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COVID

WANT TO SKIP MARKETING AND

TRY SOMETHING NEW?

I have already talked about marketing during this sensitive time in another video, and how uncomfortable that can feel. If you feel that it is not the right time, or you have a business that is unable to sell right now due to the shutdowns then shifting your focus from marketing to customer nurturing can be useful. 

I like to approach business in this way; I use nurture marketing to bring in new clients and course members then my focus shifts to customer nurturing so they’re more likely to continue their relationship with me.

Not only does it save a lot of money and time, because it costs money and time to attract and covert a new customer or client, it also builds strong brand loyalty and that has huge value. 

So what is the difference between marketing and nurturing? Marketing is selling a product, nurturing is building up the relationship beyond just the product. 

Think about your own business right now, in what ways have you been nurturing the relationship with your current and potential customers or clients? Have you taken time to stay engaged? If you’re unable or simply don't want to sell right now, which is completely understandable,  how can you be useful? 

Over the past month my inbox has been slammed with offers from businesses that I haven’t heard from in years. Lots and lots and lots of discount offers and “what we are doing to combat Corona Virus” type emails. 

My first response was to unsubscribe from them because I am not a loyal customer, I haven’t been nurtured at all. It feels like a cheap booty call, “hey, you up?” No. No I am not. I also am not at all personally invested in what they’re doing to combat Corona. Unless you’re intending on sneezing in my face, I don’t care what your Covid position is. 

I am so much more likely to engage with a business that has nurtured the relationship with me. When life returns to something that somewhat resembles our previous life then those who have nurtured with well considered nurture marketing, not just “come buy my cheap stuff” will be the businesses I am more likely to continue doing business with.

What does that look like?

It might be as simple as taking the time to engage with your audience on social media in a more conscious way, social media allows two way conversations so ask customers on social media how they are and take the time to respond. 

If you and your team (if you have one) haven’t shared anything about your personal lives, then this is a good opportunity to show the faces behind the brand. Check out the Digital Picnic on Instagram, Cherie and her team do an amazing job at that. 

If you’re able to share free content that could support people right now, then jump on a live video and give away some value. Be creative, it doesn’t need to be a first rate production, that's part of the beauty of nurture marketing, authenticity will go a long way. 

If you give it a try and you don’t get a heap of interaction, don’t despair, not everyone will respond but that doesn’t mean they’re not listening to you. 

For a little inspiration on some great examples of this check out Julie from Sounds Like This who has been doing live music sessions for little ones on her Facebook page. Janna Denton Howes, who specialises in improving the intimate husband and wife relationship has bucket loads of content around creating calm at home. 

Don’t overcomplicate your nurturing, while it should still be on-brand it doesn’t need to be fancy. It needs to be kind, considerate, engaging, honest and generous. Things that I know all of my profit lovers are more than capable of doing. 

Don’t bombard people with messages or emails, it’s going to tire them out, but do keep in touch. 

SCARED TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS RIGHT NOW?

It can be a tough decision to market your product or service during such a crazy time as this. I have seen some vile comments by people who for whatever reason think that marketing and selling are not ok right now. 

I wanted to give you my thoughts on this, and hopefully empower those who do have a business and that can sell right now to feel ok with marketing, and not be scared off by those who might think it’s wrong. 

There isn’t an endless bucket of money that governments can keep pouring out of, and there are millions of people right now needing to take from that bucket. 

If you don't need to take from the bucket because your business has a product or service that is not affected by Corona Virus, and I know, that is a really small percentage of businesses, then you should feel really good about marketing.

You’re doing an amazing thing by not becoming reliant on government support, anyone who poo-poos you for that needs to take a good hard look at themselves. If at any time, your business can’t support you or your family then taking from that bucket is your right.

If you do want to keep marketing, and that is your right, then just do it with a sensitivity to your target audience. Don’t exploit the situation, like you know …. Selling much-needed products like hand sanitizer for 20 times the price because that’s gross.

I feel like this doesn’t need to be said to any of the Profit Lovers, but if you’re new around here and your pitching get rich quick schemes to desperate people then you’re an asshole.

If you have a product or service that has a long lead time, in that people usually take months to make a buying decision then stopping your marketing now is a bad idea. When this madness is finally over you don’t want to be months and months away from converting a lead to a sale.

I want to give you an example of how I am changing my marketing message and embracing the fact that I have a long lead time on my offers;

With one of my online programs, Create Your First Online Course, only 2% of people buy straight away. Most people won’t buy for months and months, so I will keep promoting the free opt in to that course knowing that if I provide awesome premium free content now, when they are ready to buy later in the year they already know, like and trust me. I have given them obligation and pressure-free value, no strings attached.

