Curbside Series Part 2: Curbside Marketing

Elizabeth Rider
Curbside Series Part 2: Curbside Marketing

“Curbside ______” has become an overnight phenomenon thanks to the Coronavirus.

Just type “curbside” on Google and you’ll get these top searches:

In this second edition of our Curbside Series, we bring you: Curbside Marketing.

What is Curbside Marketing?

These are tips for marketing in a crisis. They’re so simple you can read them while you’re in line for that curbside grocery pickup and implement them within five minutes of getting home.

So What Is It?

Of course, if we’re going to talk about crisis marketing, then we must first define it.

Crisis marketing is marketing in the face of a crisis. Obviously.

But it’s so much more than that.

We often focus on crisis communication when things like natural disasters or global pandemics significantly affect our stakeholders.

Crisis communication is good and necessary, but it’s also short-term. When the crisis is over, you’re left with this question: do your people remember who you were before the crisis?

That’s where crisis marketing comes in.

Crisis marketing acknowledges the crisis for what it is while also maintaining momentum for your credit union or community bank as a whole. Crisis marketing is what moves you forward; crisis communication is not.

Marketing in a Crisis Tip #1: Keep marketing

Simply posting your credit union or community bank’s obligatory crisis statement (see: the endless COVID-19 emails we’ve all received) is not enough. Scrapping your previously planned campaigns is also not enough. Your job is to stay at the forefront of people’s minds as the one source of stability in their lives. However, they won’t know you’re stable if you’re not marketing to them.

marketing in a crisis

Marketing in a Crisis Tip #2:
Don’t market products and services

What?! Marketing is more than pushing products and services? You bet it is. Marketing is about telling stories, and there are few better times to tell stories than during a crisis. Tell the stories of how you are helping your members or customers. Tell them how your employees are working around the clock to serve them and give specific examples of each.

Marketing in a Crisis Tip #3: Break all the social media rules

Many credit union and community bank marketers like to stay inside their comfortable social media boxes. They only post on weekdays, and rarely after 5 p.m. But during a crisis, you need to pull the plug on any automated social media platforms you may be using (Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.) and go back to all organic. Your people need to know you are with them and in-touch. Because things change so quickly during a crisis, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to communicate “here for you” by scheduling social media posts days or even hours in advance.

marketing in a crisis break social media rules

Marketing in a Crisis Tip #4:
Be the financial guide

During crisis of any kind, one of the first things people worry about is their money. As a credit union or community bank, you have a unique opportunity to provide calm in the midst of the storm. You get to guide them on how to handle their finances in an unstable economy. You get to provide financial tools and resources they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Now more than ever is the time to show that your credit union or community bank is the expert your people can trust.

Marketing in a Crisis Tip #5: Keep it simple

The average American reads at a seventh-grade level. Do you think they’re going to be reading long paragraph-form emails from you when they’re trying to figure out how to take care of their families? No. They will skim it for the highlights, and if they don’t understand what you’ve written (i.e. if you’ve used too much industry jargon) then they’re going to walk away confused. Write in bullet points, short sentences and short words. It will be easier for you and for them.

Whether this is your first time marketing in a crisis you’re your hundredth, these tips will make not only your life easier but also the lives of your members and customers easier.

And, most importantly, these tips will position your credit union or community bank for long-term success, not just short-term survival.

Elizabeth Rider
Chief of Staff
Elizabeth Rider
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