Right now, we are all trying to pre-empt the impact that Coronavirus is going to have on our businesses. So, we have a choice. We can stop everything and wait for it to pass (hoping that it will) or we can fight to save the businesses that we love so much. The choice is yours…
Over the last couple of days, we have seen schools close, thousands of people go into self-isolation, even more people asked to work from home and Boris Johnson tell everyone to avoid pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants, travel and theatre trips.
We have watched people we care about have to cancel their hen/stag parties, weddings, show performances, birthday parties.
We have seen crazy, selfish people wipe the shelves clean of toilet paper, cleaning products, tinned foods, paracetamol and pasta.
We have seen elderly people go into hibernation to avoid catching this killing-virus. The people who need us most to visit them, look after them and love them are now not seeing a soul!
But on top of all of this, SO many SME’s are going to suffer because of the impact this virus is having on their suppliers, clients, customers, lenders and everyone else they rely on to make a living.
Our hearts go out massively to the hospitality, aviation and tv/film/theatre industries who are going to be hit hard over the next couple of months.
So what are you going to do about it?
Naturally you will be worried about cash flow, naturally this pandemic will have a knock-on effect to your income, but as far as I’m concerned, you have a choice.
You can sit and wait. Or you can carry on.
You are likely to have more free time as meetings get cancelled, trips get rescheduled, contracts get paused or the work temporarily dries up.
So rather than sitting, moaning about it, my advice is DO SOMETHING to prepare yourself for all the work you will need to come your way when this passes. Because it will pass. It just has to.
Keep Calm and Carry On Marketing!
There are a number of things you can do to pass the time. I’d like to share some ideas with you below.
1) Build relationships
At a time like this it’s even more important to keep those relationships with your current, past and potential future clients/customers.
- Keep your email comms going out – people are sick of hearing ONLY about coronavirus, keep sending useful, relevant and interesting content to your customers. I talk a lot about building a marketing funnel that warms up your leads, the worst thing you can do right now is STOP. With so many people working from home, or them being less busy due to less demand, they have MORE time to actually read your stuff! Keep emailing them!
- Pick up the phone – yes you might not get through to many people if a lot of them are working from home. But some you might, or you can try and catch them on their mobiles. Ask them how they are getting on? If you can support them in anyway? Tell them how you are adapting your services to suit people’s requirements (for example restaurants are now doing home deliveries, lots of training companies are moving their sessions online, gyms are live streaming classes online). On this note – if you’ve not made any adaptations, you need to. People are taking Covid-19 VERY seriously, so it’s important that you find ways to keep your doors open.
- Give stuff away for free – as I mentioned above, there are a lot of people who will have a lot more free time to consume your content. Think about what you can create whilst you also have a bit more free time on your hands. Things like updating your website, writing blogs of use to send to people (much like this one), create social media posts that are useful, relevant or interesting to grow your following by helping people, create a high value pdf guide or ebook, run some podcasts or webinars to educate your audience on what you do. Build trust. Because at the end of the day, that’s what relationships are based on.
2) Work on improving your own processes
With all this extra time you’re likely to get – you should be taking advantage of getting on top of your own systems and processes:
- Write up process documents
- You could create a series of emails that go out to your new customers/clients to onboard them properly and get this built in
- You could spend some time sorting out your CRM and tidying up your pipeline (leads).
- Have a look at your website. Seek a second opinion. Does it actually make sense, do people understand what you do? Why not take the time to make the improvements now. At Flamingo Marketing Strategies we offer website reviews that range from £200-£500+vat depending on the complexity of your website. Feel free to contact us if you are interested by calling me (Emma) directly on 01926 423170
- Review software tools available to you that will help improve your processes. Whether that’s marketing tools such as hubspot/mailchimp/infusionsoft – or sales tools like LinkedIn/Salesforce – do your research. Again, I’m happy to offer some advice on the best one’s for you.
- You could write an extensive FAQ section for your website to help your customers/clients understand what you do. I talk A LOT about a book called ‘They Ask You Answer’ by Marcus Sheridon. Buy it and read it!
- You could spend time looking at your current team structure and come up with a solid plan to utilise everybody better, not to mention, the power of delegating via outsourcing too. Right now, lots of people will be losing their jobs or taking massive pay-cuts. People will be willing to help to make some money.
- Build a set of standardised emails you can send to client enquiries that come in so improve your customer service process once everything is up and running again.
- Think of ways you can train/develop staff whilst they are less busy doing their day to day tasks. There are lots of online training courses available. If you have team members who deal with customers on a day to day basis, you should consider sending them on this online programme. Speak to Marie and David Cross – First Impression Training.
3) Create a strategy
I have been running my business since June 2019, and over the last 2-3 months, my own marketing has SERIOUSLY suffered. As I’ve been busy with clients and not really needed to push myself, my social media channels aren’t being populated, I’ve not been emailing my list, I’ve not been utilising LinkedIn. So NOW, if I get any free time, I’m going to get my own marketing and sales strategy back in place. This is how…. And feel free to swipe and deploy!
- Create a social media strategy. I now have over 30 blogs/articles on my website HELPING people. I plan to schedule 2 social media posts a week on Facebook and LinkedIn pushing people to view this free content that has been written to help them.
- Spend some time looking at your ‘packages’. I offer a premium marketing service where businesses get to work with me directly and I work as an extension of their team. I can offer all aspects of marketing from design, digital, strategy, email and sales pipelines. But what else? What else can I offer. Can I take stuff online? Can I offer one off assets such as website updates or flyer designs. Yes I can. So now I need to work on my services/products to articulate that better. And no doubt, you can offer other products/services to your customers too. So make it happen.
- Create some video marketing. I have written a whole blog here about that.
- Do some market research on your competitors! What are they doing well?
- Focus on lead generation and building relationships on LinkedIn. I offer a service that can connect you with hundreds of people every week who are relevant people in your industry. Give me a call if you want to discuss how this works on 01926 423170
- Spend some time looking at your marketing strategy. How do you communicate with your market? Do you use social channels? Email marketing? Do you create targeted and focussed campaigns to specific sets of people? You can access my free online guide on ‘6 reasons why your business isn’t growing’ here.
I’m sure there are hundreds more things you can do if I had longer to write them all down, however I hope this has given you a few things to think about and given you a task list of exercises you can complete whilst your phones aren’t ringing so much, or work is being postponed.
Just remember, those who STOP everything will be months behind those who carry on marketing through this difficult time.
You know where I am if you want me to help you put your marketing strategy in place.
All the best and stay healthy – but more importantly. Stay POSITIVE.
Flamingo Marketing Strategies Ltd is a marketing agency in Leamington Spa. We work with small to medium-sized businesses, creating bespoke marketing ideas for B2B and B2C. If you are targeting a local audience, we won’t work with any other companies from the same industry within an agreed milage radius. If you’re targeting a national or international audience, we won’t work with any other companies from the same industry at all. Our job is to make sure we position YOU as the flamingo of your marketplace.