This past year and a half has been tough, to say the least, both personally and professionally. The global health crisis required businesses to rise to a new level of sensitivity and flexibility, and really put their customers first. But, businesses still need to make money. So, many have continued running promotional ads throughout the pandemic. This begs the question… how do you handle paid media promotions with grace and conscientiousness? Here are some tips.
Review Your Ad’s Overall Takeaway
While a promo is intended to benefit both your customer (by saving them money) and you (by getting them to buy when they may not have otherwise), it must be approached with care. For instance, let’s say you own a luxury lifestyle brand with high price points and products that fall in the “non-essential” category. Running a video ad campaign that shows people relaxing on a beach or pampering themselves with your high-end products can be incredibly alienating during a pandemic that caused so many to lose jobs and endure sickness and loss.Consider the ad vehicle you’re using and what it’s communicating. Perhaps you can create a social media ad series that highlights one product on sale each week, and position it as a go-to product for easing stress or soothing anxiety. Show normal people who appear to find a moment of relief or peace when they apply your product. Even though your brand is typically upscale, the “we’re expensive and exclusive” message just won’t land in the current context of world events. You need to relate to your customers, and the overall implications of your ad are just as important as the explicit content of the ad itself.
Remember Language Matters
Additionally, keep your verbiage in check. Many companies like to use humor to connect to customers, which can absolutely be an effective way to go. But during a time when people are hurting, confused and scared, a softer approach is usually better. Even well-intentioned attempts at humor can be misinterpreted, and cast your company in a poor light. Instead, keep your tone caring and hopeful. Also, watch how you’re phrasing your promo. Avoid saying something like, “You’re running out of time!” which can be seen for what it is - a sales tactic that is rather insensitive when people are already stressed and fearful (plus, can conjure up thoughts of dying). Instead, choose words and graphics that steer clear of loaded insinuations and rather invite people toward you and your products. Your paid media promotions should give people a feeling of warmth, and making simple wording swaps can go a long way in accomplishing that.
Reflect on The Purpose
Finally, you’re in business to make money. You need to sell your offerings to do this, and promotional ads can be a great tool in the selling process. But, before you come up with an ad campaign, really think about your goal. Instead of focusing primarily on your margins and sales numbers, think about how you can help your customers. Is there something free you can throw in when someone makes a purchase that will make them smile? Can you discount one of your services so you still make a profit, but your buyer doesn’t have to incur as much of an expense? Is there a way you can support your customers that doesn’t even have anything to do with what you sell? The more you can shift your mindset to one of being helpful and adding value, the more your ads will convey the same - and your customers will feel it. People want to buy from companies that are sensitive and attuned to their situation. This is why, more than ever, context is everything when it comes to your promotional ads. Need a partner to guide you in navigating this? We’d love to help!