COVID-19 is a hot topic these days, but you can’t let it steal your show and paralyze your business. Fighting the virus can also mean doing your part in making a productive difference business-wise. In this episode with CEO of Gossett Marketing, Danette Gossett, Bob Roark follows up their discussion about mobilizing your business during the pandemic. Danette showcases the importance of having a contact list and using it to remain pro-active in the eyes of your clients and employees. Driving traffic to your business is crucial these days, simply reaching out to those who matter can help maintain and even improve your business’ reputation.
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Capitalizing On Your Contact List During The COVID-19 Pandemic With Danette Gossett
I’ve got Danette Gossett of Gossett Marketing out of Miami, Florida. We were talking in the previous episode about steps you can take now and what we zeroed in on is in many of the businesses, whether it’s bricks-and-mortars or others, you either have a contact list where you can reach out to your clients or you don’t. We thought we would talk about both of those issues and what you can do in this environment to help drive traffic not through your door anymore, but drive traffic. Danette, what are your thoughts on contact lists, whether you have them or you don’t?
One, hopefully, a lot of people do already have a contact list and they’ve been using them. We talked about previously was if you haven’t reached out to your customers already, you need to start contacting them, letting them know that you’re still around and you’re still in business and that you’re here to help them in whatever it might be that they need. If you don’t have an active contact list, then you need to start getting one. One of the ways that you can do that is through LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, let’s start that. Get your LinkedIn profile going. You’ll see, because I have a lot of people that you can start looking up and saying, “It could be your neighbors. It could be your other business competitors.” It can be a lot of different types of people that you can start your list with. I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for years. My network is thousands of people. You can see that little thing at the bottom where some people have 100 people that they’re connected with. I have 100 people in the same company that I’m connected with in many cases or people that I have connections with that we have hundreds of people in common in our networks.
That’s how it works because you want people to start looking at you and saying, “I want to connect.” If you have your LinkedIn, then you can also put in your information if you’ve got a special coming up, if you’ve got some program. Here, a lot of museums are doing virtual tours of their museum and they can’t have people coming in if you’re a member or not a member. I saw one for one of the museums here that you had an extra conversation with the artists if you were a member. That was all added value that you got, but everybody could go on the tour. I thought that was a great way to connect with the members of the museum. A lot of them are doing that and that’s a great way.
Even for a realtor if you’re trying to show a house.
Right now you can’t. I was on the call with a realtor friend of mine and she’s in the business office, she’s one of our business development people. They found out when this happened, even though they had always encouraged their realtors to have videos of all their properties, only 20% of the properties were represented. They can’t get into the buildings. She’s like, “What do you do?” You take your phone, you go and you stand outside of the building and look at this great view that’s whay you’re going to have if you take this apartment and you can do still shots and put it in with your video and things like that. No matter what business you’re in, you can get a video out there and post it for any type of thing to get people out and about to do virtual tours of your place.
There’s an app called BombBomb. You can take and shoot a video and text it in the same way. It’s an interesting tool. If you’re out there and you want to show a vehicle, you want to show a boat, you want to show a physical anything, there’s a way to do it.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. A lot of people are still scared that they have to be perfect and it has to be fancy and it doesn’t, it just needs to get out there and we’re trying to get your message out. One of the ways to start building your contact list if you don’t have one or even expand it. One of the things that people do at this time is they don’t think about expanding their business and they’re thinking about preserving their business. You want to do both. You want to reach out to your loyal customers, but you also need to be thinking about the future. “What am I going to be doing and how am I going to grow my business?” I had two Zoom meetings with new business prospects. We had set them up before isolation became a thing. I was able to say, “Let’s meet virtually for now and have a conversation.” It wasn’t a long conversation, but most of them were about twenty minutes long. I do believe that in the long run, we’ll do business together. I could’ve said, “I know we’ve got to cancel because we can’t get together,” but I gave them that option. I said, “We can cancel or we can reschedule it as a Zoom call.” They were like, “Yes, I’m here. You could see me in my living room. Let’s go ahead and have a conversation.”
You and I are talking about Zoom like everybody knows. For those that are using it, good. For those that don’t know how to use it, go to Zoom.us. Neither of us has any affiliation whatsoever with it.
