Are you feeling the effects of COVID-19… and not in the dry cough and fever kind of way? (Too soon???)
So many businesses are being affected right now, and we know you’re sort of in a panicked place. We’re also assuming that, after your expletive-filled observation, your unspoken followup question is, “Now WTF do I do?!”
First of all, try to calm the f*** down. Everyone’s business is slowing down. We are LITERALLY QUARANTINED to avoid a global pandemic. Sorry for the caps, we’ve been inside without much human contact for a while.
If you’re really feeling the crunch of this economic slump, we get it. It’s scary to see things go from “woo! things are great!” to “holy f*** time to sell the ‘copter.” But hear us out.
There are a few things you can do right now to make sure that you have your ducks in a row when the wheels start turning again. Here they are, in order of importance:
1. Stop trying to sell everything. It’s tacky.
Newsflash: You can’t sell your products or services in the same way you would if it was pre-Rona. It’ll just come off as tone-deaf and rude. The world has changed, and how you talk about your offers needs to, as well.
But if you’re coming from a genuine place, and your stuff fulfills a need in people’s lives right now, you can still sell. Just don’t go overboard or be too pushy.
Example: let’s say you’re a business coach who helps entrepreneurs and other biz owners reach their goals. Pre-COVID, you’d promote your in-person networking events in your emails. “Meet me face-to-face! Ask me questions over a drink! Let’s talk and get to know each other!”
Well, post-COVID, obviously you can’t do the same thing. And if you think an email that says, “Hey guys, please don’t forget about me when this is all over! YOU BETTER BUY MY SERVICES!” is okay to send right now, you’re wrong.
You need to do a hard 180 with your messaging and acknowledge what’s happening. Take it from Ross.
In this hypothetical situation, maybe you host a digital networking event instead. Do a Facebook Live or Instagram Live Q&A session. Talk to your audience organically and nab sales that way.
Another thing: flip that “me-me-me” script. We’re sick of seeing small business owners say “Support our small business during this time! Buy gift cards or pay deposits now for future use.” No, honey. No.
Show them the value. Show you how this can help them where they are now. In the hypothetical example above, it would be something like “Times are scary, but there are people who get it and are right there with you. I’d love to connect you over a Zoom cocktail hour. No pants required.”
SEE HOW MUCH COOLER THAT IS?? And while you might not be immediately able to sell, you are providing value and connecting with potential clients who’ll book with you the second the clouds part.
2. Check your outgoing comms.
Emails, social posts, blogs, videos, podcast episodes, sales pages, all the content you send out into the world: is it in line with what’s happening now? Or does it sound oblivious because you scheduled your content weeks or months ago?
There’s nothing wrong with building up a backlog of content (we dearly love working ahead of deadlines), but you have to reconsider the content you’ve already cued up. Today’s world and the world of one month ago, even one week ago, are incredibly different. People have different needs, habits, and values than they did before COVID-19 struck. Your content is gonna fall flat if you don’t acknowledge that things have drastically changed.
Some blogs and emails are still kosher, some might need small tweaks. Just beware that people are going to read any and all content through the filter of “Does this person understand me and where I’m coming from?”
Another note: We’re not saying you have to edit everything you’ve ever created or reference COVID in every blog you send out. Use your best judgment to decide what needs updated and what doesn’t. Don’t be lazy about it, but don’t overdo it either. If you have a specific question about something that you’re worried needs updated, legit just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you decide. For free.
3. Review your upcoming launches.
If you’ve already decided to proceed as usual and launch your new offer, you need to stop and think again. Look at how you’ve set up your launch. Should you move around your schedule? Should any part of your offer or content be tweaked?
(See #2 again if you think your answer is “no.” We guarantee it’s actually “yes.”)
- Sales page copy
- Social posts
- Any live video topics you’ve got planned
- Emails leading up to and following the launch
Read everything through the filter of “Will this make me sound like an asshole?”
Another note: you might not need to change evergreen content after a couple of tweaks at the start of the funnel. For example, one of our clients needed to tweak ads to not sound out-of-touch, but after that, everything flowed well. It’s just a case-by-case basis that requires you to read your content and copy objectively — all along the customer journey.
If a person’s first touchpoint with your brand sounds off-putting, they won’t get any further into your funnel.
