It seems crazy to suggest – I can still boost my business during the time of Coronavirus?
While many businesses unfortunately haven’t been able to see the sales boosts they’ve needed recently, we want to share a few ways to boost your systems and marketing infrastructure. This way, once the economy begins to open back up, you’ll be more prepared than ever to serve your clients well.
As we all continue to social distance, and many of us are required to work from home, there are plenty of low-cost, low-barrier-to-entry ways to improve your marketing systems you can do from the comfort of your own home (or even couch!). These are things that seem to get pushed to the backburner during busier seasons, but now just might be the time to knock them out.
Let’s take a look at a few.
Develop An Email Series
Did you know that it takes an average of about seven touchpoints to convert a customer? This is why strategic email campaigns continue to be one of the most important ways to nurture a prospect from first touchpoint, all the way to conversion.
These email series are a great way to continue showing up in front of your customer (whether or not they open every email you send), offering value far more often than you are pitching or selling. They establish trust, give you credibility, and help to ensure when the prospect does need the product or service you’re selling, you’ll be top of mind.
You can choose to make the content timely to what’s going on in the world right now, or maybe you’ve had an email series idea for some time now that you can finally get to writing…one that you’ll have for the long run as part of your email marketing arsenal. Whether you have a simple, free Mailchimp account or a highly sophisticated marketing automation platform, you can write a relevant series of emails that build on each other to create one AWESOME marketing and sales tool.
An effective email series has, at minimum, three emails, but we recommend more if possible! And, when it comes to the content of these emails, remember Gary Vaynerchuck’s well-known adage and book title, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. A ‘Jab’ refers to offering valuable tips, ideas and information to your customer. It’s only after you’ve given that value several times that you should try to make your sales pitch, or, the ‘Right Hook’.
Note: With a free Mailchimp account, you cannot automate your entire series, but if you’ve written the content, it’s simple enough to automate each one individually to send at the appropriate time. There are plenty of other marketing automation systems out there as well at a wide variety of price points. We’ve become fans of Active Campaign. You can start small and add powerful automation tools without racking up a big monthly bill like some other options on the market.
Produce Thoughtful, Valuable Content
If Content is still King, then thoughtful, well-planned content might as well be the majestic crown that immediately lets you know this king is the real deal! Weird analogy, but give me a break, I’ve been quarantined for 35 days now 😉
There’s clearly no shortage of content out there, coming in every form, on multiple platforms, all day, every day. (Although, can we all agree that the memes being created right now by people getting cabin fever seem to be funnier than ever? Something to be thankful for, for sure.)
We always stress to our clients, “Please do not create content just for the sake of content.” It should have a clear goal, and that goal should be related to pain points you can help solve for your ideal customer. Some common goals for valuable content are to educate your audience, entertain, engage, inspire or convince them.
Know your goal before producing your content and the process will go more smoothly, and the outcome will most likely resonate even more with your intended audience.
Take this time to write a few blog posts that can be spread out over the next few weeks, creating a regular publishing schedule for your business (then try to keep it going!). You could also develop an ebook or checklist that acts as a valuable download in exchange for gathering new email addresses. Or, sit down in front of a clean background and shoot a few talking head videos to use in your social media.
Start planning topics, outline your thoughts, and then decide which medium would be effective and, most of all, doable for you during this time!
Develop your Customer Journey
If you’ve never sat down with the main stakeholders in your company and mapped out each phase of your customer journey, now is the time to do it! The customer journey informs the rest of your marketing strategy, tactics, and even the types of content you’d need to develop, so it is truly essential to your business.
We recently wrote a more in depth blog post on customer journey mapping and how it relates to CX (or, customer experience). Please take the time to check it out!
In that post, we discuss the seven stages of the customer journey, from Awareness to Conversion and beyond (yes, Conversion is definitely not the last stage of the journey!). In each stage, you’ll need to think through the perspective of your customer. This will allow you to develop creative ways to move this customer along, through each consecutive stage, in hopes of creating a raving fan for life!
