Business owners around the globe are deeply concerned about the current economic outlook, and justifiably so. It goes without saying it will take months if not years for the economy to return to the full-blown bustle it was before. With so many organizations running on skeleton crews or being shuttered completely, the vast majority of business owners now share a very tangible concern about having the revenue to stay in business. Consumers are spending less and are now fully occupied in caring for their loved ones. With all this in mind, I'm going to share how to be relevant to customers during a black swan event.
Over the past two months, my inbox has been flooded with dozens of emails from banks, payment processors, software companies... you name it. Nearly every business I've transacted with over the past year has taken it upon themselves to let me know that "they're doing okay". Now don't get me wrong—this is wonderfully positive news in an otherwise bleak economic reality, but it isn't relevant to me personally. That is, not unless I plan on contacting my bank tomorrow to resolve a complex issue (though I imagine the vast majority of their customers are not).
So, How to Be Relevant to Customers During a Black Swan Event?
First and foremost, I recommend against sending out generic, "cookie-cutter" email campaigns about Covid-19 and your capacity to conduct business. I'm not saying it's irrelevant to let your customers know it's business-as-usual for you. But I am saying you must use extraordinary creativity when writing content to be relevant to your customers right now. You can add this additional value to your emails and social media posts in the form of helpful links or resources that your customers might want to know about—more now than ever. This is your chance to build your brand's authority and mind-share by serving up exceptionally meaningful content. Here are some examples:
- Own a restaurant? Post a video showing how to make one of your most popular appetizers at home. Patrons can enjoy your cuisine while under lock down and will be eager to reciprocate your generosity when it's time to dine out again.
- Run a travel blog? Share links with your readers on how to get refunds from cancelled bookings. Are there any statements about refunds from your government's Tourism Department? Dig up the latest info for them as you would a good friend.
- Own a house cleaning business? Post some (medically supported) life hacks to clean or disinfect homes more easily & practically. Compile a list of the most clever ideas you loved or that Grandma showed you as a kid. Invest 30 minutes in some written content and touch someone's heart—a very impressive ROI.
Making your content relevant during a black swan event means making it personal and heartfelt. Businesses say they care about their customers so often that it's become a cliche rather than anything special. As a business owner right now, you should avoid those cliches and focus on what it means exactly to be authentic. After all, you're a human being typing up content to help another person out there. The person who reads your content carries the same concern for their loved ones and financial survival that you do. Being vulnerable towards your customers—and not financially speaking—shows that you care more than a corporate mission statement ever could.
On that note, I pray that you are safe, healthy, and filled with joy from things that matter. Please reach out if there's anything realistic that can be done to accommodate you as we get through this pandemic.
Justin A. Ponce
Cyberia Technologies, LLC