We’ve all experienced that awkward period between campaigns. There will be an extended period of little communication between product launches, school years, legislative sessions, or seasonal services. This is called a communication lull. There are times when you don’t know what to say or how to react. You may find yourself limited in what you can say at times. In other cases, it isn’t easy to choose something when you don’t have a clear focus or a theme to build from. This blog will discuss how to build momentum during the off-season and what you should be saying during that time to ensure that your next launch, session, semester, or service gets off to a flying start. Before there is a period of action, there is a period of no activity. I could use various metaphors here, such as drawing a bow and arrow back before you launch it or winding up a toy race car before releasing it. In either case, you need to step forward to the next project to maintain your online reputation.
Understanding how to best leverage time to move quickly is critical – learning how to pull back the bow and arrow or wind up the car, to put it another way. The off-season is a great time to consider whether or not we should relax our approach to communicating with our target audience. “Give them some space.” It may seem obvious, but the reality is that relationships of any kind require time and effort to maintain. Consider what would happen if you started dating someone and then didn’t speak to them again until the proposal. Is it possible that they would still say yes? (I sincerely hope this is not the case.) We can’t just stop communicating with our audience and expect them to eagerly pick up where we left off the next time we share with them. We want to familiarise them with the fact that we will be contacting them. So, what is the best way to go about it?
High Value, Content-Based, Supportive Content
Allow me to unpack that for you. The only type of email you send to your audience should not be promotional, nor should it be one in which you ask them to do something. If this is the case, you are overlooking an essential step in the process of developing a relationship with your prospect. Content-based emails that are useful to your customer should also be included in your marketing strategy. What makes them want to open their email in the first place? If you only send your customers promotional information, you will not get through to them. Case in point, the number of emails I get daily from companies that I only ever bought something from once. They continue to think I want to use their services, but they never take an interest in me. The only time I would ever open another email from them is if I would want to repurchase something. Otherwise, it goes unread, and at times in my spam folder.
You want your emails to be like the emails from Margo Aaron – succinct and to the point. I open all of them because I’m curious to see what’s on the other side. It makes no difference whether she is promoting something or not. Reading her emails provides me with entertainment and education, which encourages me, as a consumer, to continue reading her emails.
Content can be helpful to your audience no matter what industry you are in or how big or small your company is.
- If you are a school, talk about the activities you host on campus, the programs they can participate in, and what they can expect when school begins. Get them pumped up for the upcoming school year. Don’t just send them an email informing them that they owe you money for tuition.
- If you have an eCommerce business that sells goat milk soap, you should send out recipes to your customers! Send them some gift suggestions! Let’s talk about goat milk soap, which is a true skincare miracle. And make it entertaining in the process.
- If you run a service business that sees a spike in business during certain seasons, you should share educational content during the off-season. What information do people require about their HVAC system? What do you think about landscaping or lawn care? Is there anything you could suggest to them or any problems you could help them with until they’re ready to schedule their next service appointment with you?
- If you represent a lobbying organization or are otherwise involved in the legislative process, how can you teach and notify your audience about the subjects you are presenting? Don’t just wait until January to get people involved in the process. Make them aware of what is taking place and prepare them to take action when the time comes.
These are just a few suggestions. If the lull lasts for an extended period and you communicate with your audience regularly, you’ll want to flesh out several more ideas. You can find inspiration in a variety of ways, including:
- Consult with your sales team to find out what the most frequently asked questions are. What are some of the things they are perplexed about?
- Please consult with your support team to find out what they are interested in. Is there a problem that you can solve in an email or an article?
- Investigate the data – which pages of your website do they frequent the most? What kinds of emails are they reading? Can you narrow down the hot topics that they’re most interested in hearing about?
- Please pay close attention to the internet because your target audience isn’t afraid to express themselves about the issues that matter to them. What exactly do they say? What do they have a strong interest in? How can you use that as a springboard for a piece of content?
- Consider the importance of peripheral content – HubSpot is an excellent example of this. Even though they sell marketing and sales software, they do not limit their communication to only technological means of communication. They talk about sales, marketing, entrepreneurship, and a slew of other relevant topics to the people using their software, such as technology. Consider what matters to your audience and create content around it, even if it isn’t directly related to your core offering or service.
And so, there you have it:
- Why we need to take advantage of the downtime between our busy seasons to educate and nurture our audience.
- How we go about doing so (via supportive, content-based emails).
- How we figure out what we can write about in the meantime.
Keep up the excellent work, and you will see an improvement in your online reputation.