Develop a Funnel
No matter the situation you find your business in, whether during a worldwide pandemic, or while it’s business as usual, every business greatly benefits from developing a digital, automated sales funnel.
What does this mean exactly? Well, let’s walk through a scenario.
You meet a prospect at a trade show, or you’re doing some networking on LinkedIn. They want to know more about what you do. And you don’t want to forget to follow up with them, because, they could be your next big sale!
You might hand them a printed piece of marketing collateral that explains who you are and what you do. You might even send them to your website so they can learn more about you. But let’s be honest, that piece of paper probably ended up in the trash by the end of the trade show (along with a hundred other brochures). And if they went to your website, I’m sure they were impressed! But they clicked around for a while, looking at your ‘About’ section, maybe some team photos, saw some products and then got distracted and may or may not have found their way back to that open tab again.
Now imagine, instead, you send them to a dedicated landing page. It’s beautifully designed, with just the right message that speaks directly to their needs, along with the solution you provide, and even a few testimonials about how you’ve solved this same problem for others, bringing them amazing success. It’s like leading your prospect into a room with just one open door to walk through rather than 10 doors leading them in every different direction.
Also on that page is not a hard sales pitch, but a valuable piece of content they can download by exchanging it for their email address. “The Top 3 Mistakes You Never Want To Make When Doing X” or “The Only 5 Things You Need To Know Before Making a Decision about Y”. (Maybe this is the Download you decided to write when we talked about creating valuable content above!)
Since this is the exact type of problem they’re currently dealing with, they submit their email address. This automatically triggers your follow up email series (again, could the email series you were already thinking about earlier in this post fit here…killing two birds with one stone?!) The series could include one email that contains their download, another couple that offer additional valuable information, and a third that gives them the opportunity for a free phone consultation.
By the time they get on the phone with you, they’ve had several touchpoints, you’ve become a subject matter expert to them, and the close will be that much easier.
And all of this was automated. The funnel – from landing page, to download, to follow up emails – is created and implemented once, and then runs automatically without you needing to set reminders to send follow up emails or offers.
If you’ve been thinking recently that you need a more effective website, you might actually just need some effective landing pages and funnel development instead! Check out our blog post on this topic, Why You Might Not Need a New Website.
Work On Boosting Your Online Reputation
One thing that has been so cool about this unprecedented time in history (if you can say anything is cool about this period), has been seeing people’s desire and willingness to support and help out other businesses. (Especially if you’re a small local business, but the sentiment seems to extend beyond that.)
Also, without daily commutes or after-work social functions, most of us have a little extra time to, for example, write a review or testimonial about a business we’ve had a great experience with in the past when things were normal, or even recently if you’ve still been able to conduct business!
Our latest blog post over at Fireworx Reputation discusses why reviews are going to be more important than ever coming out of this crisis. Be sure to check it out! (Hint: One reason is that customers are going to be more selective than ever about who they give their business to. Are you ready for that?)
While you probably shouldn’t be soliciting reviews from customers from two years ago, more recent ones that you never had a chance to reach out to would be a great list to email. A simple greeting and message, thanking them for their business and a review request is all it takes!
Let them know exactly where to do this, based on what makes sense for your business – whether it’s leaving a review on review sites or sending you a testimonial you can use on your website or in marketing collateral in the future.
*Note: Google Reviews is not currently fully operational, but will be again once the shut down period is over and there are plenty of other review sites that probably need your 5 star reviews.
So What Do You Think?
Could it be possible to take on just one of these marketing best practices while we’re still in the midst of this crisis? Maybe even two of them? Could an email series and some new content be part of creating an entire marketing funnel? There’s a lot of room to get creative here and you can get started with just one thing at a time!
Put some downtime into any of these ideas and we guarantee you’ll feel more prepared to market to and provide value to new and even current customers. We give you full permission to have Netflix on in the background as you tackle your strategy (or strategies) of choice!