As companies continue to navigate these uncertain times, many are looking for ways to attract new customers or stay connected with their audiences. Here are five ways to market your business during Covid-19.
1. Build trust by keeping your audience informed and updated
During these times where uncertainty abounds, you want to make sure you are staying active within your industry and keeping your audience informed and engaged. You want to reassure your customers that you are still around and will still be there once this situation ends. Stay positive, but make sure to build trust with your audience by being honest with them about how the current circumstances are affecting your business or industry and what you are doing in response to Covid-19. Notify them about what you are doing to adapt to these new circumstances and what changes they can expect from you in the future. We don’t know what the future holds, but one thing most people can agree on is there will be significant changes made to the way many businesses operate. Start creating a plan for your future and share with your audience how you plan to keep moving forward.
2. Utilize social media, Google My Business profile, and email
With so many closures and disruptions to our everyday practices, businesses are discovering just how important social media platforms are to staying connected and relevant with customers. If your business is not yet on social media, it’s time to start. There are any number of platforms to choose from, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. And don’t forget to update your Google My Business profile. Indeed, this may be one media platform many businesses are overlooking.
Creating and maintaining a Google My Business profile is especially important for local companies, as you can keep your customers informed of any change in business hours, as well as what services you are currently offering. Many businesses have branched out in recent days to offer online ordering, delivery, and curb-side pickup services. If this is a new service your business has currently started offering, it’s important to keep your customers abreast of these changes. Google My Business also allows you to share posts, similar to social media posts, so you can keep your audience informed on new offers, updates, and events. You can even add photos, videos, or a call to action button, such as Sign Up, Order Online, or a link to your website. This is an easy way to keep your audience updated on any changes you’ve made – such as hours of operation, new delivery services or curb-side to go, or new products and inventory – as well as keeping your customers informed of changes you’ve made to your business to keep both your employees and customers safe during these unsettled times.
But amid all the various social media options, don’t overlook the importance of email. When so many businesses were forced to close recently, many business owners were left wishing they had a more direct way to contact customers. While social media is helpful, businesses have discovered that having the ability to contact customers directly through email is invaluable. If you do not yet have a newsletter or email list, think about starting one. Incentivize your customers to leave their email addresses by offering updates on special events, discounts, or coupons. You can also offer free bonus content, such as online videos, tutorials, recipes, or e-books. However you choose to do it, building an email list and having a means to directly contact customers is crucial during these times.
3. Frequent and relevant content
The worst mistake a business could make right now is staying silent and allowing themselves to fade from the minds of their customers. You want to stay in the forefront of your audience’s minds, both now and when things begin returning to normal. The best way to do this is to create consistent and relevant content. Whatever your preferred social media platform, begin posting daily or weekly articles, videos or podcasts that highlight your expertise. Think about how you can continue to serve your audience during these times of social distancing and partial shutdowns.
One way to do this is by creating posts or videos showing customers how you make the products or food you serve. Some restaurant businesses have started live streaming classes where they teach you how to cook favorite recipes from their menu. Disney World has recently begun sharing recipes on Twitter of their popular theme park desserts for people to make while they’re stuck at home. Many tailors or seamstresses have videos or blog posts demonstrating how to sew homemade masks. Zoos around the country have posted educational videos to entertain and educate children currently out of school, not to mention stay current in the minds of parents who will surely be looking for ways to keep kids entertained once places begin to safely reopen! Libraries have made use of this strategy as well, holding daily online story-time for children unable to attend in person just yet.
Whatever your business, strategize how you can utilize your social media platforms to engage your audience and add value and enrichment to their lives. Teach your audience how to build summer furniture, lay a patio, mix your own fun summer cocktails, paint a picture, write compelling fiction, plant a victory garden, take picture perfect portrait, or showcase any number of skills unique to your business.
4. Adapt to online options
Businesses of all shapes and sizes are being forced to pivot and adapt, from offering more work from home options, to reducing the number of patrons allowed in their store at any one time. Offering online ordering, delivery, or carryout options will help you stay ahead of the curve, no matter what the future brings. If you don’t already have an online store, create one now.
If you’re in a service-oriented business, such as consulting, marketing, insurance sales, or financial advisement, there are still ways to bring your business online. You can schedule online appointments, hold over-the-phone consultations, or utilize video calls in lieu of face-to-face meetings. Tools such as Calendly, Square Appointments, and Zoom are excellent options for meeting with your clients virtually.
Even with states beginning to open up and some businesses allowed to reopen their doors, many customers may not feel safe or comfortable enough yet to visit brick and mortar stores. There is also the possibility of a second wave, more shutdowns, or any number of unforeseen events that might impact your business. In our current climate of fear and uncertainty, offering online services, video consultations, and delivery or curbside pickup options which limit people’s exposure to crowded stores and shopping centers will put your customers at ease and help your business weather whatever new storm may be brewing.
5. Give back to your community
In addition to building trust, staying connected through social media, creating new and relevant content for your audience, and offering online services, it is also important to show your customers that you are willing to give back to your community.
Businesses around the country have begun offering free or discounted services and content in order to ease the discomforts and financial strain placed on their customers. For example, Smashwords instituted an Authors Give Back sale, offering free and discounted books just when schools and businesses around the country were beginning to shut down. The New York Times is currently offering free online stories and content for a limited time to help consumers stay informed of important local and global events. Many restaurants are donating food and meals to local foodbanks to support the people in their communities who have been hardest hit.
While this may be difficult for businesses already struggling financially, anything you can do to show your support and solidarity with your community during this time – whether it’s donating food or face masks, or offering discounts or coupons to customers – will not only help build trust and goodwill between yourself and your audience, but it will also expand your exposure to new potential customers. What can your business do to support your community, first responders, and customers during these turbulent times?
With all the uncertainty in the world right now, your customers depend on you to keep them engaged and informed while being compassionate about any hardships they might be facing. Need help figuring out where to begin and how to adapt your business? We can help! Reach out to the Fresh team and let’s talk!
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