The biggest lesson to be learn from lockdown – that communication has a defining role in business strategy and survival.
Over the past few weeks I’ve met with fellow business owners and they’re all saying the same thing: their businesses are still being impacted by a lack of the organic revenue streams they would usually have. It’s often the case for freelancers and some SME businesses to find their clients predominantly through word of mouth referrals. However, with us all collectively tightening our belts, and larger companies limiting their budgets for outsourcing to freelancers and other organisations, there’s never been a more pertinent time to find ways to engage and reconnect with your target audience.
It’s been a long year for all of us, but with schools back in full swing and industries adapting and opening back up again, now is a good time to get in touch with your existing client base. Whether that’s dropping them a personal email to check in on them, or refreshing your email marketing content, re-engaging with past customers may bring new opportunities for your business.
If your workload is still feeling a little light these days, why not take this opportunity to evaluate your online presence? You can see where improvements can be made to your website and social media channels. It’s also always worthwhile using any extra time you have to build up a selection of content to share online via your site and social media. Communicating your knowledge and experience is an aspect of PR that I always encourage my clients to prioritise. Writing articles to showcase your expertise, and use case studies to demonstrate what you can achieve for your clients should be at the forefront of your communications strategy.
Reconnect with your network of business owners and see if there are any ways you can support each other. Create partnership opportunities online and feature on each other’s social media channels or blogs. After all, linking articles and content back to your website is great for SEO. Plus building links with other businesses that complement your own, is not only a good source of referrals for your own organisation, but it can foster accountability through you supporting and encouraging each others’ communication efforts.
Whilst networking in-person is restricted to small groups, there are plenty of opportunities online to engage with other business professionals. Many social media channels provide a space for industry professionals to connect with each other. Industry associations are also a great source for building a network, with many running online events too. Alternatively, why not take this time to create your own online networking group? Build a platform to engage directly with your target audience.
Media coverage is also a great way to build brand awareness with your target audience. What news can you share? Reaching out to local or national media outlets with newsworthy information can help bring attention to you and your business. Connecting with the media, both trade and consumer, is integral to a good communications strategy as it also brings with it opportunities of being contacted as an expert in your field for future news stories or features.
Like with most of 2020, the key theme here is diversification. Evaluate your current communication strategy, and see what else you can do. There are so many channels of communication available to you, why not try something new? Experiment with email marketing, get creative with your social media content, or present a podcast. Now is the time to mix it up a little.
Sometimes, when we’re faced with uncertainty, it can be hard to find motivation to keep pursuing our dreams and building our businesses. But it’s in times of adversity that we should persevere and push on. After all, you can’t fail if you never give up. So, if this year has been particularly tough on you and your business, don’t give up; it’s always darkest before the dawn.
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