Marketing Your Small Business or Community in This Time of the COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID ushered in unprecedented times of fear and uncertainty and, yet, life and business must go on.
For local businesses and communities facing the threat of significantly reduced foot traffic - and sales - it's hard to know exactly how to proceed.
I won't pretend to have a proven formula for a time like this but I'll make a few suggestions below to help you, your business, and your community navigate this time.
A Few Helpful Tips
If your business is open, tell people
Post your plans and hours on your website prominently (include on your contact page, your home page, etc.) and post to social media.
Update your Google Business Profile (manage your Google Business Profile and distribute content from your Locable account) and send out an email newsletter including your status.
Ensure You're Mobile Friendly
Restaurants have adopted the use of QR codes for visitors to view their menu however menus are often annoying PDFs that must be downloaded and then you have to pinch-and-zoom to read it.
Use a mobile-optimized menu tool like that included in Locable to present your menu to web searchers and restaurant guests alike.
Share your efforts to keep people safe
In addition to taking all prudent precautions like washing your hands, identify your protocol to keep your business clean and sanitary then communicate what you're doing.
Again, post it prominently on your website, share it to social media, hang a flyer on your door or windows. This is also a chance to share the processes you've had in place all along.
Many people aren't significantly changing buying habits, focus your marketing on them
This situation has revealed that many people are completely freaked out while others are somewhat less concerned and accept that things must go on.
Might I suggest that you don't worry about convincing those who are on the fearful side that they're mistaken, rather work to get the attention of those will are still planning to shop, go out to eat, etc.
Focus on those who are receptive to your message and then create an oasis for them to experience some semblance of normalcy.
Your weaknesses may become a strength
Do you have times that you're quite slow with few customers? Now's a great time to make that known, some people may be more likely to visit you when they know there won't be a crowd.
You can go further by running specials on things that are perishable or introduce a product/offering of the day. This is something you can promote online to stimulate interest even if you don't offer the ability to buy online.
Our Guided Blogging tools make promoting products in this capacity very fast and effective.
It may be the right time to explore an ecommerce option for your business. You don't need to offer every product online to start to move the needle, technically adding ecommerce can be surprisingly easy and affordable though you do need to navigate fulfillment from online shipping to in-store pickup.
Up the personal attention
Most local businesses can't become ecommerce juggernauts but are there opportunities to get started with e-commerce or go further and to provide personal shopper services? This may mean adding the option to do a video call with clients and a virtual store walkthrough.
Perhaps this is a chance for your business to create a subscription service like the many monthly 'boxes' that are now available.
In closing, this is a great opportunity to reevaluate your processes, your marketing, and your goals going forward. Make it easy for your community to participate and feel good about supporting your business.
Don't forget, you've got relationships with other businesses. These can be powerful and mutually beneficial when you choose to cross-promote one another.
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