Their stocks are going up because everybody is using Zoom these days. Zoom is a great way. I have a paid subscription because I’m doing more video meetings and a lot of people are. If you have a non-paid subscription, you only get audio, but it is one of those things that are helpful. In building your contact list, when you and I were talking about the restaurant we went to and when you texted in your order, they wanted to make sure you put your name down. That’s one of the ways that they are growing their contact list and a way to be able to text out offers to their customers. People can use that for every type of business. There were a lot of people texting, and you’d walk by at Target and all of a sudden, you’d get a Target ad. There are lots of those types of apps and programs that you can utilize even now. If you haven’t used that before, this is a great time to start thinking about it. Your Facebook, your LinkedIn, your other social networking that’s out there. Instagram, Pinterest, anything along those lines that you want to put out there, your message makes a big impact because everybody is on social media. Everybody is at home where they’re spending a little more time with it. They’re not all just Netflix binging. I’ve gotten more LinkedIn requests than I probably have gotten in years because people are exploring.
The thing that strikes me is for the Luddite like me. Being that you go, “Maybe I don’t know all of these social media things.” The place I went to was a well-attended bakery/restaurant in town. They had handwritten signs taped up in their windows and it said, “Please, call in with your order so we can take the credit card.” When you’re in the parking lot, “Please text us that you’re here, what your name is and what type of vehicle you’re in.” You could see that. The one thing I would recommend to this restaurant is they write in bigger colors because I can see distance, but I couldn’t see the details. I would make sure that I had enough phone lines coming in that you can take all the orders in the rush time. The people would come out and they were masked up and they would put the meals in the backseat or in the trunk. I would recommend as protocol, if you’re going to do that, bring it out and put it in the trunk. I would take in that deal is, I would put the offerings for the upcoming week. The only thing you have to be able to do is take an incoming call, which you’re already doing, and then have somebody in the restaurant see a text to know when to take it outside. That’s at a minimum simple to do.
At the same time, you’re amassing a whole new list of people that may be coming to your establishment that has never been there.
I don’t know that the app that would do it, but you could do outreach in a text to the people that are coming to your restaurant and go, “Next Thursday night, we’re going to have pumpkin pie special,” or whatever it is that you’re going to do and says, “Swing by on the way home from work, text us when you’re in the parking lot. You could even make a drive-through lane or come in the parking lot and get it going that way.” Simple and easier, it’s not necessarily the same thing, but it’s simple to do. That was demonstrated and we always made a case of trying to overtip the people working on to help support these people.
That is the key. Everybody has a list of things that they’re trying to do or should buy. Get your list together. What can you do to help customers? Being able to get to a happy meal at one point in time or a special dessert to make the tedium go away from what you’re eating at home all the time. You and I’ve talked about this. Most people eat out 3, 4 times a week typically, and now they’re eating home seven days a week. We had a virtual happy hour with a bunch of friends and we were all talking about, “I’m bored with what I’m making.” I’ve tried a couple of new recipes. I love to cook, I’m having more fun with it. At the same token, it’s like, “What’s in my refrigerator?” and so they keep going out.Sending something out to your employees at home is a good idea to stay in touch with them. Click To Tweet
Can you imagine if you’re that bakery/restaurant and you go, “You’re tired. Here’s the simple thing you always find in your refrigerator-that you probably have at home. We’re going to have a short video on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, whatever it is with our chef telling you what you can do to spice up your menu in your refrigerator. If you don’t want to do it, come here and we’ll do it for you?”
That’s a great idea. Any restaurant can use that, a restaurant can do that. The other thing is, if you’re a larger business and you want to start sending things out to people in their homes, I had recommended a care package that employers could send to their employees. A popcorn night with special different flavored popcorn seasonings that you could have. That type that comes with a bowl and all that to help them stay connected with their employees and recognize that they’re at home and a lot. How do you do that if you don’t have their home addresses? I’m in a mastermind group and one of my friendly competitors, she’s in Texas. She was doing socks. Since people are at home, she did some fun socks that she wanted to send for her top customers. One of the other people in our mastermind group would think, “If they give you their home address.” She was concerned. She goes, “I was concerned about asking for a home address.” She was like, “No, they were thrilled when I told them I wanted to send them a little present.” It’s like, “I’ll give you my home address.”
