There are only 3 things that every business needs to do right now.
I recently wrote an article about immediate actions to take right now to weather the COVID-19 storm, but essentially this current phase of what we're facing needs to be done quickly and efficiently so that you can turn your focus to points two and three.
So, quickly and efficiently action immediate mitgation tasks that need to happen in your business. These may include;
communicating new policies, systems and approaches to your existing clients
adjusting schedules and delivery formats to move everything online
brainstorming news ways to deal with the unforeseen challenges you might be facing
stripping back, streamlining, postponing or (as a last resort) cancelling upcoming 'things' as needed
re-budgeting and cutting costs (but don't go too crazy just yet!)
Get these immediate things done (if you haven't already), then stop, take a deep breath, and move to a new way of life; let's call it "the long-game".
The long-game encompasses points two and three and it is an exciting, calm and new way of being in the world. It involves less stress, more creativity and a tonne of planning, ideating and developing. Just the stuff that I REALLY LOVE!!
Demonstrates leadership and proactivity
Embeds your value with existing clients
Helps you feel in control in a world of uncertainty
Now, more than usual, your marketing efforts should focus on driving presence of your business and raising your profile with your ideal target audience without any overt selling efforts. As part of this approach, you should consider both content marketing and direct engagement with LinkedIn connections.
Overall, you should focus on creating and nuturing relationships for the long-term.
Right now, market your business from the perspective of your expertise and skillset. LinkedIn is the core channel for you to do this. Write articles that position you as an expert in your field, use hashtags and groups to expand the reach of your content beyond your immediate network.
Post useful tips and ideas, all within the realm of your specific area of expertise.
Not everything has to be about Coronavirus, but I do recommend at least demonstrating that you are aware it is happening! Have you ever noticed social media accounts from businesses that just toe the corporate line no matter what else is happening in the world? Doesn't it feel, well, inhuman? You can afford to be human, because you are one. So, acknowledge what's happening in the world (coronavirus or otherwise) and balance that with BAU content.
Above all, just get out there on social channels, email and any other groups or forums that you can, and be on the frontline of people's questions, discussions and ideas. The really great thing about right now is that you can do this in the knowledge that we are all in the same boat, sharing the same challenges and feeling the same fears and concerns. As such, we can be more authentic than ever before, and most of all we can engage with people without our inner used car salesperson getting in the way. Just be there, just be you, and just makes some new friends.
New relationships with prospects for the future
Establish yourself as an expert in your field
Grow your network, which means your marketing reaches more people
Part three is about innovation. In pre-coronavirus times, businesses that didn't innovate their services in line with the changing needs of their customers would simply die. During coronavirus, innovation is the least, but not the 100% success rate action you can take to stay afloat. Post-coronavirus, the world has changed. There are some things that just a week ago would have seemed 'normal' that right now you wouldn't even contemplate. As such, we may never go back to the 'old way' ever again.
To survive, post apocalypse, you must create services that will meet the needs of a post COVID-19 world.
Businesses that take a deep breath, pause and assess what they can do to innovate their offer ready for a post-coronavirus world are the ONLY ones who will survive this.
So, pause what you were doing before COVID-19, take a step back and assess whether those things are still going to be relevant in a post-covid-19 world.
There is a lot of uncertainty right now, and in an uncertain climate, there is no buying confidence. Look at what the general public are spending their money on right now... toilet roll, tissues, hand sanitizer and milk. Think about the need those purchases fulfil. Having those things on hand makes people feel safe and comfortable. Nothing more.
These are basic needs - shelter, comfort and safety.
People have switched to basic needs mode and will probably be in this mode for quite some time to come now.
So, ask yourself; how does my business meet people's basic needs? Does it seek to meet those types of needs at all? If it doesn't, that's perfectly ok. Maybe we all wish we were a toilet paper manufacturer right now, but most of us aren't, so we have to deal with what we do have to offer.
If what you offer just isn't going to cut it with people RIGHT NOW, the best thing you can do is assess how you can ensure you are ready to support them when we get through the other side of this.
The best way to do this is ask yourself (or better yet, them - but not yet because they really don't know); what will they need when we come through the other side of this. What will be different for them (and all of us) in the future we now face?
Once you can unearth their buying mindset, problem/solution requirements and what will make them feel buying confidence; you can develop appropriate services, productise them and prepare the marketing materials (website, landing pages, ad campaigns, content etc.) ready to release when the world presses 'play' again.
You won't waste your time on 'knee-jerk' solutions that will only be useful short-term and under unusual circumstances.
Futureproof your business because you'll have innovated your services whilst others will have spent time on short-term gain.
Be ahead of your competition when we press 'play' because your products and marketing will be ready to sell (the early bird catches the worm!)
Grab the popcorn, settle in, and get creative!
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Stevie V Brown coaches small business owners’ to increase their marketing know-how, build their confidence and create and implement a growth marketing strategy that attracts and nurtures more of their ideal clients and gets them paid what they're truly worth. Apply for a FREE Marketing Accelerator with Stevie and get crystal clear on the next 3 actions you can take to grow your business today.