The COVID-19 outbreak is a constantly evolving situation, leaving businesses and their owners facing unprecedented risk and uncertainty.
For many in the professional services industries, whilst it might not quite be business as usual, your services and expertise will be just as essential – if not more so – right now, which means you need to be best placed to demonstrate your proficiency and reinforce trust with stakeholders.
- Demonstrate your authority
- Reinforce your relationships
- Communicate simply and clearly
Right now, you should aim to be as visible as possible and set realistic expectations for existing or prospective clients. Even if people aren’t going to change suppliers right now (many are), they will be shortlisting options. Try and maintain visibility across all relevant channels to ensure your message reaches the intended audience.
Prioritise need-to-know information
With so many updates from businesses, focus on the key messages you need people to see. Update your ads to include changes to processes, delivery, opening times and, importantly, to communicate that you’re open for business.
Demonstrate authority and provide reassurance
Has your team been busy producing industry updates, guides or advice in response to the coronavirus outbreak? Use paid social media advertising as an opportunity to broaden your audience and demonstrate your authority by promoting content to relevant audiences. When writing this content, try to get into the mindset of your audience. What pain points do they have? How can your content help solve this?
Make them remember you
As mentioned above, visibility is essential – remember, even if people aren’t converting right now, you can still make sure your brand and message is front of mind for a time when they can. Run remarketing campaigns to maintain brand awareness and ensure your key message is difficult to forget and utilise display to maximise your business’ visibility whilst screen usage is up.
Reach people working from home
Most businessowners and professionals will now be working from home, possibly using different devices and browsers or even conducting online research at different points in the day to usual. Adjust your bid strategies to take these factors into consideration and ensure your campaigns are optimised towards shifts in behaviour. For instance, focusing on desktop traffic may be a temporary tactic to increase your market share. As ever let the data make the choices, so spend some time in Google Analytics looking at changes in traffic. This will help inform decisions.
Website optimisation and organic search
For both your existing and prospective clients, they’ll be looking for clear, up-to-date information and likely visiting your site with questions in mind:
- Has this business been affected?
- I’m an existing client, where can I find information?
- How does this affect me?
Review your site information
Information ages quickly, so now is a great time to review old content, check for outdated policies and terms of service, and update service pages to reflect any recent changes. It’s always a good idea to include a small snippet at the bottom of reviewed pages stating: “Page last reviewed: [date]”, so that any website visitors know that is recent information from an active business.
Intuitive navigation for easy finds
Ensuring the most important information is easily accessible benefits both your wider community and your business, so review the structure of your website to make sure it is as easy to use and intuitive from a user perspective as possible.
Content and social media
It’s always a challenge to cut through the noise in the professional services landscape, but your messaging is more crucial now than ever. During times of significant uncertainty, reinforcing a stable and authoritative presence helps to communicate resilience and reassurance. However, if you fail to acknowledge the struggles and sensitivities others are facing, or show willing to support, that could be the difference in being remembered for the wrong reasons.
Be earnest, not superficial
You’ll have noticed so many businesses have adjusted messaging to show that they’re here for us all in this difficult time, but these can often feel like empty words.
If your brand tone accurately represents your values, you won’t need to stretch to superficial sentiments for your audience to appreciate you. Think about the things you can be doing to support colleagues, clients, stakeholders and your wider community in ways that are meaningful during this time. Could you put your advice and guidance into an easy to digest series of free blogs or webinars? Can you adjust services in line with changes in working patterns and behaviour?
Maintain those relationships
Remaining present, communicating frequently and showing that you’re still active will be key for maintaining the relationships and reinforcing the trust you’ve built over time. It’s also a great way of building good faith to show that, even if clients or leads can’t commit right now, you’ll be there when they’re ready to come back.
Tip: Show your support for your communities by making the extra effort to engage with or show support for clients, businesses and brands on relevant social channels.
Your emails are hugely important for delivering the information you need people to see and play a significant role in keeping customer relationships on track, so there are a few main considerations during times such as this.
Stand out by staying simple
We’ve seen a lot of vague or light-hearted subject lines throughout this period, so much so that many are fading into the white noise of already crowded inboxes. Don’t be tempted to jump on the bandwagon or follow suit with a generic “COVID-19” response and cut to the chase on what is likely to affect your clients the most. Whether you’re an accountancy firm or solicitor, your clients are more likely to open an email titled “Changes to your services” than another generic update.
Supporting information and content
As we’ve highlighted, there are opportunities to provide additional support to clients and stakeholders at this time and reinforce trusting relationships. Share free content and resources that they might find useful but, importantly, ensure key information is prominent and visible.
Creative and branding
Everyone is being bombarded with information right now and professional service providers are increasingly being called upon to interpret and disseminate it to the public. The businesses that stand out are those that can get the information across in the most clear and memorable way.
Spot opportunities for visual wins
Some of the information you’ll likely need to communicate with clients and stakeholders will be vast, complicated and potentially number heavy . The more visually appealing you can make the information, the easier it will be to catch the eye and be remembered, so we recommend using infographics as much as possible.
A well-designed infographic can present a lot of complicated information, facts and figures in a simple and clear way. They’re also perfect for the current situation where so much information needs to be simplified and understood quickly.
Action: Distribute across key channels such as social media, email newsletters and blogs, to maximise visibility.
It’s a challenging time for most businesses at the moment, but important to ensure the wheels keep turning so we can look beyond the next few months. Thinking about what your audience really needs at this moment and delivering it to them is a key part of ensuring they can do the same thing. This should be the case at any time, but this crisis has helped focus our minds. Businesses will survive this but the ones that are agile, listen to what their customers want and add value will be the ones in the strongest position. It all starts with a good marketing plan.
If you’d like to discuss how we could help, please get in touch with us and we can schedule a video call, a voice call or simple email response.