America is reopening and economic recovery is underway, but things still aren’t business as usual for many of the small, local operations our community relies on.
Some have had to make difficult decisions and significant sacrifices to stay afloat. Others are primed and ready for a rebound and a return to normalcy that can’t come soon enough. Many have adapted, but some have given up and shut their doors for good.
If you’re going to reopen safely, or you need to communicate changes and opportunities to your customers, what are some of the marketing best practices and recommended actions you can take right away?
- Expand Your Services
At a base, fundamental level, what can your company do?
And more importantly, how can you do it differently? Whether it’s adding curbside pickup or delivery, new products to make quarantine life and beyond a little easier, or innovative service available remotely, think of ways your business can stay relevant and accommodate to a post-COVID-19 world.
- Continue to Offer Virtual Meetings
Just because we’ve reopened non-essential businesses doesn’t mean physical distancing guidelines shouldn’t continue. Especially for older adults and those at high risk with pre-existing medical conditions, working and communicating from home will remain the best option for their health and safety.
- Email Your Audience
Communicating changes and updates with your customers and target audience is crucial, especially if you’re returning to the office and fully operational for the first time in weeks. For quickly and effectively getting your message out there to those who need to see and hear it, email is still king. Hundreds of billions are sent every day and, according to Pew Research, more than 90% of American adults are active email users.
Email is often the first check of many morning routines and re-checked multiple times throughout the day. The ROI potential for email campaigns is massive, especially with consumers more likely to subscribe to brand communications if special promotions and timely offers are available.
- Make Social Media Work for You
More than 3.2 billion worldwide social media users are just waiting for you to break through the noise and reach them with your messaging. More than 50 million small businesses are already trying via Facebook — with 90% saying social media has increased their brand exposure.
No matter which platforms you choose to engage with, depending on your target audience and their social media habits or preferences, it’s best to start small and grow organically rather than try to juggle multiple accounts across various networks. If your small business has a stale social media account, it’s better to delete it entirely instead of letting it lay dormant.
The latest innovations are coming in the use of video in social media content, but here are a few important tips:
- Keep videos brief, just a few moments at most.
- Shoot any video using your smart phone or tablet in “landscape” mode — meaning, hold it horizontally!
Your social media presence should be consistent, recognizable and uniform across accounts. Make sure your name, logos, branding and overall tone and style are presenting the same defined identity to each outlet and audience.
- Develop and Refine Customer Engagement and Retention Plans
As customer loyalty and consumer spending are tested like never before amid COVID-19, a tempting and only natural response of many small business owners may be to focus all marketing and messaging efforts on finding new customers to offset any lost.
But casting a wider net won’t yield larger returns, and consumers unfamiliar with your business might be less likely to want to learn more with most families cutting back spending. Retaining your current and recent customers — maybe even re-gaining some you haven’t heard from in some time — is a more important than focusing solely on attaining new ones.
About the Author
Amanda Parker is the founder and president of Collective Alternative, a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations firm focused on the local small businesses whose voices, far too often, aren’t being heard.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis and throughout the community’s ongoing economic recovery, Collective Alternative has published a series of free downloadable resources including marketing, sales and communication tips, customer retention strategies and more. The resource library, “How to Market During a Pandemic – and Beyond: A Small Business Guide for Staying Afloat,” is available at collectivealternative.com/pandemic.
For custom, comprehensive marketing plans, website development, lead generation, social media management and more, contact her at amanda@thecaway to schedule a free one-hour strategy session. To learn more, follow Collective Alternative on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram, or visit collectivealternative.com.