Are you tired of the words “new normal” yet?
If you’re like most business owners, you probably are. But whether we recognize it as a new shift in how we do business or a temporary tack we take to survive the current economic storm, the point is how you do business has to change if you want to continue to connect to your audience.
Give up One-size-fits-all for Good
Customizing your approach to your target market has never been more important than during COVID-19. People want to hear from you and they want to feel like you understand them. But if you’re sending out a generic marketing message to everyone they’re not going to feel that.
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This is a fantastic time to increase your social media presence and begin having (more) conversations. A lot of people are struggling right now. Providing inspiration as well as commenting on their posts will make them feel good. That’s a way to make a big impression on your audience.
That doesn’t mean you need to comment hours on end. Pick a small group of people who are active on social media and engage them in conversation. Start there then expand. Good people to consider conversing with are your most loyal customers or industry influencers.
Not sure where to start? Look for local groups that you can become a part of. Be careful to follow posting guidelines and be helpful, not salesy. Provide information to people and plug other businesses (not in competition with you). They’ll likely do the same.
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Focus on What You’re Doing for Safety and Convenience
It’s very important if you’re changing anything for safety or convenience that you market what you’re doing. Otherwise, your audience won’t know. If you changed how you’re doing business to make it easier for people to buy from you, communicate that as well.
Look for Kinks in the Customer Experience
Many businesses have changed how they do business. Some are doing curbside pickups or making customers wait in the car until the business is ready for them. Think about how those things have changed the customer experience and how you can alleviate any inconveniences.
For instance, if you require customers to call you when they are outside your business, consider putting up a sign in the parking lot with your phone number. It sounds like just another expense but for the customer who pulls in and then has to look up your phone number, it’s very helpful. The sign is also a branding opportunity for you.
Whether you feel it or not, spreading a good message that helps people feel reassured and cared for every time they read your content will help you stand out in the market. There is a lot of doom and gloom out there. Don’t be a part of it.
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Move Your Brand Online
Just as this is the ideal time to increase your social media conversations, it’s also a great time to work on your online branding and user experience. Revamp your website, rework your content, and look for ways you can improve the online buying experience. If you don’t currently sell online, you should consider it.
Is there some knowledge you possess that can help your customers? It could be product or industry related or you could have a conversation on how to make a buying decision for your product or service. Hosting webinars or an e-learning class is a great way to get out in front of your audience and provide value at the same time.
Share Your Hobbies
A lot of people are feeling disconnected with COVID. Consider creating a podcast or video meeting once a month (or more frequently if it works for your audience) to discuss or teach a favorite hobby of yours. You might be surprised how many people respond to seeing a different side of you.
Your hobby needn’t be associated with your business. The point here is to create a connection. You may want to consider bringing other people who enjoy the hobby onto your “show” for added entertainment.
Some businesses have created a virtual happy hour, for instance, where they talk about how to make artisanal cocktails with a new cocktail featured each episode. You could do something like that even if you’re not in the hospitality industry. The point here is to show your passion to your audience and connect with those who share the same.
Infuse Your Communications with Empathy
Now is not the time to showcase a cold, impartial corporate image. Instead, look for ways you can show empathy to your clients or customers and share your humanity. Consumers want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Empathy helps with all of those.
Some businesses have changed the types of things they sell or services they offer. Maybe your business is doing fine during COVID. Whether you’ve been wildly successful, or you had to pivot your offerings, changing your marketing to reflect the changes in business is essential and will make you much more successful in the future.
While none of us wanted a disruption like this one, ultimately the changes that are occurring could have benefits. They may end up helping businesses apply better focus on the needs of their customers, increasing loyalty, and creating a win for businesses, employees, and customers.
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. Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on Facebook.