People handle challenges in different ways and this pandemic is no exception. While your business may target a particular demographic, it's likely this demographic has split since COVID-19. You now have people who while they may fall into the same age group, income bracket, gender, geographical region or other similar characteristics, their reaction to the coronavirus may differ greatly. As things begin to open up, it's essential that you understand the personalities you're dealing with and how best to market to them.
3 Common COVID Personalities
When we refer to “COVID personalities” what we're talking about is an individual's reaction to the virus. Not the physical one but the mental one. People are dealing with this illness in very different ways. And these attitudes will affect your ability to market and sell to them.
While some of the details behind these personalities may seem a little tongue in cheek, it's important to understand their concerns if you want them to buy from you. The converse is true as well. If you don't want this type of persona to buy from you then you'll learn what to say to make your business less appealing.
So, while at first glance this may seem like a funny article, a buyer’s reaction to the pandemic will fuel (or squelch) their desire to buy from you.
Personality 1: don't tread on me
There are many people out there who are currently displeased with government due to the business closure that began earlier this spring. They disapprove of government intervention and hate being told to do things they see as personal choices like wearing masks. If you cite health reasons and protection, they will remind you of the statistics and how many people recover from this illness.
If these are your customers, you will need to walk a fine line between following local health ordinances and not making these people feel like they’re being ordered around. Business owners who want to appeal to this persona are taking a casual approach to things like mask wearing. They're inviting customers who would like to wear a mask to wear one as well as welcoming those who don't want to wear them.
Personality 2: don't breathe on me
These customers take social distancing very seriously. They will turn around and avoid going down an aisle if there's another human in it. They wear their masks religiously and avoid interaction with people as much as possible. They may ask your staff to touch things so that they don't have to.
Marketing to these customers requires in-depth explanations of how you are keeping them--as well as your staff--safe. These people will call your business and want to know what you're doing before patronizing you. So do your best to get the message out there on your own through social media and your website. Be ready with specifics. They’ll want to see images and wait times.
Personality 3: don’t make it any harder on me
This is probably where most of your customers are right now. They don't mind practicing social distancing, but they also aren’t ready to join massive protests. They’re trying to exercise caution while still enjoying themselves.
To reach this group you want to communicate what you're doing, how easy it is to purchase from you, any expectations on how you've changed business operations, and any updated hours or things that are limited in their availability. This middle group could easily become one of the first two personalities if statistics change greatly over the next few months. That's why if you want them to continue to be customers you need to keep up strong communications.
These are strange times we're navigating. People are reacting very differently to them. While tailoring your marketing has always been important, it's extremely so now. People no longer walk into businesses without questions. There are so many things they're curious about. Your social media marketing--both paid and unpaid--should be working to reach these segments by giving them the information they need.
Doing business with a company has gotten a little bit harder with COVID-19. But many of us want to begin purchasing goods and services again. Making sure you're sending out the right message is the best way to attract customers to your business instead of them turning to the competition.
Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so.