“How should I adjust my strategy during the Corona crisis? Should I cancel my launches, adjust them, double down on them, or stick with my original plan?”
I went over this question with all of my clients last week, and the answer was different for every single one of them, which surprised me.
You see, right now, the “online marketing gurus” seem to be split in two camps:
- One camp says “stop selling, now is not a good time to sell”
- The other says “now is the time to double down on your business”
Which one is right?
In my opinion, neither approach will work for everyone, neither puts your clients first, and both of these could hurt your business tremendously if executed incorrectly.
That’s why, in this article, I’ll break down how to put your clients first in this crisis and serve them as best as possible – and how to do it in the most authentic way possible.
First things first:
What you should do in your business right now largely depends on YOUR MARKET, not what everyone else around you is doing.
To see what I mean, let’s look at 4 different market examples:
- Some markets have exploded (for example: there’s more demand than ever for home workouts and gym equipment for your home gym than ever)
- Some markets were not affected (if you’re an online strength coach, your clients still want their workout plans, but they might want you to adjust them for home workouts)
- Some markets have crashed (for example: job interview coaching in certain industries sees a lot less demand as many job interviews are being cancelled)
- Some markets are uncertain (for example: if you teach guitar, some people might not think about playing guitar at all, while others might play it more to maintain their sanity – but it’s hard to know whether the market will crash, explode or stay the same)
By understanding that different markets react in different ways, you can see why the “cookie cutter” advice is bad:
- If you decide not to sell to a market that is exploding, you are missing out on the opportunity to serve your clients when they need you the most
- On the flip side, if you double down on selling to a market that is crashing, your sales will still be low, and many of your readers might start to resent you for being so opportunistic
That’s why you shouldn’t blindly follow either of the approaches, and instead develop an approach that is authentic, feels good to you, works in your market, and puts your clients first.
You can do that by following the guidelines I share in this article.
Guideline #1: Listen to your market
Before you do anything else (and if you do nothing else from this article)…
…take the time to immerse yourself in your market, talk to your readers and clients, and fully understand what they’re going through right now.
For example, if you’re an interview coach for people who want to get a job on Wall Street, you should find out:
- What’s happening in the industry (are companies still hiring? If yes, how? Have they delayed their interviews? To when? Are the interviews done remotely now? …)
- What are your customers going through? (are they all of a sudden out of a job interview? Do they need to prepare for a Skype interview? Do they have more time to prepare for their interviews now, or less?)
- How high on the food chain are you? (are they thinking more about what you teach, or less? Do they want to hear from you? If no, why not? If yes, what do they want to hear about?)
Just getting the answers to the above questions will help you see if now is a good time to sell (or not).
To get the answers, you can read all about it on the internet, but by FAR the best thing to do is to just…
You can just casually ask your existing clients how they’re doing, how they’re spending their time, if anything changed, and if there’s anything new they need help with (they’ll tell you!).
And, if you have an email list, you can send a simple email to your subscribers acknowledging their situation, and ask them how you can best be of service to them.
You can ask them what they’re going through, what they’d like the most help with right now, if any new challenges arose, and how they’d like you to support them.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to send a dedicated email, you can include these questions at the end of one of your emails to them (as a P.S. or a call to action).
Not only will they tell you what’s on their mind, they’ll love that you put them first (instead of just blindly doing what you think is best for them).
Guideline #2: Don’t be a predator
Whatever you do, for the love of god, please don’t turn into a hungry t-rex and go into an all-out sales mode, EVEN IF your market wants to work with you now more than ever.
Yes, you should absolutely create opportunities for people in your audience to work with you, BUT you shouldn’t just bombard EVERYONE in your audience with countless sales emails.
Have some empathy please.
While some people in your audience will love working with you now more than ever (for example, if you teach guitar, your readers might love taking the opportunity to level up their guitar skills so they can keep their sanity while in self-quarantine)…
…others are currently more stressed out and suffering than ever before (maybe they’re struggling financially, maybe they’re worried about the health of their parents/grandparents, or maybe they’re overwhelmed by having two kids running at home all the time).
The latter might be some of your biggest fans, and if you start aggressively selling to them right now, you’ll come off as an inconsiderate asshole, and lose their trust. You spent months or years building trust with your readers, so why would you throw it all away?
Right now, chances are that your audience is more polarized than ever.
