In 2020, we as business owners are in uncharted waters in terms of how to stay connected to your clients during COVID-19 pandemic. Few of us have ever had to deal with widespread closings of cities, canceling of events and gatherings, and shuttering of business like we are seeing today. I fervently hope that this is a short-term issue. For those of us who sell services and non-essential products, the atmosphere of fear makes is difficult to overcome to make new sales to customers.
Fortunately, the technology we have today has made it easier than ever to stay in touch. And, if you have clients or customers with a brick-and-mortar location, they might benefit from some of these strategies as well, especially if they are accustomed to doing all business in person.
So, what do you do to survive?
1. Offer how-to info or updates via a live stream platform: You have many options to connect to your customers via live streaming services, including those on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram TV using something like StreamYard or Zoom or streaming directly from the platform itself. Here’s a great list of 65 topics for your next live stream.
2. Offer online deals or gift certificates: If your business already has eCommerce capability, remind customers that they can still shop for their favorite items on your website. Perhaps you can offer a coupon or discount to encourage online shopping while your customers are practicing social isolation. If you operate a service-based business, consider offering online sales of gift certificates. Your customers buy a certificate and treat themselves by redeeming it when the self-quarantine period is over. This can help maintain sales for you and gives your customers something fun to look forward to.
3. Online courses and education: You may want to take your info online if you’re a fitness instructor or own a martial arts studio, for example. You can create an online membership site and give your customers access to it so that you can continue to work with them. Two platforms I recommend for doing this are Teachable and Heights Platform.
4. Increase social media presence: Offer more tips or how-to information relevant to your target market that pertains to the problem your services and products solve. Whether you’re posting about the virus specifically or trying to offer light, positive or humorous content to help take people’s minds off the panic, it can be helpful to increase your posting frequency to ensure you are showing up in their news feeds. If you need help with making sure you’re posting regularly to social media and you have a local business, check out my Digital Customer Engine service.
5. Personal video contact: To help you stay connected to your customers, create a short personalized “check-in” video for them to ask how you can help or to let them know what you’re doing for them. I recommend Loom or Bonjoro for this.
6. Create helpful resources: Create a list of helpful resources for your target market. For example, I manage a local news and events site, and I’ve compiled a list of things families can do while they are in isolation in their homes.
7. Collaborative online work environments: If you are accustomed to working in a brick and mortar office, you may want to take your team and employees online to continue working. To keep everyone on the same page and communicating, you can use tools like Asana, Monday, or Trello.
8. Take customer service online: If you’re accustomed to dealing with customer issues in-person or on the phone, try to expand your options by taking your customer support online. I recommend Freshdesk for that job.
9. Reach out to past and current customers through email: If you have email addresses for your past and current customers, there’s no time like the present to begin to reach out to them so that your business stays top-of-mind. Create a monthly newsletter with helpful tips for your customers, and if you are offering specials, send out a special email to give them all the details. If you need help in creating an email newsletter and you have a local business, check out my Digital Customer Engine service.
10. Write your book: Have you always wanted to publish your book but never had any time to do it? All of a sudden you find yourself stuck at home with nothing to do. Why not publish the book you have been sitting on for months or even years? And, it’s a great prospecting tool to get in front of both former and new customers! Take a look at our book publishing options here.
11. Be a guest on podcasts: Your customers and prospects are going to be online more than ever before during this time. Why not reach out to them on a podcast? I’d love to interview you on Business Innovators Radio here.
12. Create webinars to educate and inform: Is your showroom closed? Not able to go to tradeshows or make sales calls? Creating webinars to showcase your products and services may work for you. It’s a great one-to-many option you can employ pretty easily. My go-to tools for webinars are Zoom and Demio, which allows you to talk to your audience via webcam as well as share your screen. Demio lets you put your webinars on autopilot with automated replays. If all you need to do is a presentation, I recommend Instant Teleseminar, which is the most fool-proof of all webinar-like platforms, which also permits automated replays.
13. Sell your products differently: Sometimes you have to get creative in your sales process. For example, Pizza Transit in Niles, MI, closed its doors on indoor dining and opened the door to an innovative way to keep children at home entertained and fed. They are now offering p make-at-home pizza kits-to keep children at home entertained and making it a fun night for the entire family at home. Netflix is now offering a Netflix Party app to let groups of friends get together virtually and watch their favorite Netflix titles on their computers at the same time. Springvale Baptist Church of Lugoff, SC, is holding a Drive-in Church. How can you repackage your services or products to best serve your customers?
14. Set up appointments automatically online: If you have a system set up in which your customers have to call you for an appointment, let them set up appointments with you online. I’ve been using Book Like a Boss for years for this task, and I can set a variety of types of appointments and create a different link for each. I can set rules about how long the appointment should be, followup directions after a customer makes an appointment, and send out reminder emails and texts. You can embed this on your website or link to it in social media.
15. Call and offer to help: There’s nothing like a good ole’ phone call with an offer to help your customers or teach them how to help your clients think outside the box, especially if they are in an industry that has been forced to close by local governments. Want to brainstorm about how you can think outside the box in your business during this time? Set up a time to chat with me at ChatWithDonna.com — I’m offering this free of charge!
Times of crisis can be a great opportunity for you to grow your business like never before. Try one (or more) of these ways to think outside the box in your own business.
Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.
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