Preparing a post-pandemic marketing plan

Do you have a marketing plan for when the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end? No one knows exactly when that will be, but every business should be preparing customers for that day.

Even if your business remains open in some capacity, now is the time to be informing customers about what your return to normalcy looks like. Maybe it won’t even be back to “normal” for your business. Maybe this crisis forces you to reinvent your operation. Either way, competition is going to be fierce post-quarantine and you need to capture future customers now.

Build customer loyalty

The first thing you should focus on, if you aren’t already, is building up loyalty through your current business practices. There has never been a more important time for your image than now. Handling the coronavirus outbreak properly now will ensure customer loyalty when this blows over.

Make sure your messaging is consistent, positive, engaging, and steady. People need to hear from you often. And they should be getting a behind-the-scenes look at your current practices for employee and customer safety.

When customers see you doing everything you can to continue serving them, you’ll likely become more than just a business to them, you’ll be a resource. Having a confident handle on the situation will show customers that they can trust you for more than what you normally provide. They can follow your lead on safety practices and will feel more comfortable putting themselves out there to spend money.

A business that isn’t willing to bring its work to the customer, or deliver its product to their door, isn’t one that inspires confidence. This outbreak is a give and take situation for businesses and their customers. 

Get creative and your products or services around the stay home life we’re all living. Building loyalty now isn’t just about keeping past customers engaged. There are 3 ways to focus your efforts and it’s important to figure out which is best for your business. Should you sell:

  • new products to old customers
  • old products to new customers
  • new products to new customers

Breaking your coronavirus business plan down into these three options will help you focus your marketing and advertising efforts. Both new and old customers are important to the future of your business. But they need to be courted in different ways. 

Do old customers know exactly what they want out of you? Or do they need the allure of a brand new work-from-home focused product? And do new potential customers need to hear how you’ve shifted your operations? It’s more likely they just want to know what you have to offer right now.

Discount marketing is the way of the future

With stimulus checks going out and gas money being saved, customers will be eager to get out there when the time comes. Don’t be caught waiting on them to come to you, though. With all of the options available for people to spend time and money on, your current marketing needs to catch their attention. 

Discounts and special offers are going to be essential in the upcoming economic resurgence. Any business that ignores this and expects customers to willingly and excitedly come back to them, will be left in the dust.

If you’re a service-focused business, go ahead and ask customers to book appointments for the not-so-near future. Even if you don’t normally book these things months in advance, you’ll be thinking farther ahead of your competitors, who are only focused on the here and now.

Find a way to adapt to the way this changes the world

New habits and trends are being formed every day. Both through viral social media spread and from people simply discovering new things about themselves, quarantine is changing us.

Measure what part of your business is working best right now. But don’t assume that aspect of your business is going to suddenly become unimportant after this is over.

Certain trends that have taken off during the lockdown include DIY skills, baking, sewing, etc. Essentially, anything cyclically useful to people is popular right now, as we avoid shopping and store stocks run low.

In fact, Nielsen reports that sales of yeast were up 650% during the last week of March, compared to the year before. People are finding comfort in self-producing things that aren’t readily available, and they love sharing it among their friends. Sourdough bread is one of the hottest examples of this, due to its ability to share “starter” bread with friends.

Find ways that your marketing can lean into mentalities like “self produce and share”, and cater to that even when stores open back up. It’s likely that most businesses will just ask people to come back to them and spend, so people will be looking for companies that assist their new habits.

Also, good deed initiatives you take now shouldn’t stop when the quarantine is called off. First, people will become used to seeing positive messages from all businesses, and it could be jarring if you return to a “buy now!” But more importantly, that risks making you look like you just took advantage of the situation.