Every Sunday morning, I call my 83-year old father in Iowa, ask him about his week and then it’s time … the leashes rattle, someone says the word “walk,” and our Sunday explodes.
Our mutts, Molly and Charlie, make sure we don’t have a leisurely stroll. They’re better than mailmen. Rain, shine or COVID-19, we’re headed out. Our route takes us through a shopping center of restaurants, tanning, nail, and hair salons to Starbucks® for a “Puppichino.”
March 15th was like every other Sunday. Molly and Charlie were pulling us along our route, and then we started to see the notices in the windows of the shops that provided personal services. “As directed by the County Department of Health …” you can guess the rest.
That was the last Sunday Starbucks trip we’ve taken. Since then, we’ve seen many more closure notices in shop windows and the United States is setting unemployment records. And, we’re still less than 30 days into this new normal.
What Can You Do?
This story isn’t my personal account of this global pandemic or how it will change everything for everyone. That isn’t news. What matters is what individuals and companies can do now to generate revenue.
If you’ve been a part of the Rainmaker ecosystem, you’ve already learned how technology and storytelling can fundamentally change the relationship between you and your customers to generate sustainable revenue. This is critical knowledge that would benefit any “brick” based business.
Over the past three weeks, clients have been reaching out and lamenting the impending death of their businesses; advertising budgets have been cancelled, projects postponed, and staff fired.
More than anything else, digital marketing provides businesses a fundamentally different way to think about the customer and how to generate revenue. No, you can’t have someone come in for a teeth cleaning, watch a concert, lie on a new mattress, or drop off a child for an art class. We’ve helped clients understand that what needs to die is the brick-only mindset for revenue generation.
What Does This Look Like?
Now is the time to leverage brand, customer loyalty, and technology to pivot brick-only models. Here are a couple of brief case studies …
1. A classroom-focused, children’s enrichment program serving over 200 elementary aged kids every week lost 100% of their revenue potential. A key to their success for over 10 years has been the interaction between the children, the staff, and the families.
- The pivot: We helped them bring that interaction online. They created a free daily video class with downloadable activity kits (and an option for premium projects for pickup / mailing). They started their effort with an email and social announcement.
- The result: In less than a week, they’ve nearly doubled their email opens, had a line of cars around the block for a packet pick up, sold out of the first two premium projects (100 units each), and have been featured online and in local media.
2. An automotive maintenance franchise client was being encouraged by their corporate HQ to market deeply discounted services and push coupons to stimulate activity. Everyone wants to get an oil change right now, right? Within the first week, open rates were down by over 50% and less than .1% of the coupons were being redeemed.
- The pivot: Rather than adding to their promotional content (remember the PII™ content mix model?), we helped them start sharing “Ask the Expert” and “How To” advice via email.
- The result: Open rates have been resurrected and customers are booking enough appointments (using key drop and vehicle pickup – premium solutions) that the business has been able to keep technicians that they thought they’d have to layoff.
Making The Move from Brick to Click
Many of us live in a highly (or even exclusively) digital world and don’t have issues using the “tools of the trade,” but don’t assume that everyone else does too. Here are some ideas to help your “brick” brethren find revenue even while the doors are closed …
- Encourage professional / personal services companies to share / sell their expertise via video conferencing. Teach them to differentiate themselves through subject matter authority.
- For retailers stuck with inventory (even if they sell online). Publish a spotlight offer, twice per week. Even if the offer doesn’t sell well, it will help keep the retailer top-of-mind and help customers know that the retailer is still an option for products that the audience wants.
- Everyone is connecting with family, friends and customers via video. (If you haven’t had a “quarantini” as a part of a Zoom Happy Hour, you’ve got to give it a try.) Encourage your venue businesses to use email and social to publicize a virtual concert, shared dinner party or even a game night using video conferencing. Include a tip jar for the artists or an offer for an exclusive session with the brand’s celebrity. Revenue my be modest but when brands engage, they confirm their authenticity with their audience.
One Last Thing …
While we hope you can help your clients, colleagues and friends understand the unique opportunities that exist right now, we are NOT recommending that clients try to grow their market share. Land grabs will be poorly received by the market and will be expensive and come off as completely tone deaf.
For now – maintain your base, build your story and engage your audience. Once you have a relationship with them, they become your greatest sales team and help you know when and how to grow.
And if you need some help navigating how to get that done, we’re always here for you, ready and willing to help.