5 Tips on How to Keep Marketing Compassionate During COVID-19

5 Tips on How to Keep Marketing Compassionate During COVID-19

The past few weeks have been one for the record books. We all have been forced to adjust amid this latest pandemic COVID-19. Personally, social distancing is a bit of a normal daily routine as is washing our hands. However, the latest events have even introverts like us a bit weary.

Our company is used to working remotely so that has not been a huge change for us. Our daily operations, along with the closures of vendors, clients, and a shift in our normal activities has been a cause for reevaluating our processes.

During these uneasy times, there are a lot of questions we keep hearing from other small businesses as well as other agencies. Many of these questions surround marketing, and how or even if they should be promoting themselves or their services during times of fear. Should we talk about COVID-19? Will we keep selling while people are cutting back? Shall we discuss the things we are doing to keep our customers safe? How much is too much or how little is too little as far as our level of communication and transparency?

So many questions, it is all a bit overwhelming to consider, isn’t it?

At HeartWired Digital, we put a great deal of effort into being transparently human in everything we do. Compassion for others is our focal point as we believe that people are the pulse of our business. We do this with intention, and even when we are in crisis as many would say we are now, we do our research first before being compulsory in our messaging.

Would it be easier to jump on the pandemic bandwagon and use fear of the unknown as a tactic? Possibly. Is it better to use a knee-jerk reaction to a media story? Or to change our message in order to fit the mainstream? Perhaps. You will not find us or hopefully our clients doing either though. In times of uncertainty, do you need to adjust your sails? Absolutely! Do you need to quit marketing and start placating to the whims of others? Never!

We have put together some tips on how to effectively (and compassionately) market your business during the COVID-19 crisis.

First and foremost before we even jump into that, one thing you should NOT be doing at this time is…

“Don’t use fear to get sales!”

This should go without saying, but so many messages out there are manipulating peoples’ emotions by focusing on fear. This is the time to be transparent and provide security rather than take advantage of a vulnerable population. Do things now, that provide even a higher level of sensitivity than you may even normally provide. The way we as businesses behave in times of need will reflect in loyalty from your customers in times of comfort.

Now back to the tips businesses can use to keep marketing compassionate during COVID-19.

Tips on How to Keep Marketing Compassionate During COVID-19

While we are in uncharted waters for our time as far as marketing goes, or just business in general. While it is okay to market, in fact, we encourage you to market your brand during these uneasy times versus stopping. It all takes a different level of sensitivity to your message as well as what your clients need.

Your Emails May Need Rewriting

Many companies write their marketing emails weeks if not months in advance and then schedule them using their CRM. While this is a great practice to ensure that you have campaigns running while creativity may be lapsing. The emails you wrote in February quite possibly are not the right message you should be using now. A good practice is to review your upcoming emails to ensure they are empathetic to the time we currently are surviving in.

Social Media Marketing for Information Rather Than Sales

Advertising dollars should be spent on social media marketing as you usually would. In fact, you may even consider increasing them with the upcoming bonuses from both Google and Facebook while available. Your message likely needs to adjust. Right now many people have slowed or even suspended their spending. Rather than advertising for sales, now is the time to be marketing to build. Build your list by providing more value through your marketing.

Market Value for Sales Later

People are scared and they don’t know what the economy looks like tomorrow. Many small to mid-size businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. The last thing they need or want is another sales pitch. If you have the capacity to focus beyond tomorrow and offer more value today for free, you will be remembered. They will remember the one that provided empathy and were willing to give away their content during times of uncertainty. If you are constantly pitching people to buy during your “Coronavirus Sale”, you likely are losing more customers than you will ever gain.

It’s Not About You, It Never Was.

People like to know that the businesses that they give their hard-earned money to, care about them. Let me rephrase, people like to have a relationship with the local businesses they support. This means your messaging needs to reflect your community. If you are providing different hours, better pricing, or new services during this time, let them know. People will care more about that than hearing how you are washing your hands, cleaning after your customers, and have stockpiles of toilet paper. Those are all things people take for granted that you are already doing on a daily basis, they really don’t want to read about it in your newsletter or on your website.

Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found

How we all are used to doing business has likely changed forever, or at least in part. The new normal will look a bit different than the way small to medium-sized businesses do business. One thing many realized quickly as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded is they needed a way to be found. Many businesses resorted to marketing their message on solely social media since they did not have a website. Unfortunately, everyone did that and therefore their message likely was muted if not blocked entirely. Having a website, even a simple brochure site has become vital. Not only in times when everyone is online but also when we return to our new normal.

Prepare Now for Tomorrow’s Surge (Extra Tip)

Whenever there is a crisis that affects our economy, especially an economy as strong as ours was before this all started, you need to be prepared for the surge. People are resilient. They will be looking to grow their business and make up for lost time and income. One way to prepare your business now for the surge is to ensure not only your message but also your SEO, your brand, your story, will all resonate and have a long-reaching effect. While we are in this “stay at home” model for the short-term, businesses need to be working on the long-term as far as their marketing goals and strategy.

Wrapping Up

At HeartWired we have always tried to meet our customers where they are (currently this includes Zoom meetings, Chats, Email, etc.). The more businesses are able to be flexible and adjust to the changing times, we increase our chances of not only survival but growth.

We understand these are uncertain times and hope that you have been able to gain some insight on how to adjust your marketing accordingly to the brand new world we live in. The ability to pivot and adjust your verticle markets allows your business to grow even during times like these.

Empathy and compassion for others will gain more loyalty in the long run than any other marketing campaign you and your creative team can come up with.

If you would like to discuss how HeartWired Digital Solutions can help your business grow, please contact us online or give us a call 904.660.5185.

Stay healthy and safe everyone, together we are stronger.

Brands, Engage Online! Your Customers are Waiting!

Brands, Engage Online! Your Customers are Waiting!

In today’s fast paced world, customers want engaging content. Content that is mobile-friendly and easy to access from their smartphones on the go. Businesses that want to engage with their customers as well as gain new ones must adapt to the every changing flow. The way you used to do business where you posted an ad online or did a email blast every once in awhile is just not enough to hold your potential client’s interest much less attention.

Brand engagement with those that are looking for their good or services will differentiate themselves from their competition by interacting and being found.

No matter your brand, it is time to engage online, your customers are waiting.

Social media channels of brands especially small businesses many times go left unattended. If you have not posted within the last week or so, you likely have lost customers. They are not interested in doing business with a brand that is not interested in them. And yes, they will leave you for someone else without thinking twice.

Lack of engagement shows lack of interest, whether true or not, perception is reality.

Same goes for your company website. If your site is aged and has not had any recent post activity. Your brand is perceived to be stale.

If you suffer from broken links, poor images or your site’s user experience is below par. It may be time to redesign and refresh your site. You might think you don’t have time or the know how to make your site come alive. There are web designers that would be more than happy to help you out and get you up to speed with your clients and their needs.

Have you gotten a 5 star review from a enthusiastic client, yet you did not respond? A few seconds of your time could easily create a return loyal customer and even generate new ones.

No longer is it okay to think that just because your company is on social media that means you are socially relevant.

Having a website is no longer enough, your visitors want interaction. In the age of chatbots and AI, a site with a “please email us at” is no longer enough.

Is your company “voice friendly”? That means when they search for a restaurant, dog groomer, or whatever “near them” are you the one being found? You might be thinking that is crazy as you say “Ok Google” or “Hey Alexa” in your home, office or just on your phone. Voice is not only the future it is now.

No matter the way you choose to engage with your customers, the key is that you do. You spend time, energy, and money creating your brand. It is time you spend similarly on engaging with your customers the way they want to be engaged.

How are you engaging with your customers? We would love to hear your thoughts on the future of brand engagement. Leave a comment and share your thoughts and ideas below.

Some of the Best Business Advice Was From The Guy Washing My Car

Some of the Best Business Advice Was From The Guy Washing My Car

This may sound a bit obscure, but as a local small business owner, some of the best business advice I have received was from the guy washing my cars.

A few months ago my neighbor was having his cars washed and detailed. Busy running my business, our vehicles were in need of a good detail themselves. I went next door and hired the guy and his team on the spot to clean our cars as well.

As he finished up cleaning our cars, we got to talking about his business. He shared with me some of his recent wins in the car detailing industry. He mentioned how a program through our local Chamber of Commerce really changed the way he ran his business.

Small businesses depend on other small businesses to survive. If we fail to support one another we all lose.

