How to Market Your Business in a Time of Crisis
If you’re a home services business currently operating during the COVID-19 outbreak, there’s probably a lot you’re concerned about right now. You might be dealing with concerned staff in the field, service cancellations, and worry about a major hit to your revenue. Marketing your business may not be at the top of your to-do list.
However, it’s a mistake to put your marketing on the backburner, even during these tough times. Now more than ever, you have an opportunity to strengthen the relationships you have with your customers, so they keep coming back to you even after things calm down.
The trick to marketing successfully during a crisis like COVID-19 is to remember that emotion sells where information doesn’t. Instead of focusing on your service or product features and benefits, focus on showing empathy for your customers. Let them know you’re there for them. To help you with your strategy, here are our best tips for marketing your business in a time of crisis.
Take time to connect with your customers.
If you’re feeling nervous about a major public crisis like COVID-19, chances are your customers are, too. They’re likely worried about their financial situation and their families’ health, just like you might be worried about yours.
Set a good tone with your customers by acknowledging their feelings, and show empathy in your communications with them. Using phrases like, “We understand”, and “We’re here for you” go a long way in letting customers know you care.
Speak in a positive, calm tone.
Many of your customers are probably spending more time at home. If they’re online or watching TV more often, it’s possible they feel an overwhelming sense of pessimism and panic as they read daily news headlines. Your communications should make them feel the opposite, so use a calm and encouraging tone.
As mentioned above, acknowledge the situation first. Once you’ve done that, reassure your customers that you’re in this situation together. Showing solidarity with them humanizes your business and makes customers more likely to view you as an ally during the crisis.
Tell customers how you’re handling the situation.
Many state and local governments have enacted “shelter-in-place” ordinances that significantly impact which businesses can stay open. However, some customers may still be unaware that your business is open, even if it’s considered “essential.”
Keep customers informed by sending them messages to remind them you’re open, and be sure to include the steps your business is taking to protect them as well as your staff. This is especially critical if the crisis alters the way you normally do business with customers. Create a dedicated page on your website about how your business is adapting, so customers can find this information all in one place.
Pro Tip: If you’re sending customers updates about your business via email, create a button in your email that customers can click to go directly to your crisis response page. This helps boost your relevancy and email engagement rates.
Avoid being opportunistic.
The COVID-19 crisis has allowed many businesses to successfully market offerings such as UV lights, home water filtration systems, and even bidets to customers who are concerned about their health while at home. However, it’s important to not cross the line between being informative and being predatory.
A good rule of thumb is to stay away from exaggerated claims and focus instead on your customers’ overall health when crafting your marketing messages. Acknowledge that they’re likely at home more often, so it’s crucial to keep their fundamental systems functioning properly. Here are a few examples:
Stress the importance of good indoor air quality at home and how they can improve it with better air filtration systems and UV lights.
Mention how important proper A/C humidity control is to prevent viruses from spreading more easily.
Let customers know about the benefits of cleaner water at home, and how a home filtration system can help them achieve that.
Remind customers that doing these things helps them stay healthier at home, which boosts their immune system’s ability to fight off infection.
Offer helpful advice customers can follow, so your marketing doesn’t come off as just a sales pitch. Additionally, make sure any product or service features you do promote can be proven, so your trustworthiness doesn’t take a hit.
Offer help without expectations.
One of the most powerful ways to market your business in a time of crisis and build lasting connections with your customers is to offer help without expecting them to accept it. Remember, some of them may be experiencing financial hardship, so getting that spring A/C tune-up or moving forward on their home rewiring estimate isn’t high on their list of priorities.
If you’re able to offer it, financing can help reduce cancellations and encourage customers to book. But above all, the best thing you can do is simply remind them that if they do need you, you’ll be there for them.
Even if customers don’t call and book right away, they’ll remember your kind and helpful messages when they are ready for their next service. And that day, you’ll be the one they call on.
Resources for the trades
If you have story ideas or questions, you can email us. We’d love to tell your story about how you’re helping in your community or dealing with these uncertain times, or just help answer your questions.