4. Super slow? Time to look at your editorial calendar.
If you find yourself panicking because you have unexpected time in your calendar, we have a tip: Look inward. No, we’re not talking all woo-woo. We’re talking at what you can do internally. Are there tumbleweeds blowing in your editorial calendar? Did you forget that you even have an editorial calendar?
Guess what! Time to fill that empty void, homie. Fill your editorial calendar with relevant content, with content you’ve been meaning to write, with what’s important to you and your audience.
If you need a refresher on what type of content you can create, here you go.
5. Start engaging.
“I don’t have the time” is no longer a relevant excuse to avoid engaging with your audience. Write blogs. Publish them. Write emails. Write social posts. Publish those, too. Respond to comments. Grow your network and make connections on IG, FB, LI, XYZ, BYOB. Also, bring us beer. We can’t leave our houses.
Really, just show up for your people, dammit.
6. Check your metrics.
Resist the impulse to panic and dive into some data! Data is sexy, right??! OK maybe not but it is illuminating, and it will give you something else to focus on for at least a couple days.
Look at your Google Analytics or site traffic plugins: Is your site performing well? Are there pages with high bounce rates (we try to keep pages under 60% bounce rate)? Is your SEO not doing so hot? Welp, it’s time to fix that with a web copy update.
Here are some good places to start:
- Make sure that your website clearly tells the viewer what you do, why you match their needs, how you can help them, and what action to take next. Use keywords in headers wherever possible, and in the copy of course.
- Check that your site has enough white space. Give your web copy room to breathe. Don’t take this juicy and packed blog as an example.
- Make sure your site is easy to read on all devices. Check the loading time, font size, colors, line length, and paragraph length.
- Check all your internal and external links. Are they all as up-to-date as possible? We use ScreamingFrog SEO Spider Tool for URL audits
Think of your website as your home: you’re using this time to tackle all those little projects you’ve been putting off. Fix that leaky faucet, oil that squeaky cabinet door, frame and hang up those photos that have been laying around forever.
And if you have some home improvement projects that you’d rather leave up to a professional, we’re here to help. (Please note, this is a continuation of the metaphor that your website is your home. We are not available for home improvement projects because #quarantine. Also, you don’t want us anywhere near your home with a hammer.)
7. Look at your email outreach.
To date, email marketing has some of the best ROI. Don’t believe us? Here are some quick stats:
- 99% of consumers check their email every day
- 73% of millennials prefer communicating with brands through email
- 59% of consumers say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions
- 78% of marketers saw an increase in email engagement in 2019
We could go on with our bullet list, but we’ll stop ourselves there. The gist is this: email marketing is a handy tool in your marketing toolbox. Don’t waste it.
Now is the time to map out a plan that keeps you top of mind while people hunker down. Even if your products and services aren’t in the best place to sell right now, your customers will be happy to spend money later when they can. But they have to remember you.
8. Hone in on that ideal client.
We know it might feel counterintuitive to narrow your target audience right now, but we’re seeing the consequences of not doing this a lot lately. Businesses who had “meh” clients or customers are suddenly seeing those “meh” people jump the fucking ship.
Why? They weren’t ideal clients.
What your business needs are the violinists playing on the Titanic as it goes down.
They’re that committed. They’re your ride-or-die clients. And if you’re not attracting your ideal client right now, you might get stuck with the douchebag who tries to kidnap a kid to get on a life raft first.
Did we take the metaphor too far? WHOOPS. Anyway…
First, you have to figure out who you’re looking for.
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What’s their job, income, family size, favorite hobby?
- How do they shop and why do they shop?
- Where do they get their information on the brands they support?
- Who do they hang out with online?
You get the idea.
Once you research your ideal client, you can tailor your brand messaging and marketing strategies to attract them. Then, you can use this time to really create that content and those strategies, so you can find your ride-or-dies when the dust settles.
When you feel like you have no control over what’s happening and it’s affecting your biz, it’s easy to panic and let the expletives fly. We hope that this handy guide to improving your brand and business will help you get through these pretty crazy times.
Plus, you don’t have to do it alone. If you need more help on your web copy, email campaigns, or content strategy, give us a call. We’ll be there for you, as long as it’s at least six feet away.