We hope this email finds you safe and well, your dogs well-walked and your children entertained. We are still open for business from our virtual offices, and we have been spending part of our time brainstorming, planning, reading articles, and watching webinars on how our customers can best communicate with their customers and position themselves to power through this. We thought it might be helpful to share some of the things we have learned or are doing at Sage with our clients to help empower you as well.
First, we know times are tough. Hang in there. $2 trillion+ is about to hit the economy. While a majority of that will be going to support basic needs, there’s certainly money that people will have available to use more broadly. Spending money in any form will help keep it circulating and help the economy.
And even if your business revenue has dropped significantly or you have had to temporarily close, there are actions you can take to help stay relevant to your customers as we weather this situation out.
- Don’t be afraid to communicate. Keep the emails, the blog posts, and the social posts coming. Don’t go silent so people wonder where you are, then pop back up when it’s over leaving them to wonder where you’ve been. But please don’t always make these communications about sales or asks. Your customers are looking for anything to help make their lives or businesses better. If you can provide that, do it.
- If you haven’t already, you need to be thinking about short-term and long-term strategies for your business.
- Short term: How can you change your product/service delivery system? We’ve seen restaurants adapt from dine-in to carry-out. But what about creating prepped meals for customers to fix at home like the home delivery meal clubs provide? So not just take and bake, but take, prepare, and bake. We’ve also seen businesses trying to collect revenues sooner in many ways, such as with gift cards or packaged services paid in advance. Is there a sub-set of what you provide that you can deliver for your customers to do at home? Fresh flowers for people to arrange for themselves? Hair color? Can you teach them how to fix their bike or change their oil? Give them a video tour of your brewery? People are looking hard for things to do to kill time. If you help them now, they’ll remember later.
- Long-term: How will our current situation change your product/service in the long run? “Normal” is months, maybe years off. I read an article predicting that large events like concerts and music festivals will be almost non-existent for 12-18 months. The music industry is already adapting. They are developing online and paid experiences to keep driving revenues for their artists and their companies. Do you have a strategy for reaching customers and delivering your product/service when the economy is in recovery mode?
- When you communicate with your customers, show them that you understand they are afraid of the current business climate and that you care what they are going through. Their problems have changed from what they were a month or so ago. They need to know what to do now and what to do after this is over. Ideally, you have a plan to help them through it. If you do, tell them about it. Send it in email, post to your social media channels, and even call your customers on the phone. If you don’t, let us know. We might be able to help you come up with some ideas.
- Right now, people want to be touched (virtually, of course) and they want to be encouraged and reassured. What can you do to help? One of our clients is planning a pay-it-forward home service campaign for first responders and members of the military. If there is anything you can do to brighten the day of someone, do it.
- Update your website to show that you are doing business and how. If your business has to temporarily close, talk about your plan for reopening. Let folks know you plan to be back.
- Talk about how important it is for our economy to keep money in circulation. Yes, times are tough, but we have to support each other.
- You don’t have to mention “the crisis” or “the pandemic” over and over, but acknowledge the problems we are all facing as a result of it.
- Create a sales funnel if you don’t already have one, so you can communicate with people when business ramps up again. If you don’t know how, ask us for ideas.
Hopefully these ideas resonate with you at some level. And, as promised on one of our earlier emails, if you just need to think out loud through any of these, please don’t hesitate to call or email. We are here to help you without the clock running.
Doug and the Sage Family
p.s. if you are needing any help understanding the stimulus packages I’ve been doing a lot of digging and talking with banks… I’m happy to share what I know.