COVID-19 has undoubtedly produced unprecedented circumstances in our personal and professional lives and as a result, there’s a lot of confusion about how to market your business during the crisis. Here are our top strategies for marketing your business during Coronavirus.

The Flow Flywheel

Long before COVID-19, the Flow Marketing team decided to revamp our approach to the traditional sales funnel. We felt that funnels were outdated in their approach to the modern consumer and inefficient in their ability to re-engage existing customers time and time again. 

Thus, the Flow Flywheel was born. Whereas the funnel focused on bringing customers into the top and spitting them out the bottom, the flywheel takes a customer-centric approach to convert more of your existing customer base, subsequently boosting buzz, referrals, and conversion.

TL;DR, flywheels build momentum. Which is exactly what every business should be focused on to get through and beyond COVID-19.

The three elements that keep the Flow Flywheel in motion are:

  1. Generate: customers enter the flywheel
  2. Convert: customers use your products or services
  3. Nurture: customers are nurtured by your brand

Rinse and repeat.

The Flow Marketing Flywheel

Each of the following strategies will contribute to at least two out of the three elements to get your flywheel spinning, so you can: 

  • Maximize your marketing resources (time, effort, and budget)
  • Build the momentum you need to sustain and elevate your business

These strategies can be applied to every type of business – whether you’re an e-commerce brand, medical practice, professional service provider, entrepreneur, or brick-and-mortar adapting to the circumstances. 

Related: How Flow’s Marketing Flywheel Puts You on a Path to ROI

  1. Reassess Your Messaging

Helps you: Convert, Nurture

First things first: you’ve got to get epic clarity on your messaging during COVID-19. Your customer journey (and their pain points) have most likely changed from what they were a month ago, and will continue to shift the longer that we are required to exercise social distancing. 

Vital messaging during COVID-19 consists of two main elements:

  1. Health and safety precautions that your business is taking during COVID-19
    • Clear and effective communication explaining your business’s response to COVID-19
      • Even if your business operations have not been affected – do your customers know that?
  2. Adapting your brand’s message to fit the new customer journey
    • Critical reassessment of how your product or service can help your customers as they navigate their new reality

How to Adapt Your Message to Fit Your Customer’s Journey:

  1. Outline what their success looks like.
    • What is their core desire?
  2. Identify their problems – what’s stopping them from achieving success?
    • Identify the main problem (the root source) that’s keeping them from getting what they want.
  3. Understand your brand’s role in helping them overcome their problems and achieve success.
    • How can you help them?
  4. Develop a simple plan to help them use your product or service.
    • Clearly outline “how it works.”
  5. Combine the above into a simple statement filter that looks like this:
    • Customer > Problem > Plan > Success
    • Ex: Businesses impacted by COVID-19 execute Flow Marketing’s ROI-positive marketing solutions to help them sustain momentum through and beyond COVID-19.

One fantastic example of a brand that has successfully adapted its message during the pandemic is Jeep. Their “Explore the Great Indoors” campaign is creative, supportive, and an interesting take on the brand’s adventurous ethos. 

To boot, they’re not all talk- their brand offerings support their customer pain points:

2. Start Building a Personal Brand

Helps you: Generate, Convert, Nurture

Personal brands are powerful engines for establishing credibility, authority, and building trust. Some of the most well-known brands in the world consist of not just a business element, but a personal component as well. Think of Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Gary Vee. Their personal brands bring a relatable, human element to their businesses and, as a result, their audience’s trust and are inspired by them.

How to Build a Personal Brand:

  1. Define your brand.
    • How does your personal brand differ from your business’s brand?
    • What unique perspective do you have to offer that will benefit them?
  2. Pick your platform.
    • Where is your audience? How will you reach them?
  3. Map out your content strategy.
    • Create an editorial calendar spreadsheet that tracks your ideas and publish dates
  4. Distribute!
    • Share your content via your selected platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, your company blog, etc.)

Personal brands aren’t just limited to CEOs, founders, and thought leaders. Personal brands can be an equally valuable tool for intrapreneurial employees

We use this strategy at Flow – each of our leadership team has a unique personal brand that they produce content to share valuable insights with their audiences on various platforms. In turn, they build individual credibility and trust by putting a friendly face to our business’s forefront.

Related: How to Create a Personal Brand That Benefits Your Business

3. Implement Live Chat (And Have a Strategy)

Helps you: Convert, Nurture

Have you considered how your customer experience has changed since COVID? Previously, they may have been able to meet with you or your team in person, where they could witness firsthand how customer-oriented you are. They might have been able to touch, see, smell, or feel your products before buying them. They might have been able to get 1:1 help from a customer service associate. 

