Shake-ups in the Status Quo Force Innovation.
This isn’t a motivational article; you will find proven, proactive steps that will allow your business to continue moving forward and place you on a springboard once this pandemic passes. The universe moves in waves — you must be prepared for the downturns and set up to optimize your success during the upturns. The best way to do that is by deploying a strategic, creative growth plan while the rest of the world sits back and waits. These strategies work for any service-driven business, even for many product-based businesses.
Most people are paralyzed by their sudden unfamiliar circumstances and will continue to be so, as we learn to navigate uncharted waters. By following these steps and deploying this plan, you can control your circumstances and be miles ahead of those who choose to quarantine with Netflix. Here’s how:
1. Audit your external-facing business assets and your marketing message
Visit your website and walk through your user experience. This is a terrific time to enhance your assets, which always begins with your pitch. Have you been “winging it” when people ask you what you do? Do you use phrases like “I wear a lot of hats” or “I work with anyone who or everyone who …”? These are signs of a weak business pitch. Being a generalist (meaning that you claim to work with anyone or everyone) is dated. Find your niche, and speak to that group.
Here are a couple more of my articles to help you refine your pitch:
- A Perfect Pitch, Delivered with Authenticity, Can Change the World
- Effective Networking at Holiday Business Socials
- Can Your Pitch Captivate Your Audience?
Action step: set up a remote focus group of committed business owners who agree to hot seat each other’s websites and business pitches via video conference. Be open to all critiques and simply say thank you for any feedback; then actually take that feedback to heart, and implement it. An honest, outside perspective (or several) will help you clarify your messaging and improve your user experience.
2. Create more content than you consume
Don’t use this time to binge-watch (consume) streaming TV shows. Instead, use this time to create massive amounts of content for your business. Each piece of content that you create is a business asset. Companies with more assets are worth more than their counterparts. Create products for your prospects to watch, see, listen to, or do. That will engage your audience and provide them with meaningful value. Suggestions:
- Content for your community to Watch:
- Educational videos – give away your best thinking!
- Instructional videos that show before/after results.
- Vlogs. Videos create the most engagement, so opt for video over static images or stand-alone audio content whenever possible.
- Content for your community to Read:
- A blog with your unique perspective on a topical story.
- A white paper that shares your industry expertise.
- Write that book you claim you: “should write.” It isn’t a coincidence that the root of “authority” is “author.”
- Content for your community to Listen to:
- Time to start that podcast you have been putting off because it requires valuable time to research! Go. Research. You have time now.
- If you’re already a published author, congratulations! Now, create an audio version and open your book content to a new audience who prefers to listen rather than read.
- Content for your community to Do:
- Create a quiz for your prospects to take once they reach your website. Your quiz should be specific to the services you provide — and the problems you solve — in your unique way. The questions should re-frame the quiz taker’s thoughts about how they prioritize the services you provide as it pertains to their circumstances. This is a terrific way to engage your perfect prospects and deter the “tire kickers” who aren’t ready to commit but want information for the future.
- Create a 5-step to-do list (like this one) that will set you up as an expert and show your prospects that it would be easier to reach out to you rather than try to DIY.
3. Follow and engage with your favorite business influencers online
Make a list of what you love about their content and start implementing those strategies with your content. Beyond that, engage with the influencer and their followers by liking and commenting on their posts and joining online conversations. Then you will become an integral part of their circle of influence, too — as long as you share your unique and valuable insights with the influencer’s community. Here is one of my favorite business influencers and visionaries out of Australia who also creates a ton of excellent content. He’s a good one to study for strategy, and his business insights are executable, too.
Another influencer who is not only a digital content master but a trendsetter in the sports industry:
As you gather content assets, don’t release them all at once. Put together a content calendar and share your new assets regularly. Please share how you are implementing these strategies, and let us know of other influencers creating exciting content, too! We have so much to learn from one another. As we practice social distancing, perhaps we can utilize social media in the way it should be intended: to connect us to improve our society.