.

The direct impact of this shift is felt mainly on marketing campaigns. Many companies have trashed their branding strategies, which is wise but is a horrible mistake. Businesses right now need "readjustment' of their marketing and branding strategies. They need to find a more viable way to address this changed consumer behavior.

Re-analyzing your market plans not in terms of budget, but in terms of opportunity

They say opportunity always lies in the "untimely distress' that life throws at you, which is painfully true. The pandemic did pause the whole world, but it didn't stop it. The biggest revision I did in branding strategies this year for my clients was introducing social selling. Instead of going all terminator in marketing, I just picked the organic ones, which helped my clients gain five times their target audience. So, here's are my two cents from my learnings.

Migrate from Facebook ads to Linkedin organic selling: Social distancing is not applicable on social media channels, right? Facebook is a great tool, it creates curiosity with its paid ads but LinkedIn marketing does that for you for "free'. LinkedIn is a perfect place to create a new demand because the audience today there is five times more than it was in December last year. Do soft selling through content and invest time in creating a community of loyal followers that you can later monetize on.

Communicate through client/customer stories: Your experience is your greatest asset now. You have to create new demand for your old services because the whole "buying cycle' has changed gradually. The best inbound leads that I got for my clients were through "sharing successful client/customer stories'. Your narrative should not reflect a sales pitch but should indicate your expertise in the simplest way possible.

Showing empathy to your audience during these times: Even if your customers are not buying right now, you can send a "hope you are safe during these times' email. The whole world is in a crisis together, and when you send this email, there is an instant connection with the customer. They might not buy from you immediately, but they will remember you which can later become a lead.

Create a series of podcasts: Hop on a podcast with your client, and talk about how you helped him, and how has his business is recovering during these times. But, but, don't post or share the whole show. Cut out a 45 minutes podcast session into 9 videos of 5 minutes length each. This means you can address 9 questions or 9 problems for your audience. Circulate this content. Instagram and LinkedIn are super for sharing podcast sessions.

Revive your email list: The biggest mistake marketers are doing now is creating a new email list. Your email list is your timeless asset. Share your case study or an article of 200 words on how you are helping your clients/customers during this time, and share it with your email list. You never know, there could be a goldmine buried in that old email database.

Publish interviews: Interviews are the easiest ways to grab attention, and you don't have to pay for them. Shortlist websites of your niche that enjoys more than 1 million traffic a month, and then write to the editor. A concept story, a feature, a quote on an opinion piece, or an interview, can work wonders for you and your client both.

This is the time of a digital revolution that has been pulled sooner than it was anticipated. Opportunities have multiped online. Technological sector is booming right now, and branding is more important than ever. All that needs to be done is "retelling your company's story" on the right platforms.

Shruti Kaushik is a LinkedIn branding expert and content developer. She has worked for the Government of India (NIC), Ministry of Skills & Entrepreneurship, a few Fortune 500 companies, clients across Europe and many well-funded and acclaimed companies in India.

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