Here’s the short answer.
The best way to keep top-of-mind during the crisis is to be helpful to your customers...that's it!
You can now close this article and go execute.
However, if you're looking for something a bit more in-depth then keep reading.
To really be able to navigate what’s going on in the current climate you have to understand a few things:
People are anxious, uncertain, and looking for answers as to how to make it through COVID
Everyone is struggling in some way right now, whether mentally, emotionally, or financially
People are focusing on purchasing only the things they need that are essential, so if you sell any sort of luxury item then undoubtedly your business has taken a hit
Now, does that mean you should throw your hands in the air and give up? No.
It just means you have to change your approach of how you choose to market yourself and sell to your customers.
In case you’re wondering why is it important to stay top-of-mind, well for one it will help you stand out from the competition and two, and more importantly, you want to ensure that when they are in the space to purchase what you sell that you are their number one choice over everyone that offers the same product or service. How you do that is by strengthening the emotional connection that they have with your brand consistently.
Understand that at some point this will all be over, and what will make or break your brand and business during this time and moving forward is your response to your customers.
So enough beating around the bush, let’s talk about how to keep top-of-mind during this time
Steps to Keep Your Brand Top-of-Mind During COVID-19
Step 1: Have a deeper understanding of your customer’s struggle
If you’re someone who thinks that understanding your customer means knowing their age, location, gender, and colour palette, throw all that away because none of it counts right now. You need to go deeper and uncover what challenges they are facing specifically with COVID, as this is where their focus currently lies.
To do that here’s what I recommend you do:
Make a list of 5-10 current customers and 5-10 potential customers (warm leads) that you were already in dialog with prior to COVID
Ask them a set of questions to uncover what their challenges are during this time and make a list of the answers from each customer
In case you’re wondering what to ask here’s a question I’ve been asking a lot of my target customers lately, “What specific ways have you been affected negatively by what’s happening because of COVID?”
The answer to that single question should give you all the understanding you need.
Step 2: Analyze the data to find your ‘Sweet Spot’
Once you have collected all the responses there are two questions you want to ask yourself:
Question 1: Of the problems stated which are the most common that creates the greatest inconvenience or pain for my customers that we have the expertise to solve?
Now that last part is important.
Just because you identified a common problem doesn’t mean you should try to solve it IF you do not have the expertise to solve it. Focus only on those problems you can solve that is also in-line with your business.
You want to be intentional and purposeful with your efforts.
So let me give you an example. I asked a CEO friend of mine this same question and some of the things he said were:
Collections of money owed
Lack of productivity because staff are home
Customers cutting costs which affects his revenues
Now of all these challenges that he has the third is the only one that I have the expertise to help with, because it’s simply a matter of using Content Marketing to reposition his business and offering as a solution for his customers during the COVID situation.
If he can do that then they will see his business as an asset rather than an unnecessary cost that they need to cut.
So you want to think about it the same way and take that same approach.
Question 2: What would a win look like for my customers if they were able to solve or alleviate that pain point and how can we provide that win?
The reason why this is important is because you want to know what they consider to be value for time and value for money, not what you consider value. Otherwise they won’t see the point in paying attention to your brand or paying for what you offer.
Once you uncover their pain points during this time and what they consider value now you can position your offering and messaging in a way where they will be compelled to purchase because they want the relief from the stress they are currently experiencing because of the crisis.
Even if they don’t purchase at the very least you will get them to pay attention to your brand, and slowly trust will be built, which also inevitably leads to the sale later on.
Step 3: Find your own way to be helpful
Now being helpful in this case is subjective, but at the end of the day it should focus on the needs of your customers first, not yours.
So let me give you two examples of how I’m doing this now.
The first is creating content around solutions to the challenges I identified from speaking with a few current and potential clients.
One example of this is the webinar recording I did two weeks ago where I broke down in detail how to use Content Marketing to keep customers buying, as it is something I know business owners and marketers are struggling to figure out.
Here’s a quick clip from that webinar recording.
You can watch the full recording here if you wish Full Webinar
The second way I’m choosing to be helpful is offering my services for free that I would normally charge for to a select few clients to help them navigate through this time. These are clients who have put contracts I had with them on pause because of COVID.
Now in the short term this may not seem like a very smart business move, and if you’re looking on it from the standpoint of dollars and cents then I completely agree it’s not the smartest move.
However, I’m not looking on it from the standpoint of dollars and cents, I’m looking on it from the standpoint of cementing those relationships and strengthening the brand connection so that I will continue to have them as clients in the long-term.
Who do you think they are more likely to consider for future business once things stabilize? The person who is trying to get every last penny from them when they are barely holding on, or the person who is going out of their way to be as helpful as possible without anything to gain?
Now as I mentioned how you choose to help is subjective, I’m just sharing the ways I’m choosing to help and how I’m choosing to keep top-of-mind through building and strengthening brand affinity through content.
Though continuing selling is vital to any business’ survival right now, you should balance it with starting to build brand if you haven’t already began doing so in order to keep your brand top-of-mind. Before you could say that you did not have the time to do such things and had to prioritize sales. Well now you do as we are all quarantined and can barely do much right now.
Here’s the thing…
If you do follow the steps I’ve outlined not only will your brand keep top-of-mind but your customers will see you as an essential need in their life and may be willing to spend money with you, during this time, but especially long after.
If you have any questions on how Content Marketing can help your brand keep top-of-mind during this time and secure potential business feel free to contact me.