A Coronavirus Survival Guide for Printers 

At the time I’m writing this article, our country is adjusting to a new normal forced upon us by the Coronavirus. 

We’re all calibrating to this new normal by the day (if not by the hour), so by the time you read this there may be even a different version of the new normal. 

Here are some tips to help you survive (and even thrive!) in the new normal. 

Empathize with Your Message 

The Coronavirus update email faucet turned on wide-open once it became clear that the Coronavirus would be sticking around for a while. 

There are the obligatory emails from our kids’ schools and our church; those get an automatic pass through my personal “pay attention” filter. Then there are the emails that are nothing other than a disingenuous series of sanitized words carefully crafted to show the reader that a company was actually able to implement the common-sense virus-fighting suggestions and best practices. 

I’m sure you’ve received these emails too. The subject line is almost always a tip-off. Here are some examples of those email subjects, fresh from my inbox:

  • A Message to Our Clients 
  • COVID-19 Action Plan 
  • Coronavirus: What you need to know 
  • Account Update: ____’s Response to COVID-19 
  • COVID-19 and our commitment to you 

I understand that these messages are important (at least to the sender!) and may indeed even be necessary, but they sure are impersonal. They’re almost always about making the sender look good, and not about truly caring for the recipient. For those of us in the arena of small business, we have the opportunity to send a message that’s both personal and caring. Let’s choose that option. 

Here’s an example you need to see. I received a beautiful email from one of our Marketing Ideas For Printers subscribers. It’s short enough to reproduce here: 

Dear Dave, 

During the past week, we have all been exposed to a great deal of stress and frustration.  I wanted to take this time to find out how you and your family are doing?

May the Lord bless and keep you and your loved ones healthy. Thank you for your time.

Felipe R. Martinez
SaveMor Digital Printing 

Felipe’s customers see him as a businessperson with a genuine, caring heart, and it shines like a beacon through his email message. 

Felipe goes on to say, “The email I sent was really a blessing. I was trying to figure out what to say to customers last week. With all the blabbering from the government and news, I woke up on Saturday, and the Lord gave me an idea to send a brief, text-like email asking customers on their well-being. I received 110 e-mails in two days. Very heart-felt and warm replies. I heard back from three customers who are isolated at home and are older. I offered my assistance, such as buying groceries. 

If you do feel compelled to send a Coronavirus-specific message to your email list, consider using Felipe’s email above as a model and focus on showing them you care. 

Your Marketing Strategy 

Extend that caring to your marketing strategy. 

If you approach this pandemic from a perspective that includes empathy, caring, and thoughtful wisdom, you’ll be in a great position to guide your customers down the same path. 

After I filtered out all the “Here’s how we are responding to Coronavirus” emails, I then found myself attracted to a different category of emails: “Here’s information to help you during the Coronavirus pandemic.” Those emails contained tips that were focused on helping me and not the sender. Tips like:

  • Check in [on your clients], one person at a time, with a genuine and simple message of care and concern to see how they’re doing and what they’re dealing with. 
  • Doublecheck everything. Since we’re probably not thinking entirely straight, I’m swearing off quick decisions, slowing down to pay closer attention to everything, and reaching out for a second opinion when I’m not sure. 

Your Sales Strategy 

“Social Distancing” is one of the phrases we’ve all become accustomed to by now. 

Business owners, that phrase will manifest itself as, “Shop online and not in person.” Perhaps we’ve now arrived at the defining moment of e-commerce we’ve been building towards for the last few decadesNow is the time to make sure you’re able to conduct business online effectively. 

Take a close look at your website. For everyone that you used to see in person, but is now practicing “Social Distancing”, your website is now your primary sales team.

  • Can your customers place orders and reorders on your website? 
  • Does your website’s ecommerce system feel like a focus or an afterthought? 
  • Are you able to use your website to communicate the status of work-in-progress? 

If you’ve already established a strong online presence, then transitioning to the new normal of Social Distancing requires nothing more than reviewing and tweaking what you’re already doing online. However, if you’re still putting together the pieces of your online sales strategy, then it’s time to embrace the new normal because it’s going to be a while until everyone is comfortable shaking hands in person again. 

Don’t Worry 

“Don’t worry” is easier said than done.

But worrying isn’t going to add a single day to your life. Personally, I choose to worry only about the things I can control, and that often leaves me with just two options: Worry less or expand the scope of things that are under my control. 

As former football player and coach Tony Dungy says,

You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response.

If you find yourself worrying about what you heard on the latest Coronavirus update, I’d like to encourage you to shift your thoughts to things you can control as we all adapt to the new normal: things like your message, your marketing strategy, and your sales strategy. 

Written by

Dave Hultin

President, Marketing Ideas For Printers

Dave Hultin is the president and visionary behind Marketing Ideas For Printers. He's on a mission to lead printers to success by providing powerfully innovative online ordering solutions and impossible-to-ignore content. If you're looking to sell more printing and grow your business, follow Dave on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/davehultin/.