Edited by Alison Carminke
Slowly but surely, it becomes more and more obvious what impacts the novel Coronavirus is having on the global economy. Millions of people lost their jobs, fear losing them or have reduced working hours, and now, studies of the OECD countries show that the consumer confidence index is at an all-time low.
When you look at social media, you will often find people commenting that it is wrong to sell in these times, and businesses that market or sell are just taking advantage of the situation and grasping for more money. On the other hand, businesses need to sell their products to secure their income and survival during an economic downturn.
This is why a lot of business owners ask themselves whether they can still market and sell without seeming selfish or rude. Or is it better to wait at least one or two months and see how the situation turns out?
My opinion is that YES, you can and you should market and sell your products. But I won’t deny that we are currently in a situation which is new to all of us and which leaves us insecure. That is why I think that especially in these times, you need to take even more care to market and sell with integrity, trust and courtesy.
1. Don’t play on people’s fear
With or without Covid-19, you should NEVER play on people’s fear when you sell. Fear and anxiety are extremely strong, negative emotions, and marketing based on them can easily backfire if done badly. It’s clear that we all have to deal with fears,but I find that when it comes to marketing you should handle your customers’ fear with care.
Generally speaking, it is not a problem to address the fears and worries of your target audience. After all, you’re providing a solution to a problem they have and which they think about. But some businesses take it too far and exceed limits which should not be exceeded for example some businesses that sell face masks for a way too high price. And especially at this time of Covid-19, people’s limits have narrowed. So here are a few examples you should definitely NOT do:
- Fuel fears where no fears existed before
- Exploit the predicament to offer exorbitantly high prices
- Use fear as a gimmick without delivering any solutions
- Feature your customers’ fears and worries as the key aspect of your marketing campaign
Nowadays, fears are deeply rooted in people’s minds, and unfortunately the situation has only worsened through Covid-19. That is why, if you address the fears and worries of your target audience in your marketing campaign, be mindful of your clients’ limits so you don’t exceed them.
2. Be considerate and sympathetic
It is beyond question that thanks to Covid-19 we live in very insecure times. And that doesn’t only apply to you and me, but also to your customers. It is so important to take this into account. That doesn’t mean that you should allow them to take advantage of you, but you could use this time to strengthen your community, to just be there for a moment for your clients without wanting to sell something.
Don’t regard your clients only as numbers, but as the people they really are. You could organize virtual meetings to combat loneliness, or create a small free guide on how they can solve a problem they have, or send them a little gift to show that you’re thinking of them. Show your solidarity and present yourself as a human being rather than a brand, and you will see that as soon as this is over you’re stuck in their memories and you’ll have built a loyal client base.
3. Be flexible!
Covid-19 ensures that at the moment we’re all hitting a wall – be it financially, personally or healthwise. A lot of us are trying to live life as normally as possible, despite the restrictions that we have in public life. Taking that into account, it’s your duty as a business owner to be as flexible as you can with the products you want to sell, so more and more people can buy what you have to offer. That means for example, if you offer products that are in the three or four-digit-range, then offer payment plans (if you don’t already) to meet your customers halfway. A lot of people can’t or don’t want to invest a lot of money during an economic downturn, but with a payment plan that’s more spread-out, you might ease the financial burden. And when your customers then invest in your business, they feel like they can experience a piece of normality, even during the hard times.
Regarding these three tips, it’s important that you don’t cut back on your business, but that you are wholeheartedly there for your purpose, mission and clients. It is equally important that you do everything with more care and that you regularly ask yourself: How is my target audience doing? If you always keep that in mind, then you can never seem too selfish or rude when you market.
And don’t forget that earning money in these times is not bad. Money is not bad. Money helps you to make ends meet. With more money, you can help even more people out there, and more easily carry your vision and mission out into the world.