Dominick Sorrentino

As most governments ease lockdowns, businesses are eager for the opportunity to earn some much-needed revenue.

That said, we aren’t quite back to business as usual, and authorities are still encouraging strict social distancing measures.

For marketers, that means walking a fine line. The goal is to do what you can to facilitate engagement while still being very mindful of where we are collectively right now with this pandemic.

To that end, here are some pointers to guide you through the months ahead.

1. Prioritize health and safety in your messaging

We are still in the midst of a pandemic, and the health, safety and well-being of your employees, your customers and your target audience is still priority No. 1. Make this abundantly clear in your messaging, and be mindful of where you may be contradicting yourself.

Here are a few things to consider as you create marketing content going forward:

  • Even with re-opening measures, you’re still most likely speaking to an audience that will be limiting travel and in-person meetings. Keep this in mind as you come up with topic ideas and while you’re creating content.
  • Don’t exploit your audience’s desire to go back to life as normal. Cultivating a tone of patience and cautious optimism will serve you best at this time, as it will make your brand seem thoughtful and concerned with the public. Creating a sense of urgency to go out and buy will make it seem like you’re taking advantage of things reopening without being mindful of the risks.
  • Avoid stock photography that shows people gathering in large groups without wearing masks or practicing proper social distancing.

Regardless of how you personally may feel about the pace at which things are re-opening, it’s important to anticipate your audience’s feelings. Alienate those, and you’re setting yourself up for failure and some really bad branding.

2. Strategize and announce your plans for re-opening

Just like you clearly communicated your position statement and your dedication to maintaining service levels when coronavirus started peaking in March, you’re on the hook to share any company updates you might have right now.

Within the next week or so, consider drafting a status-update email that highlights your plans for re-opening.

Even if nothing is changing for you, things may be changing for your customers, so it’s worth checking in and letting them know how you will be operating during the next few months.

The same thing applies to your employees, and to your target audience. Now is the time to think really hard about your company’s next steps, what those will mean for your key stakeholders and how you will communicate that position.

3. Create and distribute your playbooks for re-opening safely

According to Fortune, Lear – a global supplier of auto parts – created a free playbook for re-opening that has now been downloaded 25,000 times.

McDonald’s, meanwhile, has sent a 59-page guide to reopening dining rooms to every single one of its U.S. franchisees.

Your customers, your employees and your target audiences need and most likely want guidance about how to re-open safely. And while some of that guidance is more or less universal – such as wearing a mask and social distancing – other operations will be much more nuanced. For instance, it’s ultimately up to you how you choose to approach your work-from-home policy.

Think about some of the challenges or questions your target audience might have as they begin operating in markets taking their very first steps out of lockdown.

4. Anticipate your audience’s content needs

As we start opening up, your audience will likely have plenty of questions, like:

  • When is it safe to start planning for in-person trade shows again?
  • Should I start focusing more heavily on lead generation now that some venues are opening up?
  • Should I cancel my July vacation?
  • Demand is increasing again: Is it safe to rehire employees?
  • How do I hire a new virtual employee?

The sooner you start thinking about the types of questions your audience will be asking in the next few months – and the faster you answer them – the more opportunity you’ll have for engagement on your blog or website.

As we explained in a previous blog post, keyword research is tricky territory right now, so your best compass when it comes to being useful to your target audience right now is your understanding of what they’re going through.

5. Don’t be overly aggressive about lead generation

There is still a lot of uncertainty about what the next few months will look like, and at least for now, many industries will only be able to recover a small portion of their usual revenues.

But at the same time, you don’t want to miss your opportunity to reclaim some of your lost market share while you have the chance. You know better than anyone what your market looks like, what type of pent-up demand exists and how quickly the floodgates will re-open.

Our two cents, though, is to start small and to start slow. Particularly in B2B industries, most companies will probably be cautious about spending in the coming months. You don’t want to be too quick to the draw, potentially wasting resources on trying to sell at a rate that your market just isn’t ready for.

Again, this is why we say that keeping your audience engaged is the top priority during a crisis. It’s really hard to know exactly when the right time to sell is. But if you’ve done a good job maintaining a relationship with your audience, you’ll start to see the signs – more requested meetings, more referrals, etc.

So when in doubt over the next weeks and months, continue to be useful and to be helpful above all else.