If you’re like me, I’m sure that you’ve received a massive amount of emails from companies this week, telling me exactly what they are “going to do” about COVID-19.
Getting spammed by every single company I’ve ever given my email address to aside, many of these coronavirus messages drove me completely insane. Why? It might have to do with the way I look at the world as an entrepreneur. You need to ensure that you are essential at all times. Either provide value or don’t engage at all.
Just for fun, I decided to run a search of my email using COVID as a keyword. Want to know what I found? Ninety-seven emails in a single week.
That’s fine; businesses need to communicate with their customers, right? Sure, but the question is, what are they communicating? For the most part, these emails were companies telling me that they were “here for me.” Giving me information about how to “practice social distancing and reminding me how to wash my hands.” And they sometimes threw in a few “tips for working remotely.”
Are you kidding me? They are “here for me?” Who are they, my mom?
For the most part, all of these email messages contained regurgitated content. It doesn’t cost anything to send, and it certainly doesn’t provide me with any real value. And in my opinion, as an entrepreneur, that’s what I am looking for from my vendors: value.
Here is the thing: as a vendor-partner, I am not looking at these companies to keep me healthy. I’m looking for these companies to help me keep a healthy bottom line, so I want to know what benefits they are going to offer to help with that. Telling me that they are “here for me” is nice, I guess, but they should be here for me regardless!
These are unprecedented times, I understand, but the crisis has brought out some of the worst in many businesses. The COVID-19 crisis is not a time for generic messaging; it’s a time for concrete, real action. If you are telling me what is wrong without providing solutions, I am going to unsubscribe in an instant. Anything other than valuable content is simply SPAM.
As an entrepreneur, I am a firm believer that I need to provide my customers with value at every corner. They are looking to me to give value and help them continue to grow their bottom line. That means I’m going to have to get creative and help support them so they can succeed, especially now.
For my customers, I’m trying to see their business through their eyes, what they need right now. If I can’t provide them with value, then they aren’t going to need my services. Businesses are going to be looking to save money everywhere at the moment, so if you haven’t made yourself essential, by providing solutions and being a “go-to” resource, you may be kissing their business goodbye.
I know that this all sounds very negative, but it isn’t meant to be. These companies sending the SPAM emails mean well, but I think they are taking the wrong approach.
Over the next few months, things are going to be changing daily (even hourly). It will be challenging to keep up with, but as entrepreneurs, this is what we do best. I intend to bring my customers value, ideas, and solutions. I’m not just going to tell them that I’m “here for them.” I’m going to DEMONSTRATE it by continuing to provide them value and solutions every day.
I think the companies that provide value to their customers are the ones who are going to make it out of this crisis intact and thriving. For example, local restaurants are offering free delivery or curbside pick-up. Credit card companies are offering deferred payments. Cell phone providers are offering unlimited data and free international calling, and video conference services are giving free subscriptions to allow companies and students to communicate more effectively while being quarantined/self-isolating at home. It’s these types of decisions that will be remembered by their customers. It’s a concrete way to make a positive difference and one that I applaud.
Things are going to be difficult over the next few weeks and months, but I can tell you one thing: The businesses, vendors, and partners that bring me value during the COVID-19 crisis are the ones that I will be doing business with in the future after this has all passed.
It is your job to ensure your customers view your business as “essential.” When you are essential, there is no need for spamming or sending an email with paragraphs of nonsense. You should be asking yourself what you can do to offer real value to your customers right now. I certainly know that I am!
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