Coronavirus: How to keep your business healthy and be ready for the new normal

Calls from clients have all followed a similar theme this last week. As the bricks and mortar businesses closed their doors and others are having projects postponed or cancelled by their clients, they’re concerned. Most are telling me: ‘I want to do the right thing. I don’t feel comfortable trying to sell right now, but at the same time I can’t afford for my business to fall by the wayside.’

It’s a testing time for businesses big and small. And I’ve spoken to several solopreneurs and micro business owners who are feeling the fragility of their business and everything that relies on its success.

So what’s the answer?

While this article definitely isn’t about a hard sell, I think it’s important to acknowledge that some people and organisations will still want what you’re offering.

Firstly, let’s not assume people aren’t buying. Granted, we’re all spending significantly less as our habits change to reflect our new normal. For some that might mean uncertainty about future finances and for others, limited income now. And for businesses, it could be the reallocation of budgets. But people are still buying. Wisely, they’re just considering their spending decisions more carefully.

Be ready.

What I am suggesting, however, is staying visible to potential new clients and strengthening relationships with customers. One day, hopefully sometime soon, we’ll return to some semblance of normality, and the best you can do right now is be ready.

I listened in to a business-to-business marketing webcast recently, and a real-time poll amongst marketing professionals showed that most businesses are focusing on building brand and reputation with only a few trying to drive demand for sales.

Many people won’t be in buying mode. They might be information gathering for a future purchase, browsing their favourite brands or simply searching the web for ideas and information about the things that interest them.

With more time on their hands, they’re turning to the internet for information, education and distraction. My point is people are consuming more online content than ever before. And so, it makes sense to focus your marketing efforts there.

Content marketing is perfectly positioned to help you share your knowledge kindly and without profiteering, which is precisely what we should all be doing right now.

4 ways to build stronger customer relationships and keep your business top of mind

So, what does that look like in practice? Here are 4 content-focused actions you can take to give back to your customers, be top of mind with potential clients, and hit the ground running when we come out the other side of the Coronavirus crisis

1. Audit your existing content

Dig out that evergreen content – the blogs that stand the test of time and are as relevant today as they’ve always been. Update them to reflect what you’ve learned since, add more recent stats or give a future-focused slant to your message. Reshare them, repurpose them for your socials and reuse the originals across different platforms.

2. Create new content

Having a bank of blogs ready to share over the next few months will help you stay visible while you navigate the new normal.

Creating content that’s solely Coronavirus-related isn’t compulsory, and I’d advise against it, but do look through the lense of your customers and prospects and consider any related content they’d find super helpful.

For other articles you could answer your customers’ most common questions, create a client case study based on a recent project, write a review of a service or product related to your industry or produce a ‘how-to’ guide relevant to your business. Most of all, make every blog post or article high quality and shareable. It’ll reach more people and be more attractive to Google.

3. Review your website

Many of us build our website, write the copy and then leave it to fester. In the meantime, our business evolves.

Resharing content and creating new blogs should drive more visitors to your site so make sure they’re not disappointed when they arrive. Use this time to check your site is still a true reflection of your business and your brand personality.

Create pages for new services you’ve added since your business started, update your messages to reflect what you do now rather than when you first set out and importantly, think about whether your audience today is the same as it was back then. If not, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. And if you have the know-how, work on your SEO, so your website is more likely to be found.

4. Make your email marketing more meaningful

Keep communicating with your customers and prospects and make it meaningful. Keep the content highly relevant and think about ways you can help them now.

It doesn’t always have to be words of wisdom. There’ll be times when a light-hearted approach will fit the bill far better. But be sensitive and mindful of what we’re all living through.

It’s a chance to increase trust in your business and strengthen your relationship, so keep it real and personalise at every opportunity. Remember, this isn’t about sales, so leave out any heavy-handed marketing messages; however, if it’s business as usual for you, there’s no harm in letting your customers and prospects know.

My final word here on the subject is this: Decisions you make now will affect your brand in the future, so be careful what you say, how you say it and take conscious actions. We only need look at the growing list of some of the biggest brands people plan to boycott when this is over based on their behaviour during it.

Business as usual

Following my own advice, I also want to let you know it’s business as usual for me, so if you need a hand, do get in touch.

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