The 4 P’s You Need for Your Business Messaging During the Coronavirus

(prefer video over text? click here to watch the Facebook Live instead)

“So … how in the world do I talk about my business during a pandemic?”

I know you’re thinking it, because I’m thinking it.  I’ve been wrestling with this all week, and I get freakin’ PAID to write.

If you want a peek under my skull, here’s my brain in bullet points this past week:

  • Can I still be a good human right now if I keep talking about and promoting my business?  
  • Should I completely ignore it and not mention the coronavirus at all in my messaging?
  • … But it’s all everyone is thinking about, and feels like it’d be inauthentic to say nothing about it …
  • Is there a way I can talk about the coronavirus that is appropriate and helpful, instead of icky or exploitive?

You get the gist.

After a lot of listening, reading, and newsfeed scrolling, here’s what I’ve learned in a nutshell:

Everyone needs good reliable help more than ever, and they need to know where to find it.

You can still be a good human right now and talk about your business.  So here are my suggestions on what to keep doing, and what to shift a little bit.

BE PERSISTENT

Don’t stop talking about your business – keep showing up.

Think about it – we’re in a world right now where everything is changing and feels unreliable.  (We can’t even find TOILET PAPER when we need it). Psychologically and practically, people need and crave reliability and consistency more than ever.  So keep showing up for them.

Be a rock for your clients.  Keep telling your clients that you’re here and you’re ready to help.  Ask them what they need from you right now.

Their world has changed, but they still need you and what you’re good at.

So feel free to keep talking about it consistently … but you may need to shift your messaging a little.

PIVOT TO MEET CURRENT NEEDS

The heart of effective messaging for your business stems from knowing your clients well, and talking to them about what THEY want and need.  And overnight their needs and wants have changed.

The immediate and short-term needs of your clients, and how they relate to your business, have either shifted or changed dramatically.  And you need to talk to them, and serve them, in this new place they’re in right now. Think of the following types of companies:

  • Restaurants
  • Travel agencies
  • Daycares
  • Retail stores

Yesterday they may have been interested in getting your bookkeeping help to achieve more growth and wealth; today, they’re just trying to make sure they’ll be able to open their doors again after the virus has passed.

So take some time to figure out the specifics of what your clients going through right now: research articles about their industries, look at their websites and social media feeds, or just call them and ask.  What are their immediate and short-term needs? Where are they really hurting right now?

This week I’ve seen other online entrepreneurs handle this brilliantly:

  • A business coach extended the window of acceptance for her course about how to build a business online
  • A speaking coach who helps her clients get on stage at live events (which of course are non-existent now) starting talking about how to host and sell online summits
  • And a dog trainer coach held a last-minute online workshop titled “How to Run Virtual Dog Training Lessons your Clients will Love”

All three of these are exceptional colleagues of mine I learn from every day.

And I know for a fact that the last one just had her most profitable month to date because she pivoted so perfectly to serve the current needs of her clients.  

Again, YOU ARE NEEDED – but you may need to speak a little differently, and offer something a little different.

BE POSITIVE

What do Microsoft, Dell, and L’Oreal all have in common?  

They’ve charitably donated millions of dollars to help with the crisis.  

Right now, as a business, it is important to be kind, generous, and helpful.

It doesn’t have to be millions of dollars, just do something within your power or skill set to help without any expectation of sales or return.

  • The dining room for your favorite restaurant is closed? Tag them in a Facebook post and share their carry-out phone number
  • The neighborhood yoga studio is now offering digital classes online?  Share their website and tell your friends about it
  • Heard about a place where parents can find free online curriculum while their kids are home?  Share the link
  • Come across some good news about the coronavirus, like a video of quarantined Italians singing together from their balconies?  Share the video

And if one of these businesses in need is your clients – even better.  Support them, go to bat for them, even if it’s not related to what your business usually does.  

But there are things you can do right now also within your specialty.  Give something away, or do something extra:

  • A-list musicians are streaming free concerts, after shows were cancelled, from their home studios (including John Legend, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and an Israeli artist I love named Idan Raichel)
  • Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins are giving away some of their training videos that they usually reserve for high-dollar paid courses
  • Countless fitness and yoga apps are offering free access for the month of March to help keep people active while they’re stuck inside

The list goes on and on.

What’s something you can do or give, related to your business, that can help people right now?  (For example, since I’m a content marketer, I made a document filled with quick tips and fill-in-the-blank social media posts to help businesses with their messaging and content right now) 

Honestly, people will remember for a long time how you, and your business, acted and helped during this time.  What do you want to be known for?

BE PERSONAL

I’ve looked at HUNDREDS of bookkeeping Facebook pages, and there are two things I know to be true:

  • I know that +90% of bookkeepers don’t like to show their face or talk about anything personal in their posts
  • And I know that the rare personal posts on bookkeeper pages are MASSIVELY more likely to get comments, and therefore build relationships.

I’m not saying that every post should be a selfie or a picture of your kid’s first day of school, but more than ever we’re craving human connection and relationships with good people we trust.

So please, just show your face, and be honest, authentic, and a little bit vulnerable about how your life is affected by the coronavirus, too.

(Also, did you know that pictures with human faces are 38% more likely to receive likes, and 32% more likely to receive comments?)

I hope this content helps a bit – keep at it, friends, and stay safe and healthy!

(Still not sure what to post after all that?  Here’s a link to a document that includes 5 pre-made fill-in-the-blank social media posts you can use and personalize to talk about the coronavirus)

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