With numbers of COVID infections increasing daily in many states, people are wondering when it will end and when we can begin to start feeling confident in an economic recovery.
No one knows for sure when recovery will begin.
In the meantime, there are a few things we know about how business and customers have changed. You can use that knowledge to restructure your marketing in order to better position your business for a stronger recovery.
Here are the three things you should be working on now for a stronger future.
Improve Communication and Copy
This is a global pandemic. That means in some way, regardless of where your customers live, they have been affected. Here in the United States, we have had additional strife beyond the virus. People's lives have been forever altered.
The first thing you need to do to prepare for recovery is to understand that the way you communicate with your customers must change. People expect a much more human face to business and they want to understand you and know more about you before spending money with you.
There may also be topics or marketing copy you want to revisit. Many large companies are rebranding or dropping words form their company vernacular due to our current environment and racial tensions. Review marketing language and product descriptions. Take a look at employee communications. Understand how you’re being heard by all groups.
You'll also want to adjust your content to reflect what people are going through now. Re-imagine the solutions you can provide to the issues created by COVID and use that to shape your messaging.
If you've been thinking that it seems like people have shorter fuses these days, you might not be imagining it. With children at home (instead of school or camp), jobs shifting to home offices, sheltering in place, protests, violent removal of statues in public areas, and some jobs being eliminated altogether, it’s no wonder that stress levels are high.
And it has ripple effects on other things as well. Customer service lines have been inundated with calls and wait times can exceed an hour or two. Even if your customers, vendors, or other stakeholders aren't frustrated with your business, they could become so if there's any form of friction in the buying or contact process. Stress is high. You don’t want to contribute to it.
That's why you need to make sure you smooth along the rough edges as best as you can. Many people are fed up, scared, or just tired of this new order. Many want things to go back to the way they were but these past few weeks are showing that that may never happen. There's a frustration in the realization of this.
Do your best to ensure customers and potential customers don’t have any of those situations with your business. Go above and beyond to improve user experience.
Get Back into “Fighting” Shape
If your employees have been working from home, there are a few things you can do to make sure that everyone is “back in shape” for the office. You were in survival mode but now you have to be prepared for thriving mode. Are there professional development courses you want your employees to take? Are there topics you need to brush up on? Make sure you encourage your staff to do so and give them time to complete these activities.
It’s likely been a while since they received any formal reviews or goal talks. Take some time now to make sure everyone is on track for success. Your business cannot be successful if your employees aren’t.
Ask for feedback and listen to their suggestions. Right now, disgruntled employees may be afraid to leave a job. But their negative attitudes could be making it difficult for coworkers and customers. Don’t leave things unaddressed just because you’re out of the office.
There are so many options for professional development that are free or very low cost. Check out webinars, podcasts, YouTube videos, Facebook Livestreaming and other low-cost solutions. Don’t forget the chamber offers educational offerings as well.
It may not feel like it, but it’s time to start thinking about recovery. With a couple of easy changes to your business protocols you can position yourself for a very successful future.
Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so.
Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on Facebook.