We’re in it now. The long months and days are blending together in a vast, seemingly unending river of anxiety, feelings of uselessness, loneliness, and stress. No one can predict the future. And our lives as we know them seem to be further and further from reach. Our businesses are in peril, and that’s heartbreaking.
So, how do we keep going? What can we salvage from this collective crisis?
I’m not going to give you a list of things to do to weather the storm, because each of us has a completely different set of obstacles to manage. Instead, I want to give you a framework of thought to consider as you approach designing your communications strategy for the next couple of months.
The Main Idea: Stop Selling. Start Connecting.
Traditional marketing strategies ring false right now.
I want to pull an example from something I read in my morning meditation time, here, because it’s powerful: “Delay has to be—sometimes. Your lives are so linked up with those of others, so bound by circumstances that to let your desire have instant fulfillment might in many cases cause another, as earnest prayer, to go unanswered.”
In secular thought, this also holds true. Carl Jung called it the “collective unconscious”—the idea that we hold collective assumptions and beliefs as a culture, that no change occurs in isolation from the whole.
So what does this mean for us, in the midst of a pandemic?
- Everyone has been affected, but no one is the same.
Don’t assume you know what your clients and customers are going through, or how they should handle it. Instead, keep an open mind and keep your communications empathetic. One of the best things you might think about implementing right now is to prioritize custom solutions over one-size-fits-all formulas. People sometimes just need someone to listen to the struggles they’re having when adapting to unexpected change, and you can do so much to help them just by putting away the rule books and seeing if you can solve the specific problem at hand with a little ingenuity and teamwork combined with your expertise.
- With everyone experiencing change, we need to adjust our communication strategies.
As you work on your communications strategy, keep in mind that some of us will never go back to the offices we worked in before the pandemic—if we even go back to the jobs we had. Your clients are navigating change and adapting. You can help by making sure your communications are as clear and simple as possible. Don’t make people jump through hoops. Many normal tasks and activities feel overwhelming right now.
Beyond that, you may feel overwhelmed. You may feel nervous and scared, because it’s hard to feel in control of your business like we did before. When we try to reach out with fear and control on our minds, we actually push people away. We need to take a breath, and keep connection in mind.
I’ve been keeping an excerpt from Anne Lamott’s book “Some Assembly Required” close during my business planning and writing time:
“I was reminded of the Four Immutable Laws of the Spirit: Whoever is present are the right people. Whenever it begins is the right time. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened. And when it’s over, it’s over.”
So, right now, give yourself permission to let it be and take a step back from controlling everything. Be available and see who comes to you. Be open to new moves and new things will begin to unfold. Be ready to change your plans and go with the flow. And, that leads me to my next thought…
- When we undergo a collective shift this massive—we’re bound to make mistakes. So give your fellow man a little grace.
The upside for your business, is you can use this time to figure out better ways to serve your clients and test out your processes for innovation. It’s a great time to do this because everyone is in an adjustment period. No one’s business is unaffected by these changes, so switching things up and using this time to change anything that wasn’t working at optimum levels before is a great way to make the most of it.
Your clients and customers will be more open to “beta-level” services. Your team is already in learning mode. Your vendors are probably adjusting and playing with processes. The whole world is in experimentation mode. So put on your googles and get some creativity going!
At the same time, be aware that you need to be open to others doing the same thing. Say yes when your coworkers want to try a new way to do something. Be open to collaborating on new workflows, or trying a new method of communication. Get on YouTube and try making videos, even if you’ve never done it before. Talk to a communications strategist like me to find ways to create organic content to reach new people instead of running traditional ads. Look for other ways to be creative and to break from tradition. You just might find a great new way to connect!
I hope this helps you over the next few weeks!
In the meantime, I have an opportunity for you, and a request for help:
The opportunity: I’m running a free 5-Day Challenge: “Your Voice, Your Brand”. In this email challenge, you’ll learn how to define and develop the voice of your business that connects with your real audience and showcases your brand as the unique solution they’re looking for in their lives. It starts on May 18! To enroll, fill out the form below.
My request: Let me know how you’d like to hear from me. Should I do some Facebook Lives or create some YouTube videos? Should I try a new social media channel? OR, are there topics you’d like me to cover that I haven’t talked about? Send me an email and let me know!