Four months into the COVID-19 pandemic and business owners nationwide are searching for ways to market your business in creative ways that will produce more sales. It’s time to think differently… to no longer stand back hesitantly. It’s time to be bold with your marketing. So, let’s get started.
1). Break it down. Since so much is changing & changing quickly, you don’t want to use your 2020 marketing plan that was assembled before COVID-19 hit the United States. You also don’t want to plan now for the rest of the year because we expect – even hope — the market will improve. I realize the Type A personalities like to have a plan. I’m one of those Type As, so I understand. Here’s the thing: we’ve got to put aside the plan we developed before COVID. Things are different. So what do you do?
Focus your marketing plan on Q3 (July –Sept), knowing you’ll need to stay flexible as a hopeful vaccine is approved & consumer confidence improves. Write down at least one way that you can help clients THIS month. What’s one thing you could share with clients that makes you think, “Hmmm. If my clients knew this, they’d be relieved.” Maybe it’s something for a smaller group of your clients. Write that down.
Now, we don’t know what the next few months will bring, but what are some ways you can help clients in July-Sept.? Maybe there’s a seasonality to your offerings, especially in the current climate. For those who are opting NOT to vacation, maybe you know of several ways they could invest that money. Stretch yourself to NOT think about pushing a specific product. Instead, think about how you could reassure your clients over the next three months. Write that down.
2). Act now. Show empathy. Don’t let the uncertain market paralyze your business. Now is the time to act. Reach out to your clients & prospects to let them know you’re here to HELP, not SELL. (more on this later). You’re there to provide sound advice. ) I find some professionals are more focused on getting it perfect than getting it done. Right now, it’s important to reach out. Customers will give grace. No perfection required. You can reach out to your client base in a variety of ways to let them know HOW to connect with you, when they’re ready to start using your solutions or more of them. For the Baby Boomer audience, reach out by phone or email. In contrast, younger clients appreciate a quick text letting them know how to reach you with a call to action. Most importantly, send out your marketing now and show your personal side. Behind every transaction is at least one person. He or she may need to hear some reassuring news. Let that voice of confidence be you.
Use the data that you’re already collecting about your clients to personalize and segment your communications. I heard last month about a bank emailing all its customers to say that some branches would be closing and that customers could call their local branch for more details. Imagine the heartburn that caused some clients. Instead, that bank could have targeted customers of branch A with one message and customers of branch two with another message. Investing the time upfront to customize these messages simplifies things for your clients. With so many distractions & information overload right now, people need simple & clear info. Again, empathize with your contacts & make it easy to work with you.
3). Let financial return take a back seat to social return. Instead of pushing your products/services in an online ad (which typically might be a good investment), share content that truly helps your clients – where they are, even outside of your industry. Our financial advisor posted to LinkedIn a link to Family eGuide’s fun & easy activities to do with kids inside while practicing social distancing. He isn’t selling me his products. He’s focusing on what we need individually, as a household & as a business because right now, it’s all colliding. That’s smart & endears me to him because he’s showing me that he cares about more than the next transaction. He’s also staying visible.
I want to share this quote that I just love from Rohit Mahna with Salesforce. He said: ““Data tells us if you help people in a time of need, you’re going to get the long-term ROI out of it. You’re going to grow your walletshare. But if you look for selling opportunities too early, people will sniff that out.”* This is when just being a good person and caring for others pays off.
4). Pitch articles that you write to media outlets. A great way to get your name out there (both individually and for your business) is to write articles for media outlets. Each publication has different guidelines on article length, topics covered, deadlines, etc. Some will even compensate you for the article, if they choose to publish it. BUT more important than getting paid for a published article is the visibility you’ll get. It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your expertise to the publications’ readers who may not know who you are…. YET.
Also, once you have an article published by a publication, you gain at least two other benefits.
1- You can cross-promote the article on your social media channels and link to the article,
2 – The publication is more inclined to accept other articles from you.
5). Update Your Website Regularly. It’s critical to update your website and Google likes to see websites that are regularly being updated. Here are some of the things that you can be updating on your website:
- Articles where you are quoted as the expert
- Articles that you authored
- Community involvement
- Links to your social media accounts
- Links to your newsletter subscription
- FAQs = If there are certain questions that you get from clients & prospects regularly, add those to an FAQ section on your website. It’s helpful info & good for SEO.
- Blog posts
If you’re interested in help on one of these marketing activities on a project basis or ongoing basis, I hope you’ll reach out to Tell Your Tale Marketing & Design. Alternatively, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. It’s time to reinvigorate your marketing. Now, go for it.