Well, this is an interesting moment in life, isn't it? I hope you are all in a safe place and in good health -- both physically and mentally.
I took this photo a few years ago after a visit to the dentist for oral surgery. I stopped to treat myself to frozen yogurt and admire the beautiful views in Fountain Park. The rainbow comforted my wounded spirit every bit as much as the frozen dessert soothed my aching jaw.
This image reminds me... we will be on the other side of this pandemic one day soon. When we do emerge, let's make sure it's as a stronger, more united business community. In that spirit, here are a few survival tips.
If you've been posting content organically or running ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, don't stop! Now is definitely NOT the time to abandon the online community you've worked so hard to develop. You should; however, carefully evaluate your message...
Be helpful. Think about how your product/service can benefit your customers or community. For example, Hob Nob Catering has waived delivery fees for their HOMESTYLE meals to Fountain Hills residents. Your Patients Advocate is offering a discounted rate for virtual visits. This is a great time to demonstrate that your business understands the situation and is poised to help.
Be positive. Remember the scene in the original Ghost Busters movie where the team tested the negative affects of anger on the mood slime? (If not, you seriously need to watch this.) Not to trivialize the situation, but your tone matters! This is a time to rally your online community and give them hope for the future. Promote future events. Share inspiring stories from your business or its customers. Post humorous or creative videos and photos of how your team is safely and remotely conducting business.
Provide value. Pushy, insensitive sales messages are not going to work right now. Focus instead on how you can inform and support your audience. Share tips and suggestions. Provide links to industry resources. Also, unless you are a healthcare provider, resist the urge to provide any pandemic-related information. Content of this nature can hurt your brand as well as unintentionally add to public fear and panic, especially if it's unverified or comes from other than a trustworthy news source.
You know all of those closets you've been cleaning and organizing at home? Apply the same concept to your marketing materials. Do they adequately represent your brand (think logo, color and content)? Maybe it's time to...
Update your website. Now is a good time to review the content on your website to make sure it's still relevant. If you have any pandemic-related messages, make sure they are displayed prominently on your home page.
Start blogging. I've been hearing experts say that businesses should invest in content-based, storytelling marketing for a year now, but it's only been in the last month I've heard clients (and potential clients) tell me they are making that shift. Now is the time to add a blog to your website and start telling your story.
Review your print materials. Is it time to update your print materials to more accurately reflect your brand? Is this a good time to develop some direct mail pieces? If your audience doesn't rely on social media to get their news, consider starting a newsletter. If you can't add a blog or newsletter app to your website, check out MailChimp or Constant Contact.
Re-purpose content. Think creatively about how old material can be re-purposed to tell your brand's story. For example, if you have a social media post that performed well or a video with content that is relative in today's environment, dust it off and use it again or edit it to fit your message.
Make a plan. Are you finding yourself with extra time in your work day? Put it to good use by drafting that marketing plan you've been too busy to create. Dream a little... what do you want your business to look like one year from now? Five years from now? Set measurable goals, then write a detailed road map of what you need to do to achieve them.
Now, more than ever, it's important to focus on your existing customers. If they can't come to you, figure out how to go to them. Remember, it's much less costly to retain existing customers than it is to attract new ones. What can you do to stay in touch and be relevant? Take a look at some of these incredibly inventive ways my colleagues, clients and area non-profit organizations are making it work.
The Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association decided to host their annual festival as a virtual event. The event was promoted on social media and in newsletters. Links to the YouTube video segments are posted on their website and were posted on their Facebook page the day of the event.
FountainHillsLive.com temporarily removed membership restrictions and waived website advertising fees for Fountain Hills' businesses and organizations which are providing COVID19-related products or services. (Contact me for more information if you think your business qualifies.)
That's it, friends!
My hope is that you find these marketing survival tips valuable and useful as we navigate these ugly waters together. As Maya Angelou once said to Oprah, "every storm runs out of rain." I look forward to the big celebration we'll all have once this storm has passed.