The recent COVID diagnosis of President Trump, the First Lady, and a number of other White House staff should be a wake-up call to all of us. Don’t get cocky, and don’t get lazy. While it’s not as lethal as many of us feared in February and March, it’s still a very contagious virus.
So, it’s going to be a while before we can go pressing flesh in person like so many advisors have done for generations. Gone are the Chamber meet-and-greets and going door-to-door doing face-to-face prospecting with business owners.
But people still have financial needs, and we’ve got to find ways to reach them. Don’t get call shy! Now more than ever, people need to hear from us!
That means most of us need to be upgrading and modernizing our marketing approach in the Era of COVID.
1. Pick up the phone.
If you haven’t called your existing clients all summer, do it today. A lot of things have changed. Your business owner clients may be looking to sell their businesses – or buy a distressed business. Some may have a lot of questions about Paycheck Protection Program issues – especially if they have tipped employees or seasonal workers.
A lot of them will need some asset allocation adjustments to their portfolios.
And some will just want someone to vent to.
When you call them, be in listening mode. Let them tell you what’s on their minds. Don’t try to force a solution before you hear what the issues are. Or you’ll be perceived to be that salesperson with the hammer who thinks everything looks like a nail.
Listen carefully, and the opportunities will present themselves. And so will the chance to ask for and get referrals.
Don’t get shy. Call the people you’re most nervous about calling first!
2. Put a ‘FAQ’ page on your website.
“FAQ,” of course, stands for “frequently-asked questions”. You know what your clients and prospects are asking, because you’ve been talking to hundreds of them, right?
Make a list of the most common questions – the ones where you can add the most value and that let you set yourself apart from the competition. Add those questions and your answers to your website.
That’s the most basic level, of course. And lots of folks have FAQ pages.
But here’s the “Secret Sauce:” I want you to add headings that hit search terms directly. For example, nobody’s going to search for “ACME Advisor’s FAQ.” But here are some things people are searching for:
- “COVID tips for small businesses,”
- “What to do with PPP loans”
- “Do employees with coronavirus get workers’ comp”
- “Do employees qualify for unemployment,”
- “Who to hire back first.”
- “Can I screen employees’ temperature’
- “What to do if an employee gets sick”
- “Sick leave COVID”
- “Salary employees who work at home”
- “Tracking time for employees who work at home”
And hundreds more.
You don’t need hundreds. Just have enough to be a resource for small business owners, professionals and retired readers.
3. Get local!
For more search engine power, add in information specific to your state, county and city. That helps you capture the all-important local search traffic – and makes you that much more effective as a resource to a very important market: Your local small business owners.
For us little guys, it’s much easier to dominate a localized search term than a generalized one.
4. Contact successful businesses.
Yes, it’s been a very tough year for a lot of businesses. But some businesses models are thriving. They should be on your short list to contact.
Social distancing and shutdowns have brought a lot of change to the economy. Depending on where you live, that means opportunity, too.
Here are a number of business types and industries that have survived and thrived in the Time of COVID:
- Grocery stores
- Home office furniture vendors
- Tutoring and home school service providers
- Hardware stores and home improvement vendors
- Meal prep and delivery services
- Online retailers
- Commercial cleaning and sanitation providers
- Car detailers
- Wine and liquor stores
- Mortgage brokers
- Game shops and game sellers
- Gardening suppliers
- Pet services and product vendors
- Pizza delivery restaurants (and other restaurants with proven delivery success)
- Employee wellness vendors
Contact all these businesses. Let them know you’re a resource for them. Stop by and ask for the owner. Look up new business license information with your state or county.
5. Create a Zoom Workshop, Webinar or Podcast
People are hungry for information. Creating an online workshop on an in-demand topic is a great way to reach them, while establishing your own reputation as a subject matter expert.
COVID-related topics for small business owners is a great topic, but there are lots of others:
- Year-end tax planning strategies
- New Year, New You: How to make (and keep) your financial New Year’s resolutions
- Value investing
- How to invest for income in retirement
- What to do with your 401(k)
- Investing for the next crisis
- The market history of pandemics
- Small business retirement plans
- Wealth protection 101.
Don’t be shy about bringing in guest presenters. Make it easy to register and join on Zoom or another platform. Be organized and know your stuff. And make your presentation available on your website.
6. Give back to the community.
People are hurting. And not just financially. There’s been a lot of economic dislocation thanks to COVID. So there are a lot of people who need help. Don’t miss an opportunity to assume some leadership in the business community in this regard.
Financial services pros have an advantage when it comes to leading the way in charitable projects: We talk to people about their money all the time. We’re used to it. Unless you’re brand new, you already know people all over town.
So, get involved.
Work your local food bank. Better yet, organize a fundraiser for your local food bank, shelter, hospital or clinic, church or synagogue, or any other charity that serves a vital need in your community.
Pick one that won’t just appeal to you, but to hundreds of your clients and prospects and their contacts as well.
Put together a silent auction and have local businesses contribute prizes. Organize a charity run or bike ride. With today’s wearable fitness technology, you can even do a virtual fitness challenge.
It doesn’t matter what the event is, as long as it’s fun and couple-friendly. Have a plan, be organized, and get good people together. Amazing things will happen.