‘When communication is limited, use all the means you can because we need it now more than ever’
This national crisis means we are living in uncertain and distressing times; personally, our families, financially and economically. It’s as if we are sitting in stationary cars, with no petrol in the tank, no map to follow and no idea where we are going – sat in the garage on lockdown. But it’s not just us humans in lockdown and feeling lost; many thousands of businesses have ground to a halt and sadly many have gone into administration already, and worryingly, this is just the beginning.
We haven’t been limited in this way since WW2. Businesses have completely lost or been severely restricted in their capabilities to sell, whether it be bricks and water stores being literally forced to close due to social distancing laws or by not having enough capital to keep going without revenue coming in. Subsequently and inevitably, target markets, clients, prospects and leads have also been affected by covid19 and so customers, pipelines and sales have been wiped out almost overnight. The ripple effect is colossal; in-fact it’s more like a domino effect.
As well as the economic crisis, it’s also a consumer crisis not seen on this scale for many a decade. Most of the world is in lockdown, both businesses and households and its crucial that we understand and recognise that consumer behaviour will be radically different at this time.. Millions of us are feeling stressed and afraid; for our families, ourselves, our future both financially and personally but also for our jobs and our businesses. Anxiety is high, and it’s crucial we take this into account when thinking about businesses, customers and sales
When we take ALL these factors into account – whilst we’re desperate to keep sales going, one has to seriously consider, is now the best time to do the ‘hard sell’ – to invest in a generic and pushy sales and marketing campaign to send to thousands of prospects and customers because sadly, many of those leads and prospects will no longer be viable.
So much has changed in two weeks, infact everything has.
Plus schools are closed, parents are having to entertain and comfort their children whilst juggling their own stress and worries and even a business of their own and so being hounded by pushy sales emails and campaigns is probably the last thing they or anyone at the moment really wants or has the mental capacity for or even the financial means. It would be a waste of a financial investment in light of the circumstances; you would receive very little, if any ROI.
BUT NOT ALL IS LOST..
Perhaps for the first time in years you have been forced to step back, so look at this as an opportunity. An invaluable and amazing chance to spend time on organic marketing, brand strategy and vision and planning that could and will benefit you in the future; both financially and in terms of customer engagement and customer generation.
This is a poignant and significant time to increase your brands/business awareness (both in the UK and worldwide!), to develop your brands identity and narrative and to connect and continue to build upon and grow your relationships with clients and audiences, both current and target. Basically this is a fantastic opportunity to show off who you are, what you’re about and all of your products and services.
With people being stuck at home, research by Open Vault has revealed that the average downstream usage per customer has risen by 98.2% while upstream has increased by 68.6% and further more a lot of providers have unlocked their data caps so there couldn’t be a more perfect or poignant time to showcase your business and do some in house cost effective marketing.
One of the most affective ways of doing so are through the use of blogs. Blogs are a really affective means of communication, of making your mark on the industry and leaving a lasting impression and also to increase awareness of both brand and products/services. Blogs can be almost likened to the planting of seeds, and overtime, as we pass through this economically baron winter, these will flourish into beautiful flowers (aka customers!)
Research by Demand Gen has shown that 71% of B2B buyers read blogs as part of their buying journey and a recent survey by Demand-Metric showed that 60% of customers purchased a product after reading a blog about it before hand. This proves that not only are they a fantastic platform to build rapport, relationships and community but are statistically proven to have a colossal impact and influence on conversion rates and sales..
To put it simply:
Blogs are a personable, organic, authentic, influential and genuine way to communicate with both current clients and customers but also your target demographic and wider audiences. They are also a proven and successful means of driving traffic back to your website and so ultimately increase engagement and sales. They are a crucial tool in your toolbox right now, to keep your business afloat and in people’s minds so that once this crisis passes, you will have amassed interest and relationships in the interim so when the world reopens, they will be knocking on your door, you’ll have done the legwork already!
When writing a blog or producing content for any mass outbound marketing outreach whether its social media or an email campaign, it’s important to put your feet in the shoes of the reader, to empathise with what’s happening in the world at the moment and recognise and value what your customers and audiences are experiencing.
A great example is a recent blog post by Levi’s Jeans, and they also revealed they would continue to pay their staff throughout this crisis and even though buying jeans may not be at the forefront of our minds right now which they actually and thoughtfully acknowledge in their blog; this personality, this message and their core company values and ethics shine through and will stick in people’s minds, so when it is time to start retail shopping again, Levi’s will be up there because of their communication, moral compass and etiquette throughout this period. We’ll remember them.
So to summarise, is it time for the hard sell now? Will that give you a valuable ROI at the moment? Probably not. But there has been been no better time to showcase your brand and increase awareness and engagement, but also to show where you as a brand and a company stand socially, morally and inspirationally and blogs are both a strategic and humanitarian way of doing so and one of the most influential ways to communicate and connect with your audience which at the moment, is most of the world!
By incorporating blogs into your marketing approach and strategy during this time puts you in a strong position both as a business and with your customers and potential customers so that when the world reopens, you will have made your mark, have become powerful industry leaders with a strong message and voice and as a result, customers will be waiting to knock at your door, not the other way round.
Yes these are uncertain times, but one thing that is certain is that your customers, clients and prospects will appreciate you reaching out and communicating with them; creatively, openly, innovatively and encouragingly.