Emma Skingley is a marketing and communications specialist. She has extensive experience advising tennis coaches, and businesses in the sporting world, how to effectively market their business.
In addition, Emma is also a PTR qualified coach who also is on the committee to a tennis club in Brentwood, Essex and is co-founder of SYSTEM-9: Tennis.
Survive + Thrive after COVID-19
by Emma Skingley
What are your competitors doing right now? We can’t presume that they are panicking and battening down the marketing hatches, instead, we have to presume they are working on their business.
If your tennis club or business lies low during the coronavirus shutdown you’re leaving yourself behind and not prepared when things open back up.
It works both ways of course:
If your competitors’ marketing grinds to a halt, and they are no longer front of mind to their clients, then you have a unique opportunity to push ahead now and come out on top when businesses reopen.
Your initial reaction might be to bury your head in the sand, cut budgets and wait until COVID-19 has passed. But good business sense suggests otherwise. Consider that your customers will online more than ever before.
I’ve developed five steps you can use to strengthen your business ready for when we return:
Communicate with your clients
Talk to your team
Improve your customer offering
Improve your marketing communications
Boost business and personal performance
1. Communicate with your clients
Continuing regular, consistent contact with your existing clients is hugely important to ensuring they return to your business when you reopen.
You need to regularly talk to them. Reassure them. Remind them why they loved your services and why they should be excited to spend their time and money with you when things reopen.
Everyone is online more than usual; we have more time on our hands and are looking to be entertained, engaged and educated. So if your clients’ feed is brimming with regular engaging social posts, but nothing from you, before you know it, your clients will be visiting your competitors’ website, reading their advice blogs, and signing up to their e-newsletter.
Think about what you say AND how you say it.
Think carefully about what you say to clients during the coronavirus crisis. What might have felt like a good message yesterday may not be the right thing today.
How you say it is important too. Being positive is vital but think about your tone of voice, as well as the message itself, and be sensitive that many of us are going through difficult times.
Focus on building connections and trust in your client communications, not selling all the time. There will be plenty of time to sell when we’re coming out of this emergency and you’re getting ready to reopen.
2. Talk to your team
Keeping your team informed about your business plans helps them feel involved, puts their mind at ease, and keeps them positive about their future with your business.
Training during COVID-19
There are plenty of opportunities to do free online courses. The LTA have a great online offering in the UK and you could also look at the many other online education sites offering skills training for free. Fancy an online course at an Ivy League College? Or check out the Open University who run a diverse range of free online courses, many of which will benefit your business. The courses don’t have to be tennis related; how about learning some business skills or brushing up on your accounting? Or maybe look at our quick marketing tips that you could implement today?
3. Improve your customer offering
Look at what you can fix during the coronavirus shutdown that you have never had time to do. How you can use this dormant time to improve your services so that when you open you are running a tight ship!
Speak with your clients/players/members and identify areas of improvement
Interview (remotely of course!) your clients/players/members about their customer experience. Most will be flattered to be asked and keen to support you during the coronavirus.
Ask open questions such as:
What do you love most about my coaching/club/business?
What could we do to make your experience even better?
How do you find our phone/online booking process?
How did you first learn about us?
What would you like to hear about on social during coronavirus?
How could we improve our website?
Take a look at your statistics
Be honest, when was the last time you devoted a significant chunk of time to looking at your client stats? It can initially seem a dull subject, but you can learn so much about marketing your business, plus it’s a simple exercise to do manually.
So what are you looking for? A simple way is to focus on the top 30% of your customers by spend, after all we want to improve your income post-coronavirus.
Who are our top 25% (top quarter) of clients?
What common characteristics do they have? Can I identify any behavioural or other patterns?
What do these top 25% book? Any patterns?
How do this top 25% group differ (if at all) from everyone else?
4. Improve your marketing communications
Want some practical ways to get ahead post-coronavirus? Start here!
Ignite your social media
Increase online reviews
Get found online (fast)
Pump up the volume with local marketing
Upgrade marketing materials
1. Ignite your social media
We’ve a 10 Step Facebook audit which can be downloaded here which will help you make the most of your Facebook Business Page.
2. Work on your online reviews:
70% of consumers say that positive reviews give them more trust in a business.
And if you do have a review system, does it need tweaking? Are you and your team using it?
3. Get found online during coronavirus
With people hunkered down at home during COVID-19 there are more of us online so make sure it’s your business that gets found.
Here are 3 low-cost ideas to action now:
Google My Business
Change your opening hours if you’re shut or have reduced hours due to COVID-19.
Put a clear notice on your homepage confirming if you are shut or working on reduced hours. Update this immediately if there are any changes.
As soon as you have a firm date for reopening change the notice and make it clear how clients can book.
If you have an online booking system do you need to edit the opening hours? This is especially important as we start to come out of the coronavirus crisis.
use this quiet time to check each page of your website:
remove outdated content
check links work and all information is current and relevant
add social content (client testimonials, before & afters and reviews)
is your website looking dated and tired? Feel it doesn’t reflect your brand? Want to convert lookers to bookers? We’re tennis website specialists. Give us a call!
3. Email marketing
A well-built and written e-news campaign will reach around 50%+ of your database, while Facebook posts only reach 4-10% of your followers.
It’s the ideal way to keep talking to your clients during your shutdown. But don’t stop once you’re back up and running. It’s one of the most valuable marketing tools you have.
4. Networking to boost your reach
Partnering with local businesses who have a similar target audience to you is a low-cost, highly effective way of marketing your business.
Use this downtime to make contact with local business owners, set up a virtual meeting and map out how you can support each other with marketing and promotions.
So when you do reopen, you’ll have a ready-made, brand new local audience to market to.
Time is something most of us have rediscovered in the last few weeks of coronavirus. Use this time to assess and improve your business systems, processes and checklists.