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Serving vs Selling in the Face of COVID-19

Disclaimer: In no way am I suggesting businesses capitilise on the Coronavirus crisis with this article. However, I am urging local businesses to not go silent and stay pro-active, instead of reactive. I also urge community members to continue supporting local businesses wherever you can.

We are undeniably facing uncertain times.

Most experts agree Australia is only just now beginning to feel the effects of the COVID-19 virus and preparing citizens for more drastic measures.

A lot of businesses seem to be wondering where to reduce their spends and ‘marketing budget’ is being tossed around a lot in response to that. I am telling you now, as a brand the WORST thing you could do is go silent.

Businesses – it is your obligation right now to serve and to sell.

Serving

Value add, value add, value add.

If people aren’t able to actually be as social IRL, you know where they’ll be?

Social media.

Use this time to amp up your content, and offer people information, updates, and entertainment.

I will say this, if you are not a qualified healthcare professional, please lord refrain from posting your opinion of the virus if it is contrary to any recommendations put out by health officials.

Regardless of if you think the virus isn’t personally going to affect you, remember the ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ or ‘Bacon’s Law’. It is still likely you may know someone who is affected, or someone close to them will be affected. If you have a large clientele base, the last thing you want to do is retroactively offend them or be viewed as naive or dismissive.

Use this opportunity to prove your value as a brand, as well as your opportunity to be compassionate and help your local community (or any local communities!)

Selling

Don’t stop selling your brand. Yes, even in a lockdown situation. You must believe your product or service offers value in people’s lives in some way, and regardless of how long this period lasts that value isn’t going to magically cease.

You do, however, have to be smart about how you’re selling.

Offers need to be adapted to respond to the current situation, and the last thing you want to be doing is shoving discounts or flash sales in everyone’s face.

What you do want to be doing, is offering solutions.

People still want to workout. Give them at home workouts or display your safety standards.

People still need haircare services. Limit your in-salon bookings and offer at-home solutions they can purchase in the interim.

People still want cafe and restaurant food. Offer takeaway or delivery options.

What if I don’t have a marketing budget?

If you have been spending budget on media, I wouldn’t recommend stopping completely but if you do need to reduce your budget do so.

Alternatively, if media spend is really not an option, use this time to heavily leverage your organic social channels with frequent updates.

What steps are you taking to promote health and safety?

Are you still open and available?

Thank your community for continuing to support you.

Really though, the most important thing is that we are sensible, compassionate, and support one another. Sole traders, local businesses, arts & entertainment workers… the list goes on. We are all in this together, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you would like to reach out for any complimentary advice on how to navigate this situation for your local business, feel free to contact me. At the end of the day, my priority is to see humans helping humans and us coming out the other side better for it.

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