In a short or prolonged crisis, it is essential to continue marketing. You just have to be sensitive to your audience and their changing priorities.
Your firm or association is a business that needs to grow, but you are also a resource. Being a resource is already in your culture. You can apply that approach to your professional services marketing in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas to market effectively during and after a crisis — and continue to make a difference!
1. Revise your personas.
You may have written your target personas or client profiles at the beginning of the year or earlier, but a crisis has cropped up and affected what may be important to those audiences.
Revisit and revise your personas to acknowledge new challenges, new threats or new opportunities to that potential new client. That way, your messages and guidance will relate to their most urgent concerns and priorities.
2. Explore unmet or critical needs.
As you notice that potential clients are focused on new priorities, there are probably new opportunities for your firm or association to serve them. Discuss ideas that position you as a resource, a guide or a translator of complex information.
Can you open a new channel for connecting people or sharing information? Can you offer new assessments or promote a white paper that addresses their worries? Would a webinar answer their most pressing regulatory, safety or financing questions? These offerings can be timed to launch once the initial shock of the crisis is over and people are turning toward solutions. Have them ready to launch.
Also, make sure that these ideas are still aligned with your underlying niche marketing strategy. In other words, don’t chase shiny objects based solely on a crisis.
3. Choose your words carefully.
During a crisis, especially a national or global one, you will start to see the same words used over and over to describe the situation. We’ve seen words and phrases overused such as “these uncertain times,” “unprecedented” and “we’re in this together.” There is nothing wrong with them, but people stop hearing them.
When crafting your emails, client letters, proposals, articles and social media messages, be true to your own voice. During a crisis, you don’t need to follow the crowd to show sensitivity and be heard. Think about how you would encourage a friend, and your communications will resonate better than if you use phrases that people are tired of hearing.
4. Be visible.
Being visible is a human and a digital challenge. If you are often working remotely or unable to organize many in-person events, you can still stay visible through videos on your website that show real people sharing their guidance and ideas. You can host virtual events and networking meet-and-greets. If you can get out into the community, lend a hand and share it on social media or on your website’s career pages.
You also need to be visible digitally. Right now, too many firms and associations lack the knowledge or consistency to integrate search engine optimization with their professional services marketing. It’s an opportunity for you to get ahead of the crowd.
One of the biggest things we’re recommending to firm leaders who want to maintain digital presence is to conduct a web audit, keyword research and integration of SEO into all of their content — from blog posts to digital ads, video descriptions and social posts. Search engines can then recognize and rank you for certain services, guidance and advocacy.
Without this visibility, you’ve lost the opportunity to reach out and highlight services that actually help people in crisis. When people really need you, be where they are searching — through digital techniques and messaging that focuses on them.
If you need some help to be more visible and stay on message for your target audiences, view Ingenuity’s Outsourced Marketing Services.