This program he mentioned I had heard about at a couple of Chamber council meetings but had not given it much thought. When he shared about how the program worked and that it was open to anyone in the community. Whether you were a business owner or just someone who had a dream. It did not matter if you were a  Chamber member or not. He peaked my interest, if for nothing else but the passion in his voice as he shared how it helped his business grow.

That evening I went online and found information about the Jax Bridges program through the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. Submitting my application I felt unprepared and unequipped to join the program based on the questions on the application. Little did I know that those questions proved how ready I was for the program.

After a few more steps in the process, a couple weeks had passed I was accepted into the next cohort of Jax Bridges.

Little did I know that the next twelve weeks of my company’s existence would change how I did business entirely.

Jax Bridges is a program provided through the Entrepreneurial Growth Division of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. It gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to vet their product or service. They take you through the process of creating a business model, value proposition, capability statement and so much more. It is an educational opportunity based on real life experiences rather than the antiquated ideas taught in textbooks. All of which provides each entrepreneur the tools and skills to be successful.

Business owners are inundated with what business advice that generally amounts to little more than opinion.

Jax Bridges gives you not only advice but actionable ways to implement the tools step by step to build your business. Whether you are a fledgling startup or a veteran business owner, everyone can reap the rewards and benefits learned in the program.

After graduating from cohort 8, my business, the way we interact with our customers and community is forever changed. We have more focus to provide the services to the clients we serve. By leveraging our resources we are prepared to scale our business in a way I could never have imagined or even attempted a short three months ago.

Now you may be wondering how is it that not only a business changing, but in some aspects life changing organization like Jax Bridges stay somewhat unheard of? The answer is simple, they need no advertising or marketing plan themselves. Graduates like myself spread the word organically. After 8 cohorts there are enough coin holding ambassadors in and around Jacksonville to keep Jax Bridges going for years to come. In fact if you happen to know an entrepreneur or small business that just does things differently there is a good chance they too hold the coin to success.

Building Traffic Patterns for Your Small Business

Building Traffic Patterns for Your Small Business

Business owners spend a great deal of time and money trying to “gain traction” or get “traffic” to their websites only to see little results.

Generally the reason is simple … and so can the solution be as well.

There are a few things either you or your web designer can do that can help get you noticed.

  1. When did you update your website last? A stagnant unchanging site will not bring in visitors. Change some images, add some content, re-purpose old content, make things fresh and relevant.
  2. Outdated or expired sales or specials. Once the sale is over take it off your site. Having a special that expired weeks ago will frustrate anyone that may visit. Use plugins that automatically remove popups or messages that are expired.
  3. Market your local community. Everyone has heard of SEO by now yet few get specific for their local market. Use keywords that set you apart from the competition not just in your niche but also in your neighborhood.
  4. Spend a little to get a lot. Google can be your best friend, but like any friend you have to spend time with them. Stroke her ego, spend a little in Google Adwords, she will return the favor with online admiration.
  5. Mobile matters to you and your customers. If your site is not mobile friendly you are losing. Everyone uses their phones first when searching, make sure when they find you they have a great user experience or they will never come back.
  6. Back-link love with permission. Linking to other websites may seem a bit counter-intuitive but Google and your clients will love you for it. Be sure if you do that the links make sense and bring value to your clients. Depending on the content you might want to ask the owner first, many times they will reciprocate the link love.
  7. Get social with a purpose. Social media changes all the time, even the best social media marketers have to stay on their toes to keep up with the best practices. It is not enough to just create great shareable content, but they must be active on the applicable social media channels to get their message out to the world.
  8. Use internal links on your own content. Whenever you create new content look for ways to link to other content that you have already created to link to within your own website. Users of Yoast SEO have the advantage of the Yoast Internal Link tool that assists them in finding content to link to as they create.
  9. Make sure your site has speed. Slow websites cause high bounce rates. Optimize your images, check your site structure, use hosting that is worth its weight. All of these contribute to the speed of the web page load which in turn either keeps or loses visitors.

Keep in mind these are simple steps that either you or your web designer can do to start building traffic patterns for your small business.

We could keep going but you would likely get overwhelmed and want to stop reading. If you would like to learn more on how you can generate traffic to your business or even better yet have us help you accomplish your goals contact us and schedule your discovery session today.