Are you one of the thousands of entrepreneurs starting a new business this year in the middle of the COVID-19 global pandemic?
According to the U.S. Census, Michigan alone has more than 4,000 new businesses starting every week. That’s a record number during an unlikely time to dive into entrepreneurship and the trend is mirrored throughout the United States. As people are laid off from traditional jobs, furloughed or working from home, many people have taken advantage of the opportunity to take the plunge and start a business.
If this is you, congrats on starting your own business.
Now, it’s time to buckle down and focus on your branding and messaging so that customers will put their trust in you. Your biggest challenge with a new business in the pandemic-era is creating appropriate messaging and positioning your company to stand out against your competitors. Whether you are building a website to incorporate safety protocols, engaging with potential customers on social media or creating videos or commercials for various media channels, what you say and how you say it is crucial right now and it will likely be the determining factor for your customers and revenue.
Here are some basic steps on where to start:
Do some soul searching
Coming up with a business idea is easy but executing it takes time and effort with a solid marketing strategy. The COVID-19 crisis has thrown an extra hurdle into the mix with companies now having to gain the trust of customers before they can sell them goods or services. Customers now scrutinize every detail of the places they conduct business. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time or not being attentive to the details of your operation will close your doors before you even open.
This is the time to put yourself in the shoes of the customer who is buying your product or service. What are their natural apprehensions? Perceived threats? The financial considerations that will go into their spending decisions? Taking the time to understand the nuisances of the pandemic-era customer will help you figure out how to position yourself and your business publicly and in your marketing efforts.
Craft your messaging
The messaging on your website, social media and your public rhetoric should reflect your perspective of the crisis and how your customers are using your product or service at this time. Gaining trust is your number one objective in the messaging to your customers and clients by assuring them that their health, safety and money are important to you. Align yourself with the customer putting their concerns at the forefront of your messaging with details on how you are responding and how your company can help them during this time and in the future.
Keep your finger on the COVID-19 pulse
Just as there have been many phases of the pandemic and various ways that the fallout has effected people’s lives, the concerns of the day will continue to evolve for some time. Your messaging needs to follow suit so that customers are confident that you are staying abreast of the current situation.
Each new phase could impact the way customers use or look for what you offer and you want to be ready to respond appropriately. As things open and close and public health requirements change, customers should hear from you through your website, social media, email marketing and in the broadcast media if applicable. Your evolving messaging builds trust and reinforces your concern for their well-being.
This is not a time to offer static messages of concern, and by all means, don’t use the cliché “we are all in this together.” Be transparent and honest about how the pandemic has impacted you too and offer confidence that you are ready to support their needs. Offer your potential customers more than trite words. Customers need emotional support at this time. They will reward you with their loyalty.
New businesses have much to navigate right now, and it is evolving daily. As an entrepreneur it is more important than ever to have your messaging and public positioning on-point and at the ready to change along with the phases of the pandemic.
Don’t know where to start? Whether you just need some consulting to get you going or are looking for someone to manage your messaging completely, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to help you position your new business and messaging during these unprecedented times.