Updated: Jul 22
Can 2020 just end already?
I mean, that’s what you’ve been thinking, right? It’s what we’ve all been thinking.
Just when we assumed things couldn’t get worse...they did. And, while the hope is that all of us emerge stronger and better in the long run, today, we gotta focus on some short-term goals.
Specifically - the short-term goals of your customers.
There’s a really great, scientifically-based article by the New York Times that says:
Research on the effects of epidemics and sieges, along with the emerging body of knowledge about the coronavirus, hint at what the coming months may look like.
Our ability to focus, to feel comfortable around others, even to think more than a few days into the future, may diminish — with lasting consequences.
The article went on to say:
Travel, business opportunities, even relationships might grow more opportunistic and short-term.
Bottom line...your customers are in survival mode. Long term goals are on pause. 5 year plans have been thrown out the window.
Until your customers’ basic needs (food, shelter, employment) are met and “secure”, the best resources you can offer are ones that produce short-term benefits or gains.
As you create content (or deliver your existing content), keep these suggestions in mind:
Put the Onus Back On Your Customers
In a National Geographic article on situational anxiety, Karestan Koenen, a professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said this:
When you’re seeing extreme responses, it’s because people feel like their survival is threatened and they need to do something to feel like they’re in control.
Empower your customers. Challenge them. Make sure they take an active role in their own transformation or education. The more “control” you offer, the easier it is for them to break through the extreme levels of anxiety we’re all currently experiencing.
Add Some Accountability
When most business owners think about membership sites, they think content. Videos, templates, pdfs, etc. But creating mountains of content can lead to overwhelm. For you and your customers. Sometimes, what your customers need most is focus and to be pointed in the right direction.
If you haven’t done so already, consider creating an accountability system as part of your membership. Assigning “homework” or creating a checklist for your customers to complete will help squash the feeling of being lost.
And when you’re a CustomerHub member, you have access to bi-directional file sharing. Making it easy for your customers to share their completed “homework” with you.
Encourage Self Assessment
Whether in a school setting, work setting, or personal setting, self-assessments are powerful tools for helping people progress.
Stanford University’s website offers an overview of self-assessments, saying, “This process helps students stay involved and motivated.”
While you’re undoubtedly providing your customers with excellent content, if you want to retain those customers through the pandemic, they’ll need to remind themselves where they fall short and why they seek your expertise.
Self assessments can come in the form of a personality test, a rubric, a self-graded test, reflection logs, or even one-on-one calls with you.
The 5 Day Challenge Facelift
One of the things we’ve noted during quarantine is the reemergence of the 5-Day Challenge. By the end of 2019, 5-Day Challenges had all but lost their novelty. Many of us had committed to “getting rock hard abs in just 5 days” or “generating our next 20 leads (and first sale) in less than a week!” And we’d pretty much given up on them.
When we suddenly found ourselves with unexpected time on our hands, challenges bounced back. In all kinds of forms, too. We’ve seen 3-day challenges. We’ve seen “daily post” challenges. The 30-day challenge that fitness industries love? Yeah, those are back with a vengeance.
I got an email about online challenges just this morning:
Challenges are working again. Because people have more time. And right now, they’re willing to push themselves to experience a sense of accomplishment. Something that’s been noticeably absent as we social distance.
If you can create a meaningful challenge (that produces results in as little as 3 or 5 days), your perceived value to your customers will increase.
Ramp Up The Community Engagement
If you saw our last blog post, then you read this quote from Sifted:
So now, as we face the biggest global crisis since the Second World War, maintaining relationships with your customers is more important than ever.
While it may seem like things are headed “back to normal”, we can expect several years to pass before trust is restored, the economy is growing, and the craving for social connection is satisfied.
Short-term...you’ve got to be the point of social connection. More than ever before.
Perhaps “before” you simply had a private Facebook group for your customers. Which is one of the better ways to connect. But is there more you can do to enhance community involvement? At least temporarily?
You might try:
Getting your customers to post video introductions of themselves
Creating non-industry related connection games (like a PG version of “Never Have I Ever) with your community
Frequently posting polls for your community (especially polls related to the type of content they’d like to see)
Highlighting your customers DIY projects or quarantine accomplishments as part of your newsletter or a PS in your emails
While these suggestions might feel like their coming on the tail end of the COVID 19 crisis, the long term effects will be...well...long term.
Offering more community support, even if it’s only done short-term, will help you retain more of your customers over the next few months.
Prove Your Membership Site is Worth the Expense
As you know, budgets are incredibly tight right now. Your customers are continually assessing which bills are worth paying and which expenses can be cut. By keeping the focus on short-term wins, you’re a lot more likely to avoid the chopping block.
Get Feedback and Pivot
Okay, if you haven’t done this one already, and you’re still meeting your monthly numbers, then you’re one of the lucky ones.
For the rest of us, “re-opening” is more than a specific day when brick and mortar stores can open their doors again. “Reopening” needs to become the new mindset of all business owners.
What does it take to get our customers back?
How can we serve them best once they are back?
What do they need from us right now?
Communicate often to find out what your customers need most from you. Regularly take polls or jump on the phone and ask them directly.
The email doesn’t need to be complicated. Something like this will do:
Hey Friend, It’s a new month. And given our experiences with 2020, that likely means new challenges. We’ve talked to a few of our members, and these are the most immediate concerns they’ve shared: - [CONCERN #1] - [CONCERN #2] - [CONCERN #3] Have you found yourself dealing with the same things? Or have other issues popped up that we may be able to help with? -
At that point, ask your customers to take a survey or even reply to your email. But again, keep the focus on the immediate needs of your customers. Solve those first. You can create more long term solutions later.
Share Testimonials and Case Studies Frequently
How many of us are motivated by the idea that “If she/he can do it, I can do it.” Most of us, right? Or at least a good percentage of us. We need to see other people succeeding to know it’s a reality we too can achieve.
If you’ve had your membership site for a while, you have tons of testimonials. You have tons of case studies. You have solid proof that what you’re offering and teaching is making a difference in people’s lives.
But our guess is...you haven’t collected testimonials and case studies since the world went on lockdown.
However, your customers want to know:
Can I see results like that even during a pandemic?
Is the time frame for accomplishing x, y, z still the same if I’m home all day, every day with my kids?
Are these realistic goals when the economy is struggling?
The proof you offered before will not sustain you. Not as long as coronavirus numbers continue to climb. (Especially in Arizona. Yay for us.)
Gather proof from your customers and share that proof often. Include proof in every email. Send out a case study a week. You can’t oversell yourself right now. Present situation success stories will go a long way in motivating and inspiring your customers.
Be the Best Source of Content Curation
How are others dealing with depression while in quarantine?
Is it socially acceptable to advertise on Facebook during civil unrest? And how have ads changed to meet the current situation?
How are CDC guidelines being enforced in salons and other small, service-based businesses? Do businesses have to provide proof of compliance?
Can important documents (like mortgage papers) be signed electronically online?
Your customers need answers to their immediate, industry-specific concerns. While content curation may not be something you offered before, it’s a powerful way to assist your customers now.
There’s a lot of information floating around. Most people have no idea what to believe. The more you can offer clarity, the more important you’ll become to your customers.
Bear in mind that maintaining and growing your memberships is going to require some serious adjustment. We’ve touched on only a few things you can and should be doing for your community. But with the help and feedback of your customers, you’re ready to tackle this.
If you can get your customers through this month and then the next, you can guarantee lasting loyalty and long term success.
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