In our last LinkingOut Club talk, BizPaul gave us a great presentation on ‘Facing the Fear and Adapting Your Marketing’ – something that all business owners must do at the moment to survive the Twilight Zone that is 2020!
So let’s dive into all the golden nuggets that were on offer.
Biz Paul suggests that there are five main reasons why business owners are currently reticent about their marketing since the initial pandemic lockdown:
1. ‘It’s too early to restart marketing’
Many business owners especially through the summer and into autumn felt that it was inappropriate to be ‘too salesy’ in the content they were producing for potential customers. However, there are many ways to engage your customers which enable you to build your brand but which don’t feel hard sell.
Depending on your industry, NOW may be exactly the right time to be selling – if you offer a product or service which enables other businesses to be more successful during these tricky times, then you really need to be putting yourself in front of those customers because you might even help save their business. You won’t be able to sell to them later if they are no longer in business.
If you sell products or services that are deemed to be less essential and more nice-to-have, then it’s understandable why you might feel a little more concerned about coming across as pushy. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop growing your brand and engaging your audience. Creating conversations and asking questions are ways you can keep your brand in your potential customers mind without it feeling ‘sales’ or ‘icky’.
2. ‘People aren’t ready to buy’
This is really the same reason as 1 but business owners are making assumptions about their customers, perhaps without even asking them. It’s true that businesses are being more cautious about buying decisions which means it’s even more important than ever to be super clear on exactly HOW you can solve your customer’s pain points.
- Be completely clear in your own mind on WHAT your offers are
- Communicate that to your teams so that everyone knows what your offers are
- Ensure your marketing is aligned – your website, socials and any print media has consistent brand messaging.
- Write about your products and services and explain WHY your offers have changed or indeed why they haven’t changed.
- If possible, use visual media to demonstrate your products or services.
3. ‘No-one wants to hear a sales message at the moment’
If you hang out on LinkedIn, as I do quite often, you’ll know that there’s a lot of chatter about how to present your sales pitches in an appropriate way. Certainly those people who dive into your inbox the second after you accept the connection request are widely criticised – you might remember my blog post entitled ‘Would You Get Married’ which started as a post on LinkedIn about exactly this hard sell strategy.
Whilst most people agree that trying to sell before you’ve established a relationship is not the right approach, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who want to buy from you now. Quite the contrary, in fact.
The key to successful selling has always been in relationship building and right now, it may be a little more difficult to read the situation. Be mindful that some people ARE struggling with financial hardship, mental wellbeing issues and perhaps physical ill health too, so moderating your language and keeping up to date with the evolving world news is recommended. Update your imagery too if necessary.
In short, if in doubt, don’t say it, or find a better way to say it that shows you are a caring human who thinks about the impact of their language.
4. ‘Fear of failure’
Sure, we are all concerned about failing from time to time, but one thing’s for sure, if you don’t try, you will certainly fail to progress. If you at least try, then yes you may fail but equally, you may succeed and move forward.
If you aren’t sure what to do for the best, why not just ask your potential clients what they need. As Seth Godin said, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”
5. ‘I only have a small marketing budget’
That’s OK – there are ways to market your business that don’t have to cost a lot of £££.
Start with organic social media marketing and ensure you have a credible presence on the platforms where your ideal customers hang out. When you have a small budget (whether time and/or money) it’s much better to do one or two platforms well and consistently than try to spread yourself across all the channels. Showing up with a clear compelling message in the right place can be a great strategy for getting new leads for your business.
If you want to speed things up you can include some paid social media advertising but be sure to have completely honed your message and identified your target audience before you start or it could be expensive and not effective in driving the sales you want.
Of course, don’t forget the other things you can do:
- Email marketing to your existing list plus growing your list
- Updating your website and improving your ranking through SEO
- PR – talk to the press – they are interested in success and good news stories
- Networking to grow your business connections.
So, yes, it might feel a bit uncomfortable to be marketing right now, but if you don’t overcome that fear, your business will be left behind and you’ll be playing catch up with your competition.