Like it or not, your business is most likely going to continue to be drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To put it bluntly, we are not living or doing business in the same world anymore. Even after the pandemic subsides, the collective consumer consciousness will be altered.
But this should not be taken as words of doom. If anything, a lot of the pain businesses are feeling right now is from their lack of ability to adapt quickly, and most importantly, a sound marketing infrastructure. The good news is that these things are, in most cases, very fixable.
So don’t panic! Look for the most productive paths forward for both the short and long term, and be willing to think outside of the box. We’ll walk you through some tips below.
Before we get started, always remember: when the going gets tough, the tough focus on marketing!
Fix What’s Broken in your Business Marketing
If there ever was a time to focus on marketing, it’s now. It’s also the time when you find out all the weak points in your current marketing infrastructure.
For example: maybe you would like to reach out to your thousands of loyal customers, but are realizing you had never started an email list or invested much time with social media.
Or maybe you had a great marketing infrastructure with lots of social media followers and customer contacts but you’re now realizing how beneficial having Ecommerce would have been.
Now is the time to try to fix these things.
Updating your website should be your first order of business. Make sure all the information is up-to-date and correct. Refreshing any old logos or images will also help liven things up quite a bit. Check any conversion points like webforms, email signups, and social media links to make sure everything is functioning properly. If you don’t have Google Analytics, get it now! Also, if adding Ecommerce is a possibility, read our latest blog post for helpful tips.
Next, check all your online business listings and social media accounts for correct information. Just like your website, refreshing logos and images can be a big help. Anywhere you can, add a helpful message to customers and clients to let them know how you are handling the pandemic, and how they can continue to do business with you. And remember to update these messages!
If you’ve never considered online advertising, the downtime is an excellent time to get started or reach out to an online marketing agency for help. Even if you don’t have the budget to run ads, having the accounts set up will save you a lot of time when you do.
Lastly, even if you can’t fix some past marketing mistakes now, at the very least, write up a marketing plan so that you can move forward efficiently when the resources are available.
What makes online marketing tick is content. Especially organic marketing. So rather than sit in an empty shop or restaurant waiting for a lock down to be lifted, take some pictures, shoot some video, or write blog posts that you can share over time on your social media accounts.
Of all the things mentioned above, video is by far the most compelling. If you have a restaurant, you could shoot some how-to cooking videos or give a tour of your kitchen to show your commitment to cleanliness or quality. For example, one of the local restaurant stalwarts, The Columbia, created content for their followers that included making their famous sangria and picadillo, as well as simple, uplifting messages reminding everyone to stay safe so that we can come together again and celebrate. If you have a retail store, you could make videos of some of the most exciting products you have to offer. Even if you can’t sell it now, generating excitement can never hurt and you may find that your customers reach out to you with suggestions on how they would prefer to buy from you.
Blogging is without a doubt the best long-term strategy and “bang for your buck” when it comes to bringing business via organic search. Blogging, however, has become highly competitive and because it is such an investment in time, working with a good web marketing firm can help ensure your blogs drive traffic and help you stand out in search.
Leverage Your Social Media
Even if your business is closed due to mandatory or voluntary shutdowns, you don’t want your customers or clients to forget about you and social media is one of the best ways to reach them.
Here at Blink;Tech, we’ve long recommended that small businesses divide their social media strategies into two separate pools: organic (non-paid posts) and pay-per-click (PPC). To be clear, this is not referring necessarily to any content created, but rather how it is disseminated.
Organic social marketing is definitely not what it used to be. Social platforms are now more pay-to-play, and most small business organic posts get seen by very few people. However, organic posts are free and if the content is extremely shareable, those that see it may share it far and wide. This is where our above content recommendations come into play. If you don’t have the budget for paid advertising, make some great content and encourage your followers to share it!
PPC social advertising can be a very powerful tool to reach both old and new customers during the pandemic. Even if you are not fully open for business, a paid ad on social media letting your customers know how you are moving forward through the pandemic, or announcing when you are opening up certain services, can ensure that business is there when the time comes.
To learn some more great tips on leveraging social media during the pandemic, read our helpful blog post.
Reach Out to Your Loyal Customers
Now is also a good time to reach out to loyal customers via social media, email, or even text. The key here is not to overdo it. Touch base and let them know how your business is handling the challenges, what your future plans are, how your employees are coping, and how much you appreciate the customer’s past patronage. Including a link to some meaningful content like a personalized video can also be very compelling.
Quite often, after reaching out in a more personal context, loyal customers will share your message (and video) in a social media post. People are very aware of the struggles of small businesses right now and will gladly do what they can to spread the word.
Adjust Your Business Model Accordingly
As you are working on your marketing in this time of crisis, you will undoubtedly learn many new things about your industry, your business, and your customers. Being open to change can be the number one thing that helps your business to both survive and thrive in this new world.
So think of your marketing not only as a way of promoting and branding your business, but also as a way of collecting the information you need to make informed decisions about beneficial changes you can make in your overall business model. Even if you are completely shut down for the pandemic, marketing is the best way to interact with your customers or clients to find out if any business decisions you feel compelled to make are the right ones.
If you are still not sure where to begin to market your business during the pandemic, we can help. Contact us for a remote meeting so we can talk about where you are and help you get to where you want to go.