Pandemic Playbook from Amber Engine: How to Market During the Pandemic

  •    Author: Mike Jasfer

Like most of you, everyone at Amber Engine is spending a lot more time at home these days. Like, all of it.
Gone are afternoon coffee runs and impromptu hallway conversations – replaced by virtual happy hours and time on social media. We’re devouring content like crazy, searching for points of connection with both companies and people who are our passions and looking for opportunities to learn and grow during this “new normal.”
In our attempt to read all of the internet, a vlog by bestselling author and entrepreneur, Ryan Deiss popped up. The title “3 Rules of Marketing During a Crisis,” hooked interest, but what made it compelling was his real, raw and honest presentation. Turns out, the video studio is also non-essential. So, the piece he shared wasn’t slick, packaged or stylized – it was a simple address offering help for those in a strange marketing position.
In this period of Stay Home we’re all companies asking, “Should we try to market during this time?” “What should our outbound message be right now?” “How do we talk to people without coming across as dirty, slimy or greasy?”
Deiss’s Rules are concise and easy to understand:
Rule 1: Acknowledge Reality – engage in the conversation that your audience is already having. But, carefully watch your language, imagery and offers to ensure that anything automated is in alignment with the current climate.
Rule 2: This is a Time for Audience Expansion NOT Revenue Maximization – create top-of-the-funnel pieces that engage and help. Right now, people want to consume and learn.
Rule 3: You MUST Believe it’s Going to be Okay – as the role of sales and marketing is to transfer confidence from the company to the consumer. You must know that all of this will end and, when that time comes, business can be better for it.
Implementing the rules, however, requires marketers on every level to activate a level of empathy not normally used in day-to-day work.
 
If you haven’t stopped automated content already, press pause. Audit upcoming pieces for appropriate tone, imagery and offer. After all, every blog, banner and pre-designed ad were likely developed during a non-crisis time without any thought of cultural shifts like social distancing and working from home. Then, either edit and reschedule or table your pieces for later use.
Build a better community with value-added content. You don’t have to spend a fortune to show up in an authentic, honest way. Use live stream and social media video options to stay connected with your followers. Stumped about what to say?Offer an insider’s look at your plant or furniture manufacturing facility. Talk about demand slow downs or ramp ups, if you’re in the medical furniture/device field. Explain how the current state is different from the norm and what you’re doing to bring people back if they’ve been furloughed.
Seek to inspire – and be inspired. Talk about what you’re doing to improve yourself and your space during this time and ask the same of your audience. Request that people recommend outstanding books on leadership or industry. Or, keep it light and talk about the home projects you’re working on and ask to see photos of your audience members’ organization/cleaning/redecorating projects.
Just say “Hi!” It’s perfectly acceptable to show a very human side right now. Everyone is struggling to adjust to a remote lifestyle – from a social and tech perspective. If you’re a social butterfly, you might own up to missing the energy of an audience. If you’re having trouble setting up your printer, you may own your lack of patience.
 

Whatever you choose to do, remember that there’s always a slice of your audience looking to see what you’re doing to navigate this crisis. So, share tips freely and keep a positive tone. Not only will it help the performance of your content, but it will serve to lift your very concerned audience.

Know (and respect) your audience’s current position. Thousands upon thousands of people lost jobs and find themselves in a very precarious place right now. If your audience consists mostly of people negatively impacted by COVID-19, practice extreme empathy. These people are worried about paying their mortgage and putting dinner on the table next month. They don’t want your promo code for a new sofa. Why not do a little research and publish a list of companies hiring in your area, lending opportunities for small businesses or free services offered by those impacted by our economic slowdown?

In everything, be mindful about your message and balance topical headlines with other, more uplifting, options. After all, companies should set out to be thought-leaders, not fear-mongers or opportunists.
When you create a supportive, empathetic community where people feel comfortable sharing their needs and ideas, you’re building bonds that will not break when all of this is over. And it will be over. But what’s most important is what you’re doing during this downtime to make yourself and your business even better as a result. This can be a period of growth – it just might be that it’s a different kind of growth than you’re used to.
 
See the previous post in this series, click here.
About Amber Engine: Amber
Engine’s innovative software solutions simplify work and empower
people. The company offers full-service e-commerce solutions for
furniture brands looking to sell in online marketplaces such as Wayfair,
Amazon, Houzz, and many more. For more information contact info@amberengine.com or visit the company’s website.

Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
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