In times of crisis, it can be difficult to know how to sensitively adjust your marketing communications, and this has been particularly challenging for design firms during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Houzz asked four professionals for their experiences and advice on how they’re staying connected to their client base during the lockdown.
Adjust your tone of voice
It can be tricky to know what tone to take in your online communications during a crisis, but a good tip is to tune into the wider mood of your audience and plan accordingly.
Angus Eitel wasn’t sure at first how relevant his firm’s message would be during the lockdown and initially went for a very measured response. “[But] we quickly realised that people were relying more than ever on the internet as a means of connecting with the wider world and we had our part to play in that,” he says. As homeowners had time to consider future projects, design firms like his could provide inspiration.
Balance is key, as Angus explains. “We’ve tried to acknowledge the events that are unfolding around us and the amazing work of the NHS and key workers generally. I feel we’re managing to find our balance between inspiration and empathy in our social voice.”
Don’t go changing
Similarly, Angus says, “It’s important to communicate our recently completed projects, but also to reflect on past projects, as well as use our marketing to be very clear about the services we offer and the process we go through with each homeowner.”
Display your work
As mentioned earlier, people have been spending more time online during the lockdown. In fact, time spent on digital media is predicted to see an increase of 9.3% in 2020, according to eMarketer. So it pays to make the most of any increased internet traffic by ensuring your online presence is looking its best.
Taking the time to upload any new photos and projects to your Houzz profile will help your work be seen and could also lead to your images being featured editorially.
While your work is the main focus when it comes to marketing, at times of crisis, it helps to connect emotionally, too. Don’t be afraid to open up about what you’re doing and how you and your team are dealing with the situation.
Connect with the community
Make the most of online platforms to engage with potential clients directly. Take the opportunity on Houzz, for example, to tune into the community. You can do this by posting a question in the Advice section or responding to someone else’s post. Alternatively, add a message to the Comments on an editorial story.
Local networking groups who have regular ‘coffee meet-ups’ on Zoom are another way to connect with clients in your area. “It’s important to keep talking, albeit in a positive and respectful way,” Angus says.
“As much as possible, we’re trying to remain positive and make the best of the current situation,” Angus says. “It’s allowed us to reflect on where we are and where we want to go in the future. We can then shape our marketing strategy to try to achieve this.”
If your company has diversified to manage the crisis or already offers a service that’s relevant, use your online messaging to highlight it.