Question :
I have an online course to help high school athletes with their mental well being – I haven’t had a sale since going into lock down.  I haven’t been actively marketing because I don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of this horrible situation, however I know that this is something that is definitely needed and could help a lot over this time. Any suggestions on how to continue putting the course out there without coming across in the wrong way? 

Question submitted 18/04/20 @ 10:02am
Industry: Brand & Marketing
  • If there is a need then you should be out there. Reframe it away from advertising and think about it more as helping.

    Recent research says 79% of people want or expect brands and services to be advertising right now. So don’t feel you should be holding back.

    Also other research shows that the brands that continue to advertise through a recession will grow faster and gain share (largely because they will have the greatest share of voice).

    So don’t think of it as being advertising. Think of it as ensuring the people that need you know you are there, know you are open, know how you can help them.

    You’re absolutely right you don’t want to be seen to be exploiting this situation but it only takes a small change in your messaging to ensure it is right for now.

    Get out there. People need your help.

    Nicely put Duncan. There is a real need here. I would get back out there communicating and building your network. Schools and school guidance teams will see the need emerging as students return to school – consider networking in their space as well. Are you engaged with HPSNZ? They may also be able to give you some direction on areas of need they are aware of. Good luck

    Great ideas from Vicky & Duncan.

    The current situation is a time where mental wellbeing is more important than ever. Particularly for athletes/high school students. So your business could be in high demand if you’re getting in front of the right people. (coaches, sports department head, etc). They’ll all be searching for ways to keep students and athletes engaged/heathy during the lockdown.

    I totally agree the hard sell is probably not the right approach. However, an idea might be to offer some free content or suggestion from your courses that would be beneficial to them during this time. Or something like “10 mental health tips for being an athlete in lockdown etc” and promoting that content. Its a soft sell, proving your business as an expert & providing meaningful value to the customer.

    Go well!

    The above advisors are on point. At this present time you should be following up and checking on the well being of your existing client base. The success of any business is founded on customer care and service . You have a customer base that probably needs your help more than ever. Use this time to follow up and fine tune your Client services..It will reap you rewards and reputation in the future.

    Great input from the others, and great to reach out. Reaching out with authenticity and integrity will show you care, rather than just trying to make a sale. If you are in a position, perhaps you can consider offering a free trial for a period of time, to show you care for your target market. You can use this to expand your database for when schools open back up and teams can practice again.

    Kia ora – the advice above is spot on. This is about being in service not selling. You are helping meet pressing needs that are being felt right now so reach out and help.

    I would suggest you outreach via email to the likes of school principals, counsellors, heads of sports you already know.
    – Give them useful content – highlight the most common symptoms / issues you’re seeing and give advice / tips for dealing with each in turn.
    – Include links to studies, videos you’ve got that are useful.
    – You might be wise to offer a non-commercial offer eg a free lunch and learn, or free hour ‘coach the coach’ zoom session. This positions you strongly as being in service. (At the end of these sessions you could then mention your paid service offerings eg something more for individuals, parents, captains, coaches etc.)
    – ask them to pass your email on to others in their network who would value from your services.

    Go well

    Great advice above, I have also seen some success in this climate with a ‘buy one gift one’ approach, where consumers can choose to pay you to gift that course to someone who needs it. Keep going, and don’t be afraid to reconnect with institutions you have checked oil with before, this may be the time they need you most!

    I agree with the advice already provided, in particular with respect to the delivery of your offering, and would add that I think this is a very good time for your clients to focus on the mental side of athletic preparation while they are restricted in their physical preparation. This could have long-term benefits to your business as you may be able to develop relationships with athletes now who will stay with you as they return to and further develop their sporting careers. Check out the various NZ regional sports trusts which should have connections to both schools and sports clubs in their regions. Happy to connect you with others. Feel free to reach out to me at anthony.mosse@gmail.com

    Hi there,
    I’d like to add to the above great advice, with a response centered around the need for mental wellbeing for this particular demographic. Our suicide rate is among the worst in the OECD. Each year around one in five NZers experience mental illness or significant mental distress and increasing numbers of children and young people are showing signs of mental distress and intentionally self-harming. In addition to the human costs, the annual cost of the burden of serious mental illness, including addiction, in New Zealand is an estimated $12 billion or 5% of gross domestic product. Anyone who is offering services and support in this space should certainly continue – in these uncertain and unsettling times, now more than ever.

    Self-esteem levels plateau between age 11-15 so this is an age at which interventions and support like yours may be particularly advantageous. Perhaps you could redirect your marketing to highlight your understanding of the statistics as a proof point? If you can share case studies for how your services have improved mental wellbeing among young people this would speak to human-centered design thinking in your programmes and move your marketing from selling into storytelling.


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