Marketing in a time of crisis
And Amid Worldwide COVID-19 Shutdowns, Cafe Owners Speak Out
So, this world, huh. It seems a little strange and to be quite honest, inappropriate, to talk about marketing when so much of the world is dealing with a pandemic. Instead of writing about straight-up marketing in the coming issues, I’ll aim to just write… I won’t promise it’ll always be about marketing. I hope you stick with me.
Since my last issue send, San Francisco (where I live) has gotten increasingly severe in its restrictions and guidelines regarding COVID-19. I went to the store a few times to stock up on goods. Today is day 2 of three weeks of the mandatory shelter-in-place order. I have seen my friends close their cafes, friends get laid off, friends lose all of their income, and friends deal with working from home.
I don’t want to say that we’ll get through this together because in reality, some of us won’t. Instead, I hope you’re all doing the best you can, supporting those around you if you’re able, and that you’re taking all the steps to flatten the curve. 💜
Marketing in a time of crisis
Instead of outright marketing messages, I’m going to list some resources and options for you to keep your business as relevant as possible.
If you’re still open, here are some options for you:
Daily posted signs at door and online regarding any house rules (take out only, condiments behind the counter, etc.)
Marked tape on floor for best customer flow like Quills Coffee did. This also ensures that people are still socially distant.
Set up a virtual tip jar NOW if you think that you’ll be affected by the pandemic with closures. If you need examples, here are some @gofundbean.
Share how to support your cafe, other local businesses, and the greater community
If you are cutting hours but still keeping staff on, you might be wondering what they can work on. This is the time for professional development.
Create your future crisis communication plan. When I wrote that article, I didn’t think to put “global pandemic” into it but yes, I guess we do need to plan for that now.
Reexamine your social strategy, brand voice, and general communications.
Unless you live in a place where the government is managing the outbreak well, it’s probably not business as usual for you. Here are some things you can do:
Within a cafe setting, host dropoffs for food, donate them to the local shelters
Online, host virtual coffee hours or live Q&As with folks
Post about your delivery, handoff, curbside pickup, etc. options. Make sure to remind customers if roasting will be off schedule or continuing as planned.
Compile community resources like Prima did (but local to you) and post about them
Post educational materials for your customers. For example, what goes into roasting, how water is so important to brewing, etc.
Create mini workshop videos
We have a tendency to withdraw in times of crisis. One of the reasons why I love being in coffee is the community aspect. I see people supporting each other, businesses posting about relief efforts, and coming together to write political letters. This community will make it through, I’m just worried about what it’ll look like on the other side.
[BYLINE] Coffee professionals from around the world discuss COVID-19.
Quick text updates & links on what's new on the networks
I imagine that feature releases and testing will be stalled in the coming months as employees of these companies are working remotely.
Facebook is testing cross-posting stories to Instagram.
Social media management platform Buffer added a best time to post feature.
Helpful links on how to improve your digital marketing
Consider what customers need and want to hear from your organization to best help your brand while dodging potential risks.
Discover the benefits of hyperlocal marketing, as well as what a strategy that uses hyperlocal marketing efforts looks like when done successfully.
With the right approach, you can still generate great results from virtual events - here are some tips to help you optimize your approach.
Anything I've enjoyed reading recently
Acting together while standing six feet apart
“If you care about people, then care about vulnerable people as well.”
[just something fun] Even if you’re stuck at home in coronavirus quarantine, you can visit your favorite shelter pets and zoo animals on livestreams.
An update from my container garden!
Plants don't know when there's a pandemic. This stromanthe triostar put out a beautiful new leaf.
What'd you think?
Feedback, questions, or fist bumps 👊 – send them my way by hitting the reply button. Also happy with the 👍 at the end. Or find me on the social networks @thejennchen.
By Jenn Chen
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