The best thing for business owners during this time of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is to take a deep breath, evaluate what you're already doing and get to work.
Maybe your marketing strategy has been working but not working well. Perhaps elements of it are now impossible to execute or irrelevant given the current precautions and restrictions mandated by your local government. The time has never been better to dig deep into what makes your business valuable and get creative in your messaging and approach.
Here's what you can DO:
Gather content (facts, photos, stories, reviews) for your business and identify pieces that are interesting: things people may not know about your business that you can now share with an audience of people spending more time on social media with each passing day. Examples: owner stories about when they started, personal anecdotes from their favorite moment in business, a time their business persevered and overcame a situation.
Reach out to your local newspaper or news station and see what specials they have right now. More people are inside watching tv, looking online at newspapers or grabbing one at the local store when they grab food, listening to the radio, viewing apps, watching youtube, reading emails and consuming social media than any time in recent memory.
Digital Lately has compiled a comprehensive list of the current rates, promotions, and packages being offered by our local and regional media partners. The time has never been better to advertise on tv, radio or print. Contact us and we will send the information your way.
Make sure you post on your social channels but don't overwhelm your followers with useless, ill-timed content that only associates your brand or business with being annoying. Social Media strategy is now more important than ever and we highly suggest using a professional to make sure your message is relevant, relatable and received appropriately by your intended audience.
Not every post has to be (or should be) directly about your business. This is true ALL the time - not just right now. Share local information, happenings, and other things your followers would be interested in like virtual museum tours, free learning resources while their children or grandchildren are out of school, or no-equipment exercises they can do at home.
Partner with other businesses in your area to offer "piggybacked" services. A carpet cleaning company could offer a deep cleaning carpet treatment along with a cleaning company that does whole-home deep cleaning. These businesses can decide together what the cost of the joint services will be and offer one easy price to the consumer.
Service-based home services should communicate very clearly to your customers what your business is doing to help protect them if your employees visit inside their homes: hand sanitizers, masks, booties for shoes, social distancing rules for employees while at the office, etc. You want your customers to feel confident in using your business in a time where they don't have much confidence in other things.
Consider offering discounts and reduced prices if you can. Many consumers are experiencing reduced income. They may need or want to use your service/buy your product but can't afford or justify paying full price.
If your services are Business to Business (B2B) consider allowing a discount if a business signs up for a few months at a time or buys a group of services. A lawyer could offer 10 hours of services at a reduced rate if bought and pre-paid. Here at Digital Lately we are offering a free month of marketing services when you sign up for three months.
If you sell to consumers try and figure out what you can do to accommodate your customers and potential customers. Delivery and curbside pick-up aren't just for restaurants. Auto dealers can deliver cars for test drives: they can share how the vehicles have been sanitized and prepped. Repair shops can pick up vehicles needing service and deliver them back or offer single appointments so customers don't have to sit in a waiting room with a bunch of other people.
Offer consultations, meetings, and services (product demonstrations, how-to) via video conferencing - have you been saying "this could've been an email" for a very long time?! Now is your time to shine! Get together with your employees, co-workers, clients, and suppliers and be the one who helps formulate a plan on how to best move forward and ADAPT right now.
Evaluate your website SEO (if you don't know how to do this, give us a call and we can help) and if you haven't started one already: create a blog. Share industry news, specials, coupons and information that sells the PEOPLE behind your business. Share the blog links to your personal and business social channels - this allows people to easily share these articles (which will drive traffic to your website) to their social media.
Be a bright light in your local community: even the smallest act of kindness will garner your business more in "word of mouth" advertising than money could buy you. Do the right thing, because it's the right thing to do. Help feed local school children who are going without meals, distribute extra toilet paper to those who are out if your business has extra cases, order cases of necessities for local organizations running food pantries and outreach programs to elderly and low-income residents.
The temptation is to cut marketing dollars in a Recession, and that’s a big mistake. I’ve spent the last 15+ years meeting with thousands of business owners, and I’ve gained an incredible amount of wisdom through watching these smart entrepreneurs navigate all types of markets. The consistent thing I see in successful business people versus unsuccessful ones is the ability to stay the course through fear. Smart owners know that if they stop advertising, they will be sure to experience significant drops in business. Conversely, if they continue or increase their advertising, they’re staying top of mind, and if they provide a compelling call to action, they’ll bring customers through their door and weather the storm. -Robin Rucinsky | Thrive Advertising
Here's what you should NOT do:
Do not try to sell products or services that claim to help prevent or slow the coronavirus unless that claim is backed by verifiable research, science, and testing.
Do not share your opinion on whether or not you feel the virus is "no big deal" - let's be clear: people in the world have already died from this and now is NOT the time to make a joke about anything that has caused any human being harm or death.
Do not make a post about how your business is NOT taking this situation seriously or how your business is wasting resources that could be better put to use elsewhere.
Do not take your frustrations out on any clients or customers who may be canceling events, trips, rooms, reservations or services. If you can get them to commit to rescheduling, great! If not, make note of their information and follow back up with them when appropriate to reschedule.
Digital Lately is here to help your digital and promotional strategy be successful. We can help you implement one you've created or we can start from scratch and do all of the work for you. There are options available to promote your brand via an app, social media, and traditional advertising. Think outside of the box in terms of ways to stay in touch with consumers and keep your business moving forward during unprecedented times. You want to concentrate on promoting brand awareness and upholding consumer/client relationships with campaigns that are inspiring, genuine and low cost.
Reach out anytime by email to Hello@DigitalLately.com or by phone at 410-390-2161.
We wish you, your family and business the best during this time and look forward to everything getting back to "business as usual" as soon as possible.