I am also shifting my marketing message to make it very clear that if they do buy right now, creating an online course is unlikely to quickly bring in revenue. I am very blunt that if they’re looking to cure a cash flow crisis by launching an online course, it’s not a good plan.

I am actively discouraging people who I think might purchase out of desperation while actively encouraging those who aren’t under financial stress and want to use this time to build their online course.

I know I will get haters, but I am single and I have bills to pay. I have two virtual assistants that I want to keep paying because their family income has dropped or is likely to drop very soon.

It’s important to me that I don’t need to use any government support because I have a product that is saleable right now. So if anyone wants to hate me for that, I am ok with it.

Market with integrity, market with kindness and feel good about freeing up much-needed government funds for those with no other choice.

If it feels completely horrible to you right now to be marketing, or you’re in a business where people usually make very quick buying decisions and you can’t sell to them, use this time wisely to nurture previous customers and plan your marketing when business returns to normal. Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later.

WANT TO BOOST YOUR SALES

BY SELLING GIFT CARDS OR VOUCHERS?

If you’re offering gift cards and vouchers to boost up revenue in your business, I know there are a lot of people suggesting cafes and restaurants do this, please consider the following;

In Australia, from November 2019 gift cards require a minimum 3-year validity (there are some exceptions to this), and the expiry must be clearly written on the gift card. 

That means your customers have up to 3 years to use their gift card. It might feel like a great way right now to survive, but it does have cash flow implications down the road if you spend that money now. Technically, you should not be spending that money until the gift card has been redeemed. 

When you enter the purchase of a gift card, it should become a “liability” on your books and it technically should not become a sale until redeemed. Once your customer redeems their gift card or voucher, you gain the sale and reduce your liability. 

If you sell your business as an ongoing concern, as in you sell the business as a whole, not just sell some of the assets of the business, your buyer is going to need to honour those gift cards. They’re going to know exactly what is outstanding, so record every single gift card or voucher you sell. 

If your business folds, enters bankruptcy then gift card and voucher holders become unsecured creditors and can make a claim for payment. 

The best way to use gift vouchers or cards in your business is to protect your future cash flow, not to secure cash flow today. 

You can find more details at the ACCC. If you’re outside of Australia the validity might be different, for example, if you’re in New Zealand and your voucher has no expiry date you can use it whenever you want, that could be decades from now… but accounting is usually the same. It’s not your money until it's redeemed. 

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell gift cards or vouchers, it just means you need to understand the rules so you don’t get any nasty shocks in the future.

SHOULD YOU PIVOT YOUR BUSINESS?

We keep hearing right now, everybody telling us to pivot our businesses. If you can't make money from the product or service that you were previously selling, you should pivot.. Pivot! Pivot! Pivot! Which always, for me brings up that scene from Friends where Ross and I think, Chandler or maybe Joey were trying to get a couch up the stairs and Ross is yelling "Pivot, Pivot!." 

Anyhow, I digress. If you're hearing those pivot messages right now and you don't know whether or not that's right for your business, I'm going to give you my thoughts on pivoting. It isn't always going to be the best thing for a lot of businesses to do. 

Before you even think about pivoting, the first thing you want to do is make sure you're understanding your current financial position. I'm seeing people pivoting their businesses because everyone's saying that's what they need to do, that they need to broaden their market and create new products or services for new markets.

But right now, if you're already in an okay cashflow position, you can survive right now, pivoting your business could dilute your target market. It could be quite costly, and you've got to attract potentially a whole new market or you've got to create a product or service that potentially is only going to suit the market for a short period of time. Then, you're going to have to return to business as normal or as close to normal as we get.

Sometimes pivoting is a really bad idea. There have been a few customers of mine that have had these conversations where they've said, "Look, Melanie, I've come up with this idea to pivot," and I've said, "Whoa, you need to slow your roll because we can see from their cashflow forecast that it's completely unnecessary for them to do that."

 
 

Be careful if you are pivoting, start with understanding what the financial position of your business is now and remember that when you do pivot, if you're going to have to go out and find a new market or you've got an entirely new product or service, that is actually quite costly and you may not see a return on that investment and you may, as I said earlier, dilute your marketing message.

Be careful. Pivoting is not always the answer. If you've been feeling a little bit guilty because you're hearing that message over and over again and you're not sure if you're supposed to be creating something completely, entirely new or finding a much bigger audience than rest assured that for a lot of businesses, it just simply isn't a good idea.

If you're after any more free advice, we're going to do a whole coronavirus recovery, six-week plan, right here on theprofitlovers.com. The first thing you'll want to do is download the Profit Lovers Plan and Track if you haven't done that already.

It's an amazing place to plan all of the important information that you need in your business and also to track that information, and there is a cash flow included in that as well. It's a simple cash flow and so it's a great place to start, to figure out exactly where you're at financially. Stay well and look after yourself, in this crazy time.