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  • 13 Oct 2020

    Maintaining relevance is something that businesses always grapple with, but it’s never been quite this much of a challenge. That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic is the rare type of occurrence that causes major shakeups at both ends of the market, simultaneously changing the game and the goals. Not only has coronavirus altered the way that businesses have to operate, but it’s also changed what customers want and need, and how they buy.

    Given all of this change, it would be nearly impossible to keep the same business strategy you had in place before COVID and still be relevant today, let alone stay that way well into the future. Nearly every other business (and competitor) in the country and around the world has had to change in order to adapt to the new normal. How will your business evolve and maintain relevance during and after COVID-19?

     

    How Has Relevancy Changed?

    As we talked about in the previous blog in this series, people have coped with this pandemic by going online. If your business is not online, make it online. Regardless of what happens with the COVID-19 situation, this train has left the tracks and it has a lot of power behind it. It isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

    People are ordering food online rather than going to the grocery store. Instead of going to the movies, people are ordering movies through an online streaming website. In-person purchases are down. Online purchases are up. No longer are billboards and stadium advertisements relevant because there are fewer people on highways and nobody in stadiums. Even Times Square billboards, according to NPR, that are usually filled with advertisements are now filled with messages of hope and appreciation for our healthcare workers.

    These are the new norms, whether we like it or not. Your business must find a way to reach people where they are, and right now they are online. To do this you will need a solid digital marketing strategy and content that is relevant to their current questions, needs, and concerns.

    Staying Relevant During COVID-19

    Think about what it would be like if your company went away. Would it affect the way your customers go about their day, week, month, or year? How have your customers’ needs changed during COVID? To answer that, you need to think about how their lives have changed and how that impacts their routines and decision-making process. In other words, you need to get to know your customers and prospects all over again. Don’t look at it as a setback. This is an opportunity for a fresh start.

    Once you’ve adjusted your view of who your target audience is and what they need today, you will need to shift your strategy to align with their customers’ expectations and make your business part of their new world. This could mean developing new products and processes, opening up new channels for communication, or reworking your marketing plan in a new digitally-driven direction. For most companies, digital marketing and web development are the fastest and easiest ways to keep their business on track.

    “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”

    – Henry Ford

    Don’t stop marketing your business during this unprecedented time, change your approach and press onward online. Trade your billboards for social media posts and banner ads that are more likely to be seen and clicked with a pandemic at large. Pick up the telephone and make some lead generation calls while you know people are sitting by the phone instead of running around the office. A quality digital marketing strategy will map out all your online possibilities and give your business the flexibility it needs to switch gears as needed and maintain relevance during this wild ride.

    Staying Relevant After COVID-19

    Even once we do get back to “normal” life, don’t stop what you’ve been doing. Never look back, because your customers are only moving forward. It’s said that 21 days makes a habit…we’re now well past the 2-month mark since coronavirus came to the U.S. What routines have changed, what priorities have shifted, and what habits have been broken during this time? What new patterns and behaviors have taken their place? These are the things that will anchor the “new normal” of the post-COVID world.

    After the coronavirus crisis passes or winds down, don’t stop spending money on your digital ads. Keep them up and running with updated content. Put those billboards back up on the highway when people start going back to work, with messages that integrate with what you’ve been saying online. Order more brochures and send out your mailers. Put your ads back on the radio and in stadiums for all the fans to see. Then run some more digital campaigns to jog their memory and bring them to a website where you can do some business together. The worst thing you could do is backtrack and throw away everything you’ve learned during this time.

    “Don’t just raise the bar, but also raise the floor so that others can reach the bar.”

    – Orlando Bowen

    This could not have been better said. In order to maintain your relevance both during and after COVID-19, raise that floor. It’s going to be hard for you and your customers to reach your goals without having a high floor under your feet. The higher that floor is, the higher the bar can eventually be.

    Talk to an expert at Blayzer today!

  • 13 Oct 2020

     

    Sales work often starts from the first impression. In most encounters, you only have 30 seconds to show, a few minutes to impress, and a day to respond. My advice is to prepare an impressive elevator pitch.

    An elevator pitch is the most minimalist interpretation of the products or services that a company or individual offers. The term “elevator pitch” comes from the reality that you may only have an elevator ride to the next floor to introduce yourself and your ideas and to make an impact on investors or prospects. The elevator pitch is the heart of all of your messaging and conversations about your brand.

     

    Why is an elevator pitch important?

    We must understand that we are always selling. When you go for a job, you are selling intellect, labor, and your personal brand. When you go for a proposal, you are selling your services and what makes your brand stand out. When you’re flirting with someone, you are selling what you can offer him/her. To a certain extent, we are all multi-level marketers, and the sales process begins and ends very quickly. An elevator pitch is important because it communicates the most important aspects your business and services within that short amount of time.

    First, you have to decide what exactly you want to communicate about yourself or your business. For a simple start, answer the following questions:

    1. What are your products/services?
    2. Who is your target market?
    3. How do you project the revenues?
    4. Who is behind this product?
    5. Who are your competitors?
    6. How do you differentiate your product/service?

