I was on Twitter earlier today and as I scanned through the feed, tweet after tweet were about the rise in covid cases, the “second wave,” and reminders to wear your mask and get tested. Almost a year later, the pandemic is still here and we are entering a winter of isolation and virtual communication.
I’m not writing this to alert you to the obvious or add to your stress. I’m writing this to remind you that we are all going through the same thing. You own a business and you’re selling products or services to someone. Well, that someone you're selling to is an employee and they are also a person managing work and life and family just like you.
As a marketing strategist, I’m continually thinking of ways to connect with customers. How do we get them to notice our product? Where are they searching and how can we be there? But the most important question, especially now, is how can we put ourselves in their shoes? It’s so easy to get caught up in numbers - our quotas, the pipeline, the leads, the conversion rates. And believe me, I love looking at this data. But we can’t let that get in the way of humanity. Take a look at your webpage, your emails, your product offerings. They should acknowledge what we are all going through.
This doesn’t mean you should be smearing overused phrases like “during these uncertain times” over everything. It could mean that you:
Highlight how your products help people working and learning remotely.
Start your emails with a sentence that shows your support and awareness of what their days are like.
Put more time than usual between sending emails to prospects.
Avoid insensitive promotions like offering a “coronavirus discount.” (I didn’t make that up. A company actually did promote that.)
Marketing and selling to the education industry is particularly challenging right now. Between remote and hybrid learning, budget cuts, and a microscope on testing and cases in school districts and universities, educators at all levels are being stretched beyond their typical role of teacher, professor, administrator. They are now entertainers, technology specialists, and health and safety authorities. A recent article by educator Christina Berke, depicts it well:
“I’m still figuring out how to connect with my students these days, despite the multiple platforms and devices on which to virtually connect. To connect on a deeper, more meaningful level, for me, has always happened in the spaces in between lessons, in searching for common ground like a shared favorite TV show.”
This is so incredibly true for students and educators. This is also true for business owners and customers. And true of family and friends. We’re all missing connection.
So next time you create a sales promotion or marketing email, please take a step back for a moment and think about what the people you are reaching out to are going through. Remember that they are not a data point. They are people like you. As a marketer and as a person, it’s in your best interest to make sure you’re recognizing what they are experiencing as we continue to move forward in this pandemic.