The COVID-19 pandemic is an event without precedent, impacting us all both personally and professionally. It’s a time when business leaders should take the initiative in supporting their employees, customers and communities.
School districts across the U.S. are being disrupted by the outbreak. As schools rapidly move to online learning, education companies, teachers and parents are all seeking the best ways to support students.
To help your organization navigate these turbulent times, we’ve compiled five ways to continue supporting customers and marketing thoughtfully.
Check in with customers, prospects and employees.
- Take a step back. Acknowledge the challenges of the current situation – be as transparent and empathetic as possible in every communication.
- Business leaders have an important role to play – supporting staff, maintaining company morale and promoting self-care.
- In summary, be approachable and prepared to solve problems.
Connect with colleagues, partners and customers.
- Create a website landing page to act as a “hub” for COVID-19 resources, to include timely information now and in the future. Designate one or more team members to update the page as the situation evolves.
- Update your strategic communications, marketing, business and sales plans accordingly. Double-check every scheduled email, social and blog post to ensure the messaging reflects the current situation.
- The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving and will have a lasting impact on the education industry. It’s important to set realistic expectations and goals internally, and with your customers.
Adapt your education marketing plan as needed.
- Avoid tactics like cold sales pitches, but marketing should not stop. Instead, focus on inbound marketing by creating useful content that addresses COVID-19 and future planning.
- Focus on retaining customers. Help districts communicate with parents and support students.
- Tip: If your product or service is being used by students learning at home, offer to draft a communication for districts to send to parents or teachers. This message could include tips, FAQs, contact information for support and other helpful info.
- Not all school closures are the same. Identify what each district partner is doing, and help them accordingly.
Identify creative ways to promote your brand.
- With education conferences being cancelled, rescheduled and going virtual, it’s time to innovate. Brainstorm new ways to connect with customers, prospects, industry experts and partners.
- COVID-19 has disrupted the way we connect with one another. Leverage your brand’s social media channels through organic and paid content, host webinars and create new content to engage and entice customers.
- Tip: Paid content should be relevant to the challenges customers are facing, and promote a free resource, like a guide, best practices blog or GoFundMe fundraiser for schools. If your product is targeting parents, realign your ads to target them as well.
#5 GIVE BACK.
Actions speak louder than words.
- Live your company’s mission. Your actions should showcase how the work you do supports educators, districts, students and parents.
- Consider giving back to schools in your community and in your customers’ communities. Whether contributing to a local foundation, donating needed supplies or providing free (or temporarily free) products and services, take this opportunity to show you care.
- Generate free guides, roundtable discussions, etc. where district leaders can learn or hear from their peers how to overcome COVID-19 challenges and plan for the next school year. Districts still trust their peers, now more than ever.
We’re all in this together, and our team is here to help. Whether you have a question, a concern or simply want to chat, please reach out here.
About the Author
Charlene Blohm knows how to take businesses to the next level. Since founding CB&A, a certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise in 1991, Charlene has partnered with organizations of every stripe to deliver bottom-line value. From early stage Davids to multinational Goliaths, she has a knack for seeing what others often don’t.
Charlene has earned several accolades individually and on behalf of the agency, and she’s a frequent guest speaker on all-things education PR, marketing and sales. Charlene’s know-how in journalism, advertising and promotions established strong networks that she continues to cultivate.