Launch safe and ethical promotions that generate sales and build your brand.
By now, you’ve heard about the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the globe. The disease has garnered a lot of media attention and has caused panic buying and market crashes. While no one knows for sure how long this will play out in the coming months, the high recovery rates and mild symptoms for the majority of those infected are promising signs that we will get through this crisis.
Government leaders and medical experts from around the world are asking citizens to stay at home and practice social distancing to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the disease. As a result, nearly everyone has experienced some type of fallout due to COVID-19. Depending on where you live, families in your area may have been ordered to shelter at home and many non-essential businesses have been ordered to temporarily shutter their doors. This means that some workers have already been laid off and others have been asked to work from home often at reduced hours.
If you have a direct sales business, you may find that you have more time to spend on your business. If you or a member of your household has experienced a layoff or other negative financial consequences as a result of the closures, you may also have an even greater need for the funds your business can generate. But you may also be at a bit of a loss as to how you should proceed with your marketing strategies. Indeed, these are tough times for everyone but there are still opportunities available for many businesses.
Depending on your business and the products you sell there are some special considerations that you should take into account before you proceed. Let’s take a look at what you need to know and do to become a smart and effective marketer during this difficult time.
Here’s what you should do:
Help Your Customers Stay At Home
With social distancing in effect, one of the best things you can do is provide your customers with a product or service that can be delivered to their homes. This is a great area to focus your efforts. Beef up your online offerings on your website, and promote them heavily through email and social media. Understand that many of your customers may have reduced or cut their discretionary spending, so look for ways to offer your products for less if at all possible. This is a great time to move clearance merchandise.
This is also the perfect time to utilize ZenSales’ carrier pick up feature, which is available on both the Growth and Executive subscriptions. With just 2-clicks, you can arrange to have your postal service worker pick up your outgoing packages right from your doorstep.
Encourage your customers to stay at home when you share these posts on your social media channels.
Host Live Updates And Virtual Parties Via Social Media Or Videoconferencing
Unfortunately, events like in-home parties or in-person sales calls are currently off-limits in most communities and should be avoided to help flatten the curve. But thanks to the power of the internet and social media you can still host these events online, and everyone can attend from the safety of their own home. Put together a fun fashion show or demo your products during a live update. Make it entertaining and use this opportunity to grow your business in new and exciting ways. Look into free tools like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts for simple video conferencing. You can also use FaceTime or Messenger for video calls, be sure to check with your clients first to determine which platform they prefer to use.
Become A Helpful Resource To Create Future Sales
Since many people may have more free time on their hands but limited financial resources, this is a great time to share knowledge with your customers. For instance, if you work with brands like LulaRoe, Senegence, Maverick the Collection, Chalk Couture, Color Street, or Paisley Reye you can put together a learning session on the latest make-up, manicure, home design, or fashion trends. If you work with Ring Bomb Party you can create a learning session on precious gems and the materials used in your jewelry. Java Mama reps can demonstrate fun coffee recipes and Pure Romance reps can show your customers how a little romance can help reduce stress during times like these. The possibilities are endless when you look for ways to educate your customers about the products you sell. Your goal is to simply create an individual, personalized value for your customers and use that to build a more solid relationship for future sales.
Now, let’s take a brief moment to talk about what you absolutely should not do.
Don’t Make Any False Claims
One of the key considerations you should take into account is the FCC rules regarding truthfulness in advertising. According to the FCC “… claims in advertisements must be truthful, cannot be deceptive or unfair, and must be evidence-based.” If you are marketing foods, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, and other health-related products, you should be extremely cautious about making any claims related to COVID-19 and its prevention and/or cure. The FCC requires all health-related advertising claims to have scientifically verified, solid proof. Since COVID-19 is a new and unknown virus, there are no scientifically-proven health claims that you can validly make concerning any type of product.
Although to most of us this seems like a no-brainer, a few well-known names have already made this mistake and are facing serious consequences as a result. When televangelist Jim Bakker began promoting his product, Silver Solution, as a coronavirus “remedy” in mid-February, he was consequently contacted by both the FCC and the FTC and given the order to “immediately cease making all such claims”. Rather than promoting questionable claims about your products, you could instead offer tips on how to avoid being infected by the virus by referencing the expert information from resources such as the CDC and WHO. This includes regular hand washing, avoiding touching the face with unwashed hands, and social distancing.
Don’t Prey On Fears
Marketers know that fear is one of the greatest motivators for human action, however, now is not the time to fan the flames for your own personal gain. While there is nothing wrong with plainly stating any bad consequences your product may help consumers avoid, as evidenced by recent surges in hoarding and panic buying, now is simply not the time to use any fear-mongering related to COVID-19 in your marketing. Before you begin a promotion, ask yourself if it provides value to your customers and also matches the values of your business.
In conclusion, with a little creativity and a little ingenuity, you can develop a marketing strategy that will help your business survive and thrive through the trials of this pandemic. Focus on being a helpful resource for your customers, and don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. If you don’t ask the answer is always no. Show clearly how your brand solves a problem or satisfies a need people have, especially those that are related to coping with the crisis. You may find that simply by working a little bit harder and a little bit smarter both you and your business will come out of this stronger than ever.
The ZenSales team is a remote team that works from home under normal circumstances. This means that the ZenSales platform will continue to run without interruption and we will be ready to provide support when you need it. We hope that you and your family stay safe during this difficult time.
Save and print this handy cheat sheet and get started on your marketing plan today!
How to Market Your Direct Sales Business During the COVID-19