    From here, we have simplified the “elevator pitch” to a formula almost anyone can use:
    “You know how (insert problem)? I (insert solution). This helps to (insert benefit).”

    For example, this is one way to simplify an effective elevator pitch for a marketing professional:

    “You know how small business owners have trouble communicating and selling what they do and figuring out how to grow their business and revenues? With 10 years of experience, I teach these business owners specific ways to market their product extensively and effectively. This helps them reach their expansion and sales goals.”

    This pitch is interesting because it streamlines and answers the question “What do I do?” while providing critical content on “how I can help”. Despite its short length, an effective pitch requires hours to mull, refine, and practice in front of the mirror. The more practice you put into it, the more confident you’ll be, and confidence is key to gaining the trust of future investors, prospects or employers.

    Elevator pitches are important, but you should always be prepared to go deeper into detail if the opportunity arises.

  • 13 Oct 2020

    The Jon Dwoskin Experience. Business Coach/Executive Advisor, Author and Speaker. I get clients unstuck and accelerate their growth.

    We’ve all heard the concept that “less is more.” I often agree that a smaller quantity may be the highest quality. But when it comes to branding, my mantra is “more is more” — as long as that means solid content that brings value.

    Re-think your mindset around building your brand.

    Everyone is always sizing us up, determining their opinion of us based on the image and brand we give off. If you treat a server at a restaurant poorly, that is your brand — not only to the server but to those you’re with. If you do something kind, that is your brand.

    In a nutshell, a brand is what people say about you when you walk out the door. Everything we do and say is our brand. Regardless of your industry, your brand must provide value and solid content. You want clients to view you as a trusted advisor, a thought leader, someone ahead of real time and someone who always gets them thinking by challenging the status quo and increasing their awareness.

    We often think about branding as something only Starbucks or other giant companies do. But the idea that branding is expensive or just for the conglomerates is completely wrong, especially with all the advantages of social media. With free access to a plethora of social platforms, you really can do it all, as long as you have courage and provide consistency.

     

    Some people worry they'll be bothering people by excessively posting on social media. I believe the exact opposite: Now is the time to double down on your content. If you don't have the writing strength or power, get some writers or editors. If you don't have ideas, reach out to people who can help you come up with some. Because you will get lost in the shuffle if you don't provide a ton of content. Be of service, be content-rich and give it all away so people view you as a value-added resource with knowledge and influence.

    My brand is about thinking big and getting people unstuck so they can get to the next level. I constantly tell people everything I can, what to do and how they can adjust my ideas for themselves. A lot of times people hold content to their chest and don't like to give it out. I take the reverse view, so I frequently blog and podcast about all aspects of business. It's a major part of my brand. My philosophy is to tell people what they can do and then offer my services to provide the customized how to do it.

    Build your group of ambassadors.

    Many of us get tied up with likes and followers and things of that nature, but that's not what branding is. Instead, it's attracting "brand ambassadors," people who do business with you and/or refer your business to others.

    The expectations of generating thousands upon thousands of likes, shares and page hits is really beside the point. Instead of worrying about "going viral," set measurable and meaningful goals, like, "Through this blog or series of tweets, I will generate five ambassadors who really love my work." When you get five ambassadors who sing your praises and refer others to your business, you've got quality. And when each of those five people tells just one person how great you are, you now have 10 ambassadors. When over the next three to six months each tells one person, that 10 goes to 20, and you start really growing your business.

    Determine how many ambassadors you need to double, triple or quadruple your business. And figure out how long it will take. Forget becoming an overnight sensation; it's much more realistic that reaching your growth goals will take a year, maybe two or three. Ask yourself, "What is my current brand? Where do I want my brand to be in one year? Two years? Ten years?" Set that time period, then reverse engineer the different levels of content you will distribute, targeting different people to build your ambassadors.

    Create an emotional connection.

    The goal is to create an emotional connection with your clients, no different than the emotional connection people have when buying a pair of Air Jordans or another hot commodity. Are clients calling you quickly and wanting to spend time with you? Do they rely on your insight and advice? A good brand creates excitement and gets clients thinking of you.

    Stay relevant and current. 

    A good brand stays relevant and that has never been more important than during our current time. Are you innovative? Are you sticking to your core values? Are you one of those companies that posts your principles up on the wall, but doesn't actually live them? That can be very evident during this COVID-19 crisis. If your company is not nurturing, believe me, your people are feeling it. And that will tarnish your brand.

    Manage your internal brand, too.

    It is important you also manage your internal brand. It's all about the Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated. Your internal team members are also your clients; be your best self around them so you inspire them to be their best selves. It's a chain reaction. Sometimes we forget that we have to manage the energy we bring into every meeting and interaction with our clients and colleagues.

    Stay consistent.

    Whatever you do to promote your brand, do it daily. Those who are consistent and authentic have more fun and grow their brands more quickly. Start small and build that branding organically and regularly. Often people think they simply don't have time for branding. But if you spend just five minutes a day planning, mapping out and developing your brand, it will grow. Nurture your brand and watch it thrive.

    Building a strong online brand starts when you prepare offline. Take time to develop your messaging and follow a consistent editorial calendar so you can build your brand, create ambassadors and grow your bottom line!