5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
During a time where customers are scarce and revenue is dropping for nearly every company, a lot of small businesses are considering throwing in the towel. “What can we even do if nobody wants to buy?” they ask. The answer, in my opinion, lies in taking a heads-down approach to building a stronger brand and interacting with customers in ways you might not have entertained before the crisis.
Right now, the big opportunity is that people are making the internet their second home during the quarantine. And that means any business that isn’t taking digital strategy seriously — regardless of how internet-focused their business was before — is leaving a lot of value on the table for competitors to take.
To get some ideas flowing during this quarantine, I’d like to share three digital strategies you can implement today. They’re simple but effective, and you’ll likely see results if you stick to them in just a few weeks.
Ramp up your company blog with useful insights to help readers navigate the crisis
If there’s one opportunity that I see brands ignore most often, it would be investing in their company blogs, which can not only help you convey valuable information to your followers, but also often help to begin new relationships with prospects. This is especially the case now. Business owners are always on the lookout for tools and strategies to help them get through these tough times — and almost every brand has something to add here.
In the event that you’re stuck on what to write about, ask yourself: “How has my brand been responding and adjusting to the new conditions?” From there, you can speak candidly about your business’s struggles and your successes. Your readers are going to appreciate your candor and actionable advice because we’re all figuring this situation out for the first time.
Company blogs typically have multiple calls to action; after all, you want to demonstrate that the problem you’re talking about in your article can be solved by a solution your company provides. But keep in mind that some of your prospective customers might be tight on budget and be put off by an overly sales-y piece.
Using email, re-engage former clients without being aggressive
While it’s true that many companies are scaling their budgets back during the health crisis, that doesn’t mean companies won’t spend money on products and services that help increase revenue. This is especially the case for your company’s former customers, especially if you served them well in the past but the relationship didn’t work because the timing wasn’t right.
But unlike re-activation emails pre-crisis, you really want to make sure that what you’re offering could be immediately helpful to the business you’re reaching out to. You certainly don’t want to waste someone’s time pitching them something they don’t need or add to their list of stressors.
Here’s what I’d recommend:
1. Lead with establishing a touchpoint — perhaps a mention of your previous working relationship
2. Show your value — not what you do but rather how that customer could benefit
3: Don’t hard-sell or push for a phone call, but definitely ask about interest at the end
Help your community and let people know about it through PR
With all the negative news coming out about the health crisis, and how it’s tearing communities apart, now’s the time for your brand to do some real good. Showing your brand’s empathy for other members of the greater community is going to be something people remember you for. And while it makes sense that businesses shouldn’t do good just to gain press coverage, I disagree that companies shouldn’t try to secure press coverage if they’re doing the work. Afterall: Publicizing what you’re doing to help inspires (or puts pressure on) other brands to also do their part.
Take, for example, how some small businesses are distributing hand sanitizer to their communities amidst the shortage. When you’re able to find something that’s missing and fill that gap, don’t be afraid to reach out to reporters with the goal of inspiring others to do the same. Remember, however, that reporters and editors are receiving a high volume of emails from publicists and brands just like yours.
The pitching process is nuanced, but if there’s big takeaway it would be to do more due-diligence than usual and really familiarize yourself with the stories a writer or editor is interested in covering right now. Then, keep your email short with three key points:
1. Who you are (no more than 1 line)
2. Why your story is relevant (no more than 2 lines)
3. Who it impacts (no more than 1 line)
4: Why people should care (no more than 2 lines)
And then be patient. I would recommend holding off on following up until three days of non-response.