How Content Can Connect Us with Customers During COVID
To say we are living in weird times right now would be an understatement. Things are changing from one day to the next and uncertainty has taken over like never before. Businesses are facing new challenges and as marketers, we are figuring out how to navigate our jobs.
How do we ensure the show goes on when so many people are struggling? How do we balance being sensitive to current events while keeping our own businesses afloat?
We may never have the right answer to these questions but one thing we can do is try to help our customers.
Content is in everything we do. It’s the information on your website, the message in your commercial, it’s the image in your email, or the gif in your Twitter update. Everything in marketing requires content and as marketers, it’s our job to make sure we are creating something that connects us to our audience.
Because right now, as we sit 6-feet apart, we want those connections and we want to feel like someone is looking out for us.
So, what can we do as marketers? Well, we can start by making sure we are creating content that does just that. Let’s dive in.
When COVID started, every major brand put out a commercial talking about how they were there to support us. There was the black and white video, the patriotic music, and the same exact message (no really, check out the video below). Who does that help?
If you are going to put out content right now (or ever for that matter), put out content that helps your clientele. What are the problems your customers are actually facing? How can you relate to what they are going through? How can your products help them?
Here’s an example. We work with a company that allows restaurants and retailers to manage on-site maintenance. From ensuring equipment is working to staying compliant to finding the right plumber, their software keeps everything in one place.
But what happens when stores and restaurants are shut down? Does it even make sense to create content?
The answer is yes because now there is a whole new set of problems. Who will be at the restaurant to make sure the freezer is running properly or the AC doesn’t break down? How do you get an entirely new set of cleaning and sanitation guidelines in place? How do we find people who can do this?
To help address these challenges, the client held webinars, sent emails, and created blog posts answering relevant questions and providing guidance to their customers. They figured out a way to be helpful.
Customers are always going to have problems and the right content can help them.
Transparency goes a long way in both business and life. The problem is, businesses tend to struggle with the idea. They think if they are transparent, it will damage the brand perception they have created.
As consumers, we want transparency and we need it now more than ever. We want to know we can trust the businesses we love to keep us safe.
Take restaurants for example.
If you are like me, you are apprehensive about going to a restaurant. You don’t know the safety protocols, you don’t know how the seating is set up, and you don’t feel comfortable walking into the unknown.
Wouldn’t a video from the restaurant be a great idea? Instead of giving me a checklist on the website of the safety protocols, why not show me?
Create a quick video tour showcasing seating, how servers are being trained, the PPE being used, etc. Give me something I can see with my own eyes. Give me something that makes me trust I can walk into your restaurant and know I’m safe.
The same thing applies to other businesses. If you ship products, make a short video showcasing the safety precautions being used during production and packaging.
If you don’t have products, you can still be transparent. Do your customers know how you are handling safety with your employees? Do they know the efforts you’re making to ensure your company is running smoothly and they won’t run into any issues?
Transparency often equates to humanity and being human is what we need.
As marketers, we strive for perfection. Whether it’s checking an email 6x before it gets sent out or revising a blog post 3x because it doesn’t read just right, we can’t fathom launching something that isn’t ready. We are scared of making mistakes.
As a result of that, we are hesitant to try new things. No, really. When is the last time your marketing team tried something completely new?
COVID has flipped the corporate world upside down in so many ways and as a result, there’s a new opportunity for marketers.
Think about your meetings. What used to be a formal situation is now a video meeting where the majority of people are wearing t-shirts and kids and dogs are in the background. We understand when someone drops off and we have lower expectations on video and audio quality. We have learned to deal with the imperfect.
How can we use that in our marketing? How can we use that to connect with our customers?
I mentioned in the last example how businesses can use video. If you’ve been hesitant to try video, now is the time. Why? Because no one is expecting a perfectly produced video.
We have a client we’ve been trying to get to create how-to videos for years. One of their points of feedback has always been they don’t have anyone ‘camera-approved’. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that no one cares.
If you have been thinking of trying video, this is the time. Not sure where to start? In my MozCon presentation last year I talked about how you can identify common problems your audience is facing and questions they have. Start there.
Content Can Connect Us…
The element of humanity that is often missing from business is more important than ever. As marketers, we rely on content to connect us with our customers and potential customers so it’s imperative we use that content wisely.
As you move forward, think about what you are creating and how you can adjust to ensure you are being helpful, transparent, and maybe even a little uncomfortable. Because hey, we are all a bit uncomfortable right now.