Throughout the pandemic, it seems that the recovery has been nothing more than two steps forward and one step back. It’s frustrating. I get it. But if you do the math, we are moving forward, albeit, not as swiftly as any of us might like, but forward, nonetheless. As we continue or exit from the pandemic and our individual recoveries, we must keep several things in mind as we ramp up our marketing efforts!
Compassion and Empathy
We all have differing opinions of this virus and we must be conscious of that in our marketing efforts and in dealing with clients, employees, and prospects. I have friends who are terrified to leave their own homes. Others are willing to come out but are very cautious. And others still are ready to resume life as it was in 2018. We must be sympathetic to their concerns and fears. Do not try to change them. Explain what you have done, as a business, to address the concerns. Perhaps you have an air purifier in your office or require masking before meeting clients. Maybe your agency has a COVID testing protocol. Ask questions! Make sure you are cognizant of, and addressing the concerns of all constituencies. Find out what else might be done to appease the concerns.
Before any business is transacted, Safety must come first. Hard stop. Your clients need to know that it is safe to do business with you and as a business owner, it is your job to make sure they know and understand. Publicly display (signage, website, emails) your COVID policies and include cleaning, sick protocols, testing and vaccine requirements, etc. Your message must be clear about protecting your customers and employees, but you also need to be compassionate and empathetic across the board. It is a delicate balance.
You are your own brand and have worked years to develop it. Whatever you do, don’t lose, or change that now. Right now, people crave human interaction. They want to laugh and to dream. Remember, we are in a fun industry, so at all costs, keep it fun. Keep your communication and messaging light. Your clients have plenty of options to doom scroll, so don’t give them another. Of course, be honest and frank, but it can (and should) be done in a lighter, more conversational way!
Watch the Big Guys
Carnival, Sandals, Royal Caribbean, Apple—they all have a lot more to lose than you. They probably also have deeper pockets to make sure their message gets out. Here is where we have an advantage as the technology to communicate on a big level. It is 2022 and there is no reason to not have a website, an emailing program, a social media presence, the ability to create a vlog or to create a podcast. Keep an eye on their messaging as it will be on-point for the most part—because they are spending thousands of dollars for consultants. Mimic it as best you can and scale as needed.
My Crystal Ball
Surveys continue to show that people want to travel once again. Surveys show that people are willing to accept the restrictions that come along with travel in a post-COVID world. But there are people who are on the fence and observing those that travel before them. Be creative, and show them that people can travel safely with a newsletter, a Reddit AMA, a video, or a blog entry on your website. It’s happening. It’s not happening fast. We are still taking two steps forward and one step back—but in the end, we are moving forward!