How to market a business during critical times?
Clients are decreasing, money is tight, you sell physical products and can’t quite move your business online. And overwhelmed by the situation you see only one way out: giving up.
If this sounds like you and your business has been hit hard by time of crisis, please wait before you surrender. Because there are at least eight communication tips that will help you to market your business during critical times.
Marketing is an ongoing communications exchange with customers in a way that educates, informs and builds a relationship over time. The over time part is important because only over time can trust be created. - Renee Blodgett Click To Tweet
What to keep in mind about marketing your business
At its very core a business is made of sales. Even if its final aim is to have positive impact on the lives of others. A social enterprise can’t help others if it’s not sustainable. So any other socially driven business cannot give back to the community if it has to constantly take care of itself.
Yet, you don’t just walk to people and ask them to buy your products, services, items, right?
Every relationship in order to work needs trust. And trust is built by time. And times of crisis are the best times to stop selling and start connecting.
So what do you do when the ship seems to be sinking and you are discouraged? You keep going and use the easy communication tips I’ve shared below to move forward.
Isn’t marketing my business in times of crisis, evil?
We often have this negative idea about marketing probably because we associate it with selling. And selling has become a bad thing. But try to reverse the thinking: why are you selling whatever it is that you sell? Because ultimately you want to help people. And not showing up for them means they’re losing the chance to improve.
The fact that we put a price tag on our services is a way to value our time, expertise, knowledge. Be honest with yourself, you are not trying to take advantage of people, you are trying to help. And look, if you are not putting your voice out there (a.k.a. marketing) someone else who really wants to take advantage of others, will.
So go ahead and use the following communication tips to market your business online even when the times are not great. Do that to:
- Inspire or Teach
8 Communication tips to market your business during critical times
1. Define who’s your ideal client
One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves as entrepreneurs is that we are selling to EVERYONE. Which is not true and honestly, not even possible. Use this time to understand who your ideal client is, which is the person, organisation, company in need of your services but also the one you want to help. Ask yourself: what’s their age, what do they believe in, how can you help them?
Use social media and online resources to understand your customers better.
2. Connect and Chat
Now that you have started to narrow down your ideal client and have researched them, connect and have real conversations with the people you want to serve. Ask them how they’re doing, how are their activities going and what can be done to make things better. Remember, these are critical times for them too. Be human and spontaneous.
You can start by connecting on LinkedIn, it’s a great platform for this.
Bonus tip: connect first and say hi later.
3. Have down to earth conversations
Talk to people, many people. But do that with the aim of listening rather than sharing your pain. Let them know you understand what they’re going through and if you can help, do so. Tell them what you do and see if they’d like your professional help or any of your free resources.
4. Go Live
Marketing your business online doesn’t have to be salesy. In fact, you should think about it as merely a way to let people you help know you’re here if they need. Personally, I find live streaming video to be fantastic for this: you can share some tips, knowledge, have panels, webinars. They’re a great way to keep people informed and to get them to know you.
5. Upgrade your communication tools
If there was ever a time to have a look again at your website, social media, online shop and amend a few things, now is that time. Make your online communication clearer, closer to who you are and more effective.
6. Start blogging and keep blogging
Blogging is a great way to share your view on issues, products and life in general. If it’s something you have been meaning to do for a while, why not starting now? Get a sense of what you could contribute to but also ask the people you help, what they’d like to read about. Start small and keep at it. Consistency is the key.
7. Reorganise your contact for a newsletter
If there’s one big learning I have taken from Marie Forleo’s B-School, is that you want to make sure you have your clients contacts: you, not Facebook, not Instagram, you. So use this time of crisis to reorganise your contacts for a newsletter or other ways to connect.
8. Don’t ever go silent
Send an email, send a message, update opening hours, share on social media, let people know what’s going on with your business. Even in the worst of times, extended silence might jeopardise the relationship of trust. Especially if you reappear months later asking people to buy your products, come to your event, share your posts.
The bottom line of these eight communication tips to market your business during critical times, is to keep moving and keep connecting as much as you can even during critical times.