We live in an ever-changing world and as marketers we play a pivotal role in the way our brand is portrayed during a crisis and time of hardship. At the time of this writing, gyms across the country have been closed for a month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the majority of our businesses. Due to the shift in our priorities, behaviors and mindsets during a time of crisis, your marketing strategy must adjust accordingly. People may not want to buy, but they certainly want to learn and feel supported. Here are our marketing best practices to consider during times of crisis:
Put Your Customer First
Not just during a crisis but always. It is essential to put your customers first. How can you support them? What can you do to make their life easier, more enjoyable? They’ll remember that you operated with heart and did what was right. This is fool-proof marketing. Everything else business-wise will follow.
Involve members in your decision-making process whether through surveys or polls. Their feedback will certainly help shape any operational considerations you may be weighing, and it will help ensure that you remain part of their lives today and moving forward.
Staying connected is imperative. Email and post to share updates as they come. Go live on IGTV, Facebook or YouTube to share real-time. Video is also a great way to send a more personalized message and even show the work that’s being done behind the scenes.
You’re most likely moving fast during a crisis - trying to both alleviate and anticipate needs. Let polished and perfect fall to the wayside. Showing the human side of what we’re all dealing with is what matters. Be authentically you, raw and unedited. Let your brand be someone you can relate to and count on.
Be a Resource.
Your members have always looked to you for healthy life support and now they are going to need it more than ever. Focus on what your members and team need right now - support, information, inspiration, motivation, even some light-hearted fun. Be sure they know they can trust you and that you’re here for them today and always.
Rethink Your Message + Product
Now is a great time to reposition your brand or change/alter your offerings. Do quality research. Journey map, analyze member data, update customer profiles + buyer personas. Are you offering all the right products to your customers? Should some membership packages be combined or removed altogether? Are they priced correctly? Take this time to evaluate your competition and likely joiner market and make sure your pricing and membership is aligned with the demand in the marketplace.
Make time for learning and development. Refine your marketing skillset by joining webinars, reading white papers and taking online courses that you don’t always have the extra time for. Want to become an SEO master or fine-tune your analytics? We love Google’s certification program.
Do Your Chores
Refresh your website, update employee handbooks + policies, organize your internal processes and files. Do what’s needed to set your team up for success so when the storm has passed, they’re stronger than ever.
Does your fitness center need help with reopening plans, marketing strategy or market rival? The Active Team is here to help. Contact us today.
Kari Bedgood is Active's Chief Marketing Officer, who as an introverted extrovert, appreciates this time at home to get wrapped up in a book/Netflix series or find new trails with her dog Wrigley. She can also be found on Hangouts on most Friday and Saturday nights catching up with friends. But be warned: tears of joy will be shed during her first indoor cycling or CrossFit class back, both of which have been dearly missed.