As the world is scrambling to understand how to be safe and what life will look like in the short and long term, business are scrambling to stay afloat amidst daily changes to rules and customer behavior. So how does one effectively market in this new climate? The reality is, we don’t really know. These times of crisis drive new ideas and new solutions, some of which will fail and others that will open new industries.
Let’s explore some ways to continue to reach out to your customers, provide new services, and few new clients or even new markets. For now we’ll focus on using the same tools we have now to connect with your market in the “new normal”.
This is the most obvious place to start since remote _______ <learning> <working> <meetings> <counseling> <
eating> is part of our new normal.
Email: If your inbox is anything like mine, it’s flooded right now with messages about COVID-19 from lists that I haven’t heard from in years. Most of these emails are full of information that doesn’t effect me at all, but one company took the approach of giving some very good practical tips of staying entertained and engaged while stuck at home with the family. I read every word. This business was not in the entertainment space at all which made it all the more “real”. Some thoughts to consider when doing an email blast in the next few weeks:
- Keep it short
- We are all in this together, so write from that perspective
- Give helpful info, not too promotional, unless what you sell is particularly useful right now
Ads: People are searching for things they probably never have before and any residual contingent of the online shopping-timid are finally taking the plunge. Homes are crowded, kids are struggling with technology, many are recently jobless. Can your products or services be a help, if so, you might consider running some ads for quick visibility. TIP: Don’t use coronavirus or COVID-19 in your ad text or it likely won’t show on Google.
Social: So many meetings are moving to Facebook live or Zoom or whatever. So many groups are forming for online discussions. Personally, I’ve found that these online meetings have taken existing business relations a little deeper. There’s something about “being” in another person’s house that takes a relationship to a slightly different place. These are generally easy to use well worth jumping into for individual client meetings, or larger events. Make it easy for people to reach out and request or even start a meeting.
Video: Quick video clips keep things real and offer an opportunity share your environment with your market. Sharing on social or on a website, or even short ones via email or an email campaign are a great way to stay top of mind. As with other things, keep it short, helpful, relevant, and not too sales-y unless you have a great idea or product. Home grown videos are OK for some uses, but you may want to go professional depending on how they’ll be distributed.
Webinars: So many meetings are moving to a video chat model, but consider a webinar to schedule a conference or if your audience is large. It’s a great format and in some cases, you can re-purpose the content for future meetings, paid or unpaid.
Website: Keep things updated here, any major scheduling changes or differences in the way you’ll be doing business should be front and center. If you aren’t a regular blogger, this could be a good time to get started.
Just because people aren’t out and about as much doesn’t mean there is not opportunity. People are still outside, walking and exercising in open areas. People are still food shopping and going out for other necessities. While I don’t think this is the time to invest in billboard ads, maybe something less common like skywriting or those banners you always see at the beach could gather lots of eyeballs.
Postcards: People are still getting mail, and with the increase in digital communication, the good ‘ol mailbox might be a great way to get a specific message out, especially to a small local area if that’s your market. If you are really slow, you could even go house to house, (mailbox hangers) but check the legality on that in your area and obviously make sure you are practicing any applicable safety measures like gloves, distancing etc.
Flyers: If you are a local retail company that can stay open, it’s time to team up with others in the same boat. Co-promote with flyers in each other’s businesses, maybe the larger grocers or pharmacies would be willing to keep some of your flyers in their stores as well. Buy a display rack for your store and invite other local business to provide you with flyers to display. Reciprocity is a powerful thing and likely they’ll reciprocate and do the same.
Signs: Grab some lawn signs that say you’re still open, or that you are offering curbside delivery. Let people know what you have available for them. Maybe even look into some neon window signs (is that even a thing anymore?) Light can be powerful and grab attention. Decorate the outside of your store with holiday lights and shine them bright.
Calls: Spend the slow time calling clients or regular customers. They are likely feeling disconnected and a call just to see how they are doing and how you can help could be just what they needed. It may not bring in revenue that moment, but the relationship strengthened will be worth much more in the long term.
Have fun. That doesn’t mean be disrespectful or take the situation lightly. But with a heavy cast over much of people’s lives, a little levity helps remind people we are all still human and that there is another side to this. We just can’t see it clearly yet.
If your business is struggling and you want to talk about how any of these ideas might apply to you, we are available for a free, 30 minute brainstorming session. There’s no commitment but if our ideas and experience can help you through this time, we’d love to help.