Silence is deadly for your business.
I learned this the hard way when I was getting started in my own business. I was just a few months into my business and I was seeing success for the first time. I had my best month ever and I was flying high! And then I had my worst month ever.
I had a business coach at the time and on our group coaching call, I asked her why she thought I’d seen this huge swing. She asked me, “How much marketing were you doing during your best month ever?”
Embarrassed, I stammered, “Uh…. a little… I mean… None.”
She nodded sagely. It was pretty much cause and effect: I got busy delivering the work during my best month ever and neglected my marketing — but when I turned off the marketing machine, there were no new leads or clients coming in, and because I was so new, it turned into my worst month ever.
Is now the time for marketing…?
As I write this, the world is turned upside down. We’re all sheltering in place to try to save lives from COVID-19. Businesses are closing, furloughing, shutting down for good left, right, and center.
It’s anxiety-inducing, to say the least.
I’ve seen LOTS of advice that it’s OK to keep selling right now, that it’s important, even, to keep the economy moving. I’ve also seen people trying to shame business owners for trying to sell things right now and “take advantage” of the situation.
I’ve seen companies whose marketing messages are spot on and striking exactly the right tone for the times. And I’ve seen marketing messages that were so tone deaf as to be astonishing.
(My mother got a text message from a funeral home advertising end of life planning at a discount for seniors — so tasteless as to border on offensive!)
Not to mention the fact that many of us are trying to figure out new living and working situations, trying to navigate “distance learning” with our children, trying not to go stir-crazy being at home all the time.
Our brains literally do not know how to cope with all these massive changes all at once, not to mention the anxiety around the global situation.
The result of all this is that I think a lot of people are struggling to make marketing their business a priority. And hey, I understand that feeling completely. Marketing feels like a vitamin in a world that’s demanding pain killers. It feels like a “nice to have” in a time when we’re struggling to get our basic needs met. But here’s what I know for sure:
If you intend for your business to be here on the other side of this, you must not stop marketing.
Think back to my little parable above about the best month ever and the worst month ever… Now multiply that by 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months…
However long the pandemic crisis itself lasts, the economic effects will last much longer. But they will eventually end. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, we just don’t know how long the tunnel is.
Whether you’re making any sales today or not, whether this is shaping up to be your best month ever or your worst month ever, I urge you not to go silent with your marketing.
Regardless of how your sales look right now, your sales tomorrow depend on your marketing efforts today.
They depend on you staying top of mind with your audience so that when they are ready to invest, you are the first person they think of.
They depend on you building that know, like, and trust factor so that your audience can’t wait for your next launch.
They depend on you proving that you’re one of the “good guys,” someone your audience can look up to now and in the future.
They depend on you proving that your product or service is useful and desirable — now and/or in the future.
If you’re worried about what to say, or worried about saying the wrong thing, my advice to you is this: Be human. Be yourself. Be vulnerable if you need to.
Tell the truth. Say what’s on your mind. Speak from your heart.
Don’t try to “take advantage” of the situation, try to see how you can serve (yes, even if you have a luxury product or service).
And if you can’t deliver your product or service right now, keep talking. Keep showing up. Keep relating and being useful. Your customers and your business will thank you for it at the other end of the tunnel.