Until social distancing measures are lifted, that customer experience is a thing of the past. The silver lining is that your customers are now experiencing your brand via one channel: online. To meet them where they’re at, your digital customer support needs to get with the times to ensure that the experience they might have had in person before is just as delightful when they visit your website. 

Unless your product or service is relatively simple and self-explanatory, chatbots just won’t cut it. You need live chat to recreate the personal touch that your customers were once able to experience IRL. And regular old live chat support isn’t enough either. You need a proactive chat strategy to anticipate your customer’s needs (and to convert them successfully, keeping that momentum in the flywheel alive and well). Furthermore, live chat is a valuable source of business intelligence. 

How to Implement Live Chat:

  1. Build out your brand persona.
    • Refine your brand, your message, and tone of voice.
  2. Build out a knowledge base.
    • What questions are your customers asking? What might they need to know about your brand, products, and services? This is the time to document all of your customer service FAQs, potential roadblocks they may run into, and responses. 
  3. Map out your EIM and proactive chat strategy.
    • An EIM, or “Engage, Identify, Match,” is the flow of conversation that leads your customers down the path to conversion (sales) or conclusion (support).
    • What do you want to be communicating to your audience? How will you solve their problems? 
    • Decide on your proactive chat strategy to increase conversion by 67-85%
  4. Install your live chat software.
  5. Run test chats.
    • Whether you have agents or are doing it solo, test chats are critical to ensure your software is working properly, and your knowledge is extensive enough.  
    • If you’re conducting these by yourself, have someone ask questions about your brand that you potentially did not think of or that are not in your knowledge base. 
  6. Analyze and adapt.
    • Download weekly or monthly transcripts and reports to assess your chat performance. Set goals so that you can track your performance.  Make adjustments to your KB and EIM as needed to support these.

Related: How to Turn Your Live Chat Data Into Business Intelligence

4. Start Producing Content

Helps you: Generate, Convert, Nurture

You’ve heard it by now: content is critical, especially during social distancing. Content helps you inform, educate, and nurture your audience. It contributes to all three elements of the flywheel and is one of the most valuable forms of communication when it comes to connecting your audience to your brand.

How to Create Content:

  1. Outline an editorial calendar.
    • Use Google Sheets to create an editorial calendar that hosts all of your ideas and publish dates
  2. Upload tasks into your project management system.
    • If you use a project management system like Zoho or Asana, upload tasks and delegate to your team (or to yourself so you can stay on top of deadlines)
  3. Outline your article.
    • Create an article outline in Google Docs.
  4. Interview.
    • Have a member of your team interview you to pull out your expertise. If you’re creating solo, record yourself as you go through the outline to capture your train of thought. 
  5. Write!
    • Transcribe your interview as you go through the outline and turn your content into a long-form article.
    • Be sure to write out separate statuses for social platforms and email.
  6. Distribute.
    • Distribute via a scheduling tool (like Buffer or Hootsuite), or set a calendar reminder to log on and DIY for each platform. Don’t forget to email your audience to let them know you’ve shared something new. 

Related: The Content Strategy Mistakes That Are Wasting Your Marketing Dollars

5. Host Free Webinars

Helps you: Generate, Convert, Nurture

Webinars are an easy way to nurture existing clientele and get new customers into your flywheel. Plus, the video format means your customers experience your expertise in your voice. It also gives existing customers the ability to share your business with their network, building your personal and business brands simultaneously. 

How to Host a Free Webinar:

  1. Select your platform
    • You can use Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc. Zoom has a webinar feature that allows you to capture emails via registration, automatically records your webinar, and allows for Q&A chat format so you can directly engage with your attendees.
  2. Select your topic
    • Outline what you’ll talk about (and get clear on the “why”). 
    • Create a title for your webinar (ex: The Power of Flow State at Work)
  3. Select a day and time
    • Make sure whatever day/time your select accommodates your audience’s schedule (all U.S. time zones, or global times zones if you’re international)
  4. Market your webinar
    • Create assets to share on social media and via your email list. Send personalized invites to existing customers.
    • Set calendar reminders for reminder posts and emails as you get closer to the webinar date.
  5. Prep
    • Prepare a presentation to accompany your webinar. Visuals are powerful tools for memorization and will keep your audience engaged.
  6. Facilitate
    • Host away! Make sure your attendees have a clear takeaway and leave time for Q&A.
  7. Follow up
    • Send out a follow-up email with presentation downloads, resources, CTAs to stay in touch on social media, and registration info for your next webinar.

This period is about giving – not selling. The best thing you can do to sustain your business is to grow your audience and establish trust by offering value and exemplary customer service. If you have questions about any of the strategies listed above, we’re happy to help – reach out to us at hey@feelmeflow.com.