Don’t be afraid to ask. Employers obviously will have their employees’ home addresses and sending something out to them at home is a good idea to stay in touch with your employees because that’s the other thing that all this is about is making sure everybody has that connection going. If you want to do it for your customers, there’s nothing wrong with asking them, “If you want to give me your home address, I’d like to send you a little something.” You don’t want it to be a solicitation. You want to be something like, “I want to send you little socks or popcorn or something for your loyalty program.” If there is a loyalty program, you’ve got their home addresses.
I got something from a company that I happen to love and it’s a travel company, Destination and they sent off, “We know you’re not going to be traveling right now, but we wanted to remind you of what’s coming up.” It was sunscreen and a couple of other fun little things that were included in it to say, “We know you’re not coming now, but hopefully, you’ll come to see us in the future and don’t forget what that feels like. Don’t let that stop you.” When you’re making your connection list, maybe in the past you didn’t ask for the home address but maybe you want to start doing that now so that you can potentially send out.
The post office was noticing, they’ve had a dramatic drop in postal mailings. People aren’t doing all the direct mail. Instead of a catalog, I got a postcard instead of their regular catalog, they said, “Everything’s changing, just check us online.” They still send a postcard. The post office had seen a dramatic decrease in direct mail. Maybe now is the time for you to get out there and start doing direct mail. If you have a good contact list and you have something that you’d want to be offering people or informing them about, direct mail is a good thing to be thinking about but you need a list.
Let’s say you and I are the business that doesn’t have a list. I didn’t pay enormous attention to list development. What would you do if you were that business? Let’s say it’s retail and a lot of their clients may or may not be on LinkedIn, what would you do?
There are a couple of things. You probably want to get out into Facebook and getting some connection in that regards with your customers. Instagram, Pinterest, some of the other social media outlets. Maybe you have email addresses. You could probably even go back and do a credit card. You can get credit card receipts from customers that charged any place. That has some contact information. You’ll have to do some real work in putting your list together. If you don’t have lists, there are list brokers out there and the list brokers are still working because it’s going to work virtually. You can purchase lists, you can say, “I don’t know who my customers are, but I want to get a list of people that are within a five-mile radius of my building, my business. My customer profile is women 35 to 55 and with a household income of $75,000 a year. I need a list.”
Many times they can be able to give you home addresses or business addresses. They can give you phone numbers, email addresses. You have to invest a little money in it but you would be able to have that list and start mining that list for your future business because that’s the whole thing. You have an opportunity to change the way you’re doing your business. Maybe you were comfortable in how you were doing it in the past. You didn’t have a list of all your customers and maintained that list. Maybe you weren’t staying in touch with them because business was good. This is going to be the new normal. You’re going to want to be able to stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis. This is one way to start trying that process, get that process in place.
I think about messaging people that say, “What do I say?” Call 2, 3 or 4 of your top clients and go, “What’s bothering you? How do we help you with whatever is bothering you?” Let’s say you have a list of X size and you’ve got two messages, you’re not sure which one is going to work. Take one message and send it to half the list and the other message, the other half and see what results you get and then you’ll AB test right there and you’ll know. Even if we don’t have an enormous amount of drive-by state-by-state, the lockdowns are somewhat different. We still have some traffic out there. At a minimum, you could put a bi-fold type of poster board out on the curve and say, “We’re open for business, text us.” There are things you can do to draw to have your barber on how you virtually cut hair.When this COVID-19 situation is over, people will look for those they now know and trust. Click To Tweet
Do you know what you do? You sell gift certificates. You have a gift certificate when this is back on, maybe you do give a little discount or you can pre-sell. I heard someone saying, “For all the businesses that you love, I want to see that they get going.” Ask them, “Can I prepay for my services like a nail salon?” For instance, if you go every week and now, you’re not going and your nails are starting to show it, maybe you can call the nail salon and say, “Can I prepay you for my next ten visits?” That way they have some revenue coming in. There are a couple of different things that you can do for those types of businesses. Gift certificates are a big thing. They’re getting their money now and then they’ll have to put it out later, but that won’t be all at one time. They’re not getting any revenue right now and not much. If you can help them to increase the revenue and then they’ll give it out over time because not everybody is going to be able to redeem their certificate on the same day or won’t want to. I have reward points leftover from somebody and they were about to expire and I didn’t think I was going to use them. They offered and I could get gift cards. I was like, “Yes, I’m going to go ahead and get those now.” They had a variety of businesses that I could choose from and I chose Home Depot. I can always use Home Depot gift cards. Who can’t?
