We are facing an unprecedented time in global history. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the federal government is urging people to practice social distancing. Many cities have closed down bars and restaurants and are recommending that as many people as possible work from home. This has a huge impact on everything from stress levels to the local and national economy. It is also extremely trying for small businesses that are losing revenue and clients.
However, now is not the time to hide and simply hope that it all blows over quickly. Your customers, clients, and prospects still need to know that you are out there and ready to help them any way you can. Though holding events, attending networking groups, and meeting with groups of people in person may not be possible, there are still a number of ways to stay top-of-mind with those you do business with. Here are five:
GET ON THE PHONE
How long has it been since you got on the phone and called your clients or prospects? There is a lot of bad news out there, but the good news is that your connections are more likely than ever to answer your phone call and have time to talk. Whether you have a new product or service you want to chat about or you simply want to call and check-in, picking up the phone (after disinfecting it, of course) is more timely than ever.
FILM FACEBOOK LIVES
Your customers can’t see your face in person, but they can still see it via social media! Take this opportunity to film some Facebook lives. Your social networks are hungry for anything that will take their mind off the virus. Go live on Facebook to talk about informative or entertaining topics and get others involved. Whether or not you talk about your actual business is not as important as staying involved, available, and visible.
HOST AND ATTEND VIRTUAL MEETINGS
It’s likely that all of your networking groups have been canceled. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still host and attend them – you just need to do it virtually. There are a number of virtual meeting options including Zoom and Skype. Depending on the number of people involved and their equipment, you can host meetings of various sizes for little to no investment. With Zoom, you can host meetings up to 40 minutes in length and with up to 100 participants, as well as unlimited one to one meetings, for free. Zoom is also changing some of their requirements to accommodate users during the pandemic. Remember to update the meeting in your Google calendar with a link to the virtual meeting so everyone in the group knows it’s been altered, not canceled!
This too shall pass. And when it does, you don’t want to start from ground zero with your marketing efforts. Depending on your industry, you may or may not be actively serving customers right now. However, you can still market to them and keep your message relevant. Focus on providing helpful content through social media, newsletters, and in online groups. Keep ads going, even if you have to cut back slightly until business picks up. Though your momentum may slow during this time, it won’t come to a screeching halt if you continue marketing and play the long game.
PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS NEED
Now is the perfect time to take the focus off yourself and put it squarely on your customers. What do they need from you right now? Is it reassurance that you can still fix their roof if it starts leaking this week? Recommendations on where to get the best food to go? Suggestions for vitamins or supplements that boost the immune system? Maybe they just need to know you have a live chat option on your website so you can answer any concerns they have. When you become a resource for your customers during trying times, you increase your value. When it’s finally back to business as usual, you’ll be the first option they think of when they need your particular product or service.
We understand that this is a confusing time for everyone. However, it’s important to realize that the crisis will come to an end and that business owners need to position themselves to rebound as quickly as possible when it does. Though we may be physically isolated, it doesn’t mean all contact has to stop. Stay connected with these suggestions and stay healthy while remaining visible!