Generating leads in uncertain times
It’s becoming apparent that the impacts of the COVID 19 epidemic are more than just far-reaching; they’re world-changing. With every industry being affected, business owners have to readjust how they do business.
Retail, travel, financial services and entertainment have taken the most substantial hits, and marketing agencies specializing in these specific areas are finding themselves in unfamiliar water. Growl Agency provides five ways you can make keep your business generating leads in these, and any, uncertain times.
1. Evaluate the Situation
Although it might be last on the list of priorities, taking a step back, and evaluating the current situation is one of the best things you can do as a business owner. Remember that your company can evolve, shift focus, or if need be, hold fast to current goals and principles. Three months ago, if you’d asked employees from Ford and General Motors if they thought they’d be producing masks and respirators, they’d have thought you were crazy. Fast forward three months, and those companies aren’t only making those products; they’re no longer producing cars. Sure, that’s a short-term answer to an unprecedented need, but every business can take a page from that book and ask themselves, “Is my current objective, product, or service still as valuable as it was before this situation.”
Grocery stores in Philadelphia are reporting an 8,000% increase in their delivery sales. This increase in sales happened as a result of grocery store owners evaluating the current needs and shifting their business model to accommodate that need. Though most businesses are being affected negatively, the need to evaluate and adapt remains universal.
2. Re-evaluate Your Ideal Customer
Now is a great time to examine your ideal customer profile. In the months preceding the COVID-19 outbreak, the US economy was enjoying a huge boom. Amid record-setting sales and bull markets, it might have been easy for a company to lose sight of their number one priority: their customer. All of the pre-COVID-19 research you’ve done, though useful, may have become a bit stale over the last few months. Taking advantage of sales lulls to reconnect with your ideal customer can be the difference between scraping by and seizing the market when the lights come back on.
Perhaps your customer profile remains mostly the same, but ask yourself, should you be targeting new/other customer profiles? Have their pain points shifted during this crisis? Calm re-evaluation will show you leads you hadn’t seen before, either by busy negligence, or a change in the market.
3. Audit Your Messages
We’ve seen an unprecedented shift of tone in advertisements over the last three months. A company, regardless of size, should conduct an audit on current messages. Past campaigns aside, are their messages/advertisements your company is currently leveraging that don’t apply to the current global climate? If there are, move quickly to either remove them or replace them with a message more suitable to the immediate needs.
This isn’t a new concept. Driving by a billboard advertising winter coats when it’s July tells a potential consumer that the jacket retailer doesn’t care about their messaging, or worse, it causes a possible customer to question whether the company is still in business. In this current, and everchanging climate, a company must perform an extensive audit on customer-facing messaging, including emails, and web content to be relevant to potential leads.
4. Be Relatable
In all of this, it’s important to remember that this is a moment in history where empathy and optimism resonate with potential consumers more than clever campaigns, belittlement, or just another “during these times” email. Knowing your customer’s needs has always been a hallmark of a successful USP, but now more than ever, finding a way to tell this story with grace and consideration are vital, and if you do it right, you’ve got a great chance to land a lifelong client/consumer. Commerce hasn’t completely halted, but potential clients and customers are choosing to spend their money on companies that are giving back, telling a story, and relating to them.
Such storytelling is epitomized by Nike’s “Play Indoors” campaign. Theoretically, a sportswear company, that’s sales rely on athletes would be underwater when the population isn’t playing sports, watching sports, or even allowed out of their houses. However, this doesn’t apply to Nike nor the “Play Indoors” campaign.
“Play Indoors” challenges athletes and non-athletes alike to get active and “play for the world.” “We may not be playing for our countries, yet,” the add says, talking about the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but it adds this inspiring message “Today we’re playing for 7.8 billion people.” By showing athletes making the most of being forced indoors, the company is saying, “We understand your plight.” Still, it doesn’t just throw away this connection with something like, “Don’t worry, we’ll beat this soon,” it pushes that thought further by affirming the choice to play indoors and elevating it to a global force. Today, by staying indoors and, you’re “playing for 7.8 billion people.”
Your company has the rare opportunity to relate to potential clients and customers, and generate leads by being honest, open, and relatable.
5. Be Seen Online
Since the start of the COVID-19 virus, Social Media Today says that news sites have seen a 46% uptick in traffic, and apps have seen a 20% increase in usage. Now, more than ever, potential leads are spending time online, reading news, watching videos, shopping, and using social media to connect with their coworkers and families alike. The importance of a strong SEO ranking for your business has never been greater.
Generating SEO content, increasing Google My Business (GMB) visibility, and cross-platform promotion has always been the best way to generate leads, but in this current climate, businesses who have had a weak online presence have an enormous opportunity. Most of the content online is directed at pre-COVID needs and keywords. The door is wide open for nimble small businesses to increase their visibility with COVID specific content, help, and solutions.
Though the markets continue changing, seizing the opportunity afforded by an equal playing field will keep you generating leads during these uncertain times.