Some might crave your help more than ever before, while others are focusing on other parts of their lives (and that’s fine!).
Acknowledge that, and again, don’t bombard your audience with one sales campaign after another.
Guideline #3: Create opportunities to work with you
As I hinted as few times already, a part of your audience will likely be more eager to work with you than ever before (how big that part of your audience is depends largely on your industry).
- I’m glad that I have an opportunity to work with my cartooning coach, as I can spend a lot more time practicing my doodles with all the extra time on my hands
- Some people will be happy to use the extra time on their hands to double down on building their online business
- Others might want to learn how to productively work from home (as they’ve never experienced this before)
- There is more demand than ever for home workout plans, learning how to build your own climbing wall at home, or for home workout equipment
Just because many people out there aren’t looking to invest in an online course / coach / product right now, it doesn’t mean that you should ignore the people who would love to work with you.
So give these people the opportunity to buy from you, by mentioning that you’re taking 1on1 clients, that you have courses that they can join, etc. – the readers and clients in need will thank you for it.
If you don’t do this, they’ll find their solution somewhere else (as their pain won’t magically go away), and it would suck if they didn’t get to work with you.
Guideline #4: Sell softly
In many cases, the readers that are looking to work with you are looking for a solution NOW, so you don’t need to walk them through a long, intense sales process in order for them to buy from you.
You don’t need to create the extra urgency, or “sell them” on why they need this right now (it can really rub people the wrong way if you try to convince them into doing something that they really don’t want right now).
The right people already feel the urgency and the desire themselves.
So if you do launch, avoid hard-selling at all costs, and make your launches softer.
Here are a few ways for doing that:
- Send less “final reminder” emails on the last day of the launch
- Remove “close” emails from your launches where you try to move your audience over the line
- Send less sales emails (and more value emails)
- Make sure there’s something valuable in each of your emails (even for non-buyers)
- Make your sales emails lighter and less salesy. Don’t beat your readers over the head with the fact that your program closes on Friday, and instead extend a casual invitation to work with you
- Give people an option to “opt out” of your sales emails (you can include this at the end of your sales emails)
- Adjust your tone to be more casual and inviting, rather than urgent and persuasive
If you can think of a way to sell softer right now, do it. Even if your launch conversions suffer because of it, at least you’ll keep your integrity and the trust of both buyers and non-buyers (who will be happy to work with you once the time is right for them).
Guideline #5: Add massive value to your readers
You can easily go wrong by selling too hard.
But you can never go wrong by adding too much value to your audience.
And now is the perfect time to do just that. Adding massive value to your audience will help you:
- Serve your readers as best as you can
- Help them solve problems you’ve never helped them solve before
- Spread the word about your good work, and attract new readers to your business
You can do that in a number of different ways (pick one that excites you the most):
- Write an Ultimate Guide (or a similar piece of epic content)
- Write a series of blog posts / create a series of videos
- Host daily or weekly “office hours” or Q&A calls
- Answer more of your questions from your readers
- Test out the crazy content ideas that you thought of in the past, but never executed on
Focus on adding the most value to your audience when they need you most, without expecting anything in return.
It’s the right thing to do, and can only help your online business in the long run.
That’s why you do what you do anyway, isn’t it?
Guideline #6: Solve crisis-specific problems
As you talk to your audience, ask them what new problems they are going through that they didn’t experience before (and then give them solutions to solve them).
For example, since I’ve started 100% working from home, I noticed that:
- I need to adjust my work routine and breaks
- It’s harder for me to get a solid workout in without buying a ton of workout equipment (especially since the neighbors below me can hear everything I do in my apartment)
- I feel more anxious than I did before
- I need to plan ahead better in order to eat healthy (as I was used to eating a healthy lunch at the cafe I worked from)
- I had to adjust my hobbies and weekend activities, as rock-climbing, going to museums, taking a trip to Amsterdam, etc. is out of the question
Just like me, chances are your clients are experiencing new problems they never experienced before.
Maybe they have their job interviews through Skype, and they’re not sure how to prepare for them.
Maybe they can’t play their drums at home, because their neighbors can hear everything and they get angry at them.
Maybe it’s something completely different.
Listen to your readers. Find new problems that need solving. Help them out by adding massive value to them.
What about you? How are you adjusting your business strategy to the Coronavirus crisis?