The kind of language that businesses use during lockdowns and restricted times can make or break their marketing efforts. The key things to bear in mind before you create ads, blogs or social media posts is to be:

  1. Aware that lockdown affects different people in different ways
  2. Aware of the language you’re using
  3. Not everyone is in lockdown right now

Let’s look a bit deeper at these.

Lockdown is different for different people

Some people view lockdown as a chance to reconnect with family, be closer to home and remove the stresses of a daily commute. While others see it as a personal hell. No separation of work and family. No space away from their kids. No chance to get a moment of peace.

So it makes sense that when you’re marketing to people who may be affected by a lockdown or some kind of movement restrictions, things are going to be a little different for them. And so should your message.

Tone-deaf television ads by air freshener brands showing housewives of leisure dancing and gleefully skipping around houses turning on vanilla and gardenia-scented plugin diffusers while having a spotlessly clean home devoid of children, pets or any kinds of cluttered surfaces are an insult to the reality of the work-from-home Mum right now who is frayed at the edges right now, managing a household, the education of her kids and her full-time job.

Chances are that you don’t have a $250,000 television and running at a spend of $3.4 million nationally. You probably just have a Facebook page and a website. So bear these few points in mind:

  1. If your market is in lockdown, reflect that in your marketing, don’t ignore it.
  2. If your market isn’t in lockdown, then be mindful that your customers have family and friends who are.
  3. You don’t have to make everything dark and miserable. Be bright and cheerful, but remember to turn down the perfection just a touch. We’re not living it right now – and probably won’t be for a while.

Be aware of the language you’re using

When people are feeling their most vulnerable, they are the most open to ideas that will make them feel better. And marketers can be quite unscrupulous during these times. By basing campaigns on fear language, they manipulate frightened people into buying things that they don’t need, or that don’t work. This further erodes people’s trust in messages from businesses.

Many advertising uses the Circle of Fear where a threat is proposed, a solution is offered and a call to action is provided so that you can remove that threat. Its goes a little like this.

In the worst of marketing language it will play out in a script like this:

  1. Cybercriminals are out to steal your money and identity
  2. Don’t let them get away with it. You can protect yourself today
  3. Our antivirus and malware system protects you from hackers
  4. Visit the website today to start protecting yourself

Yet at the same time, this circle of threat can be used much more gently:

  1. Imagine that you get to the end of your life having never seen Uluru at sunset
  2. You can tick that bucket list item off in 2022
  3. Right now Jetstar is flying from Melbourne to Uluru from $89 each way
  4. Grab a great deal on our greatest natural wonder at

The technique is the same, but the language and tone is completely different.

Be aware that not everyone is in lockdown right now

While you’re being respectful of those in lockdown, it’s just as important that remember that not everyone is in lockdown. Segmenting your messages and particularly your advertising, means that you’re able to give people a message that matches their situation. While Sydney and Melbourne in combination make up 40% of the population of our nation, there’s still 60% that don’t live there. So your language is going to be different depending on where you are placing your advertising.

Let’s say, for example, you are selling activewear to an audience in a lockdown location such as Sydney or Melbourne. Your tone isn’t going to be all about “getting out there” or “climbing mountains” or even “the freedom of the open trail.” None of those things are available to the avergae activewearer right now. However, “maintaining your focus” and “getting the most out of your indoor workout” is far more appropriate.

But if your marketing is aimed at Perth, Darwin, Tasmania – then those mountains and open trails are waiting to be explored by people in those regions. Just be aware that northern Australia is vastly different to southern Australia. While Perth and Sydney are freezing in August, in Cairns, Darwin and Broome, we’re out in tshirts and shorts during the day. So make sure that your creative elements are appropriate to the market you’re advertising to.

There’s no one size to fit all

As much as we’d all like it to be, there’s no one size fits all in either organic content or advertising. Especially when it comes to times like these. Be aware of what’s happening in your target markets. Be aware of their lockdown status. Be aware of what is going to work better and where. Your customers will appreciate it.

Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a Facebook Blueprint Certified Lead Trainer, a Community Trainer with Facebook Australia, a digital advisor with Treeti Business Consulting, an accredited ASBAS Digital Solutions advisor and presenter, and the editor at The Small Marketer. You can watch free 1-hour webinars and grow your digital skills at Dante’s YouTube Channel.