As COVID-19 changed the lives and livelihoods of people around the globe, marketers are faced with an entirely new challenge. They face questions about how they should communicate with customers, how target audience behavior might change and where should marketing budgets be invested?
In unprecedented times like these, businesses must put their customer’s interests first. Though unfortunate, it is an opportunity for your business to lead the conversation and create long-lasting positive memories of your brand with your target audience.
Offering and Communicating Value
Capturing and communicating value has long been a struggle for MSPs who often face pushback such as “But everything is working fine, why do I need you?” In a services business where prevention is the name of the game, MSPs must learn to validate their efforts in many ways. In a post-COVID economy, any business that is perceived to not produce value for their clients will be the first to lose customers.
The balance of course is communicating value while being sensitive to the many challenges clients face. More than ever, trust and partnership will win the day. So, find ways to talk about your expertise, pull out what is most relevant today—supporting remote workforce, securing data in motion, managing devices—and share tips and tricks to soften any sales communications. More than selling, today is about maintaining lines of communication, showcasing the value that helps your clients right now, and trust that when they need more from you, they will return. (Want more tips on this? Check out advice from our webinar with special guest Jack Daly.)
Choosing the Right, Cost-effective Medium
The Covid-19 global pandemic has brought about a lot of changes in the world. With this, there has been a shift in the consumption patterns of different media. Not surprisingly, digital is witnessing a surge. It is opening up avenues for brands like ours to experiment.
Clearly, there has never been a better time to advertise on digital platforms. My advice—experiment, measure, and analyze your engagement. Pick your channels based on your brand’s needs, and put some effort into uncovering where your customers go for information. Are they Facebook-focused, Reddit bound? Do they look for recommendations on LinkedIn? Identify, experiment, analyze, and then optimize the correct marketing mix to get the most out of your investments.
If new marketing investments aren’t feasible now, focus on nurturing your existing digital channels. These channels would provide you a real opportunity to engage with customers at a significantly reduced cost. To optimize the cost, don’t duplicate your reach. Once you get reach, watch the reaction and track conversions to sales.
Be Cautious With Messaging
Let’s face it, customers are anxious and perhaps even scared. They are looking for safety and trust. Think critically about your content and social media strategy and be sure to handle sensitive topics delicately.
Since social marketing isn’t about the instant interactive experience, but rich, relevant storytelling, look at those platforms as an opportunity to share your approach to the COVID crisis, and provide positivity. Call out members of your team who earn kudos from your clients during this stressful time. People remember brands for their acts of goodness in times of crisis, particularly if brands are not being opportunistic.
This is the time to take proactive steps to comfort customers and protect their safety and financial confidence. Think through how you can offer advice or tips tied to your MSP business expertise, but without a sales pitch attached. We have been using social media to share our giveback program, geared to help MSPs access talent, as the U.S. cities started to reopen for business. You can see examples of those posts on our Facebook page.
Final Thought: The pandemic has changed many things about our lives and businesses. With that, we must learn to be more aware and thoughtful in our marketing. Even in a post-COVID-19 economy, marketers will continue to walk the fine line of engaging their audience, adding value to their business, and retaining top-of-mind recall while remembering that many businesses will remain under stress for some time to come.