Everybody has a way of getting some revenue in or staying in touch but you have to have that list. You have to go back to having your contacts and getting out in front of them. You should have or you may have a loyalty program. Now is the time to be in touch with those loyal customers. Extend the amount of time that you have. Send them a note, tell them that you’re here for them. Inform them what’s going on with their loyalty points. Maybe they can’t use them right now. You’re going to extend it for another 3, 6 months, whatever. Maybe you’re going to provide them some special deal later on, but you have the names so use them. Ask them for referrals, for testimonies.
The other thing I think about too is, let’s say that you have a specific skill set in your business and your customers can’t come through the door and says, “We’re going to have a series of videos. We’re going to shoot them ourselves.” You didn’t do it because many of the iPhones, the cameras, and the videos are good. Says, “While you’re at home, we’re going to start doing an educational series either for the adults that are housebound or we’re going to do it for your children. We’re going to talk about teaching your kids how to do A, B, C and D. You can log in to our things and they will be recorded and take a look. If you’re a graduate of our training course, then there are some things that we can do for you or you’re qualified to get the following or provide us an email list or your contact info.”
Whatever it is, you can take and go through and go, “What are we best known for?” What if you’re back to the bakery, people will say, “I’d like to know how to make bread at home.” They said, “Are you going to do it all the time?” “No, but this is what you do. We’re going to make sourdough. Let’s talk about the starter. Here’s what you’re going to do on the starter and tune in tomorrow when your starter is ready and we’re going to make a loaf of bread. If yours looks like hardtack, you did the following wrong. If it goes like this, you’re right. Make sure that you take and share our Facebook page your successful bread making thing with your children.” That thing. You can take and start going like, “I know people are at home.” As my wife said, if this goes on much longer, she’s going to need another house to clean. There’s a job for her but you look at stuff like that and there are things that you can do as a business owner and go, “How do I take and showcase my expertise?” It doesn’t have to be perfect, just a minimum viable product. Get it out the door.
That’s what you have been talking about. People, get off your paralyzed point and start. You know what you do, you know what you do well. People want to be informed. People want to have a warm message. They want to hear from you and make sure that you are doing well during these times and that you’re going to be there for them when this is all over because there is going to be an end to this. It’s not going to go on forever. Those businesses that spend some time now reaching out to their customers, in the long run, will come out on the other end much better. If you’re limiting yourself to your existing customers, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You need to reach out and continue to reach out to what could be your prospects as well. When this is over, people are going to be looking for people that they now know, trust, and understand and that’s going to make a difference for your business.
We’ve talked about that in the communication space, one, people know that you care. Two, that you have a solution. If they’re bored at home, we can provide some relief. Develop a relationship with these people. If you’re not savvy on social media, make a sign, stick it upside the highway or however, people see your business and make sure that they know you’re there and then start collecting if nothing else, phone numbers and text messages. The statistic is something like 90% of text messages either read or open. It’s an enormous number. For the people out there, in the series, we wanted to talk about the previous series, what to do if you’re paralyzed? The second thing, what we wanted to talk about is, you’re now past paralysis and you’re going, “How do I communicate with my clients if I can’t communicate with them like we used to do?” These are some ideas on how to take and deal with the contact lists you have and some ideas on how to build a contact list. Some ideas that if you’re not technically savvy, there are ways to do it with the things you have, a cell phone and text messaging, both of which are easy to do and adopt and then start an outreach program to your clients. With that, thank you, Danette. Do you have anything that you’d like to close with?
You summarized that extremely well. I appreciate that.
The short answer is going through the step, get unparalyzed, and start building your list and start reaching out. If you do any audio or video outreach, your first one won’t be as good as your tenth one, and the twentieth is better than your tenth. The short answer says, “This is new. We’re trying to reach out.” I said, “If we were perfect, we’d be someone else but we hope you’re well. This is what we’re trying to do to help with your problems.” People will appreciate the fact that you’re reaching out and putting your best foot forward and try to help them with what bothers them now. With that, Danette, we will take and step away from this particular episode and see if we can work on the next one.
It sounds like a plan.
Thanks for your time.
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