First of all I like to say we are still open and intend doing so. It might eventually mean working from home, but we will continue to be here for you to help with your marketing.
What can we do for you at this time is probably what you are thinking.
Well here are some ideas that I know some of you are doing, but as this is going to all the businesses we have assisted with their marketing I’m hoping you will get some new ideas to implement as well:
• Get on your social media pages and simply say “We’re still open”. Sounds simple but the main noise is about who is closed, those open need to fight for their fair share of voice. Advise days & times. And consider putting a “We’re open” sign in front of your business. It’s going to make you look like a champion – a local champion.
• Remind people you are local. It appears that people are starting to understand the importance of local businesses; as an employer, a club supporter, as having stock on hand, as a place to meet (when you were allowed to).
• What business can be done online with your business? Does your web site need updating?
• Can you offer home delivery? If so tell your customers, be it social media, email, traditional advertising.
• Send a letter, yes in an envelope with a stamp, to your best customers. More people are at home during the week than before. To actually see a post person deliver something to their mailbox will be quite exciting for them. Imagine getting a letter from one of their favourite businesses saying how you are going to survive COVID-19, what changes you are
making (home delivery for example, click & collect for example), any offers, and how you wish them the best in the current circumstances. This is powerful long-term stuff.
• Support other local businesses. I don’t think I need to expand on why.
Traditional advertising media is actually experiencing an upturn in audience numbers. People are seeking more trusted media for the latest COVID-19 updates, plus more people are at home, maybe multi-screening, but as other entertainment options are shrinking, home entertainment is now the in-thing. Opportunity here to sell latest model TV’s, more comfy lounge chairs, sound-bars, etc. Plus the media are keen, real keen for business.
Make suggestions as to how people spend their time at home, using the products you sell. For example post a competition on your social media to send in photo’s of them getting dressed up in their after 5 wear to watch the final of Dancing With The Stars. Or photo’s of them in the kitchen cooking a special dish when Masterchef starts (April 3). Basically give people a reason to take a photo of themselves showing off what you sell.
• Can you offer something different. A florist who does deliveries, now offers to deliver other business products. After all they’ve already got the infrastructure in place, only what they are delivering has changed. What else can you do with your infrastructure?
• Can you get a bigger slice of the agricultural market? This market is possibly one that won’t be seriously affected by COVID-19, they largely self isolate already. Plus confidence is higher since recent rain.
If you going to start advertising again, please check what you are going to run. What may have been socially acceptable a month ago, may not be now. Socialising close together, passing food to another person, licking ones fingers are now no-no’s.
• With more stores closing, not to be re-opened, market share increase opportunities arise. This may not be presently mean more dollars as the market has shrunk, but an increase in percentage share can pay off big time when the pandemic is over. Remind people what you sell, particularly some of your minor lines, you may find you might be one of the few places people can get them locally. By my count 6 nationals with stores in Rockhampton have closed today, not likely to re-open.
• Collaborate, I touched on this yesterday, but consider if the locally owned businesses of Rockhampton and the Coast were listed on 1 web site, had 1 media campaign happening, had 1 Facebook page, etc., how powerful would all that be now, as people do appear to be more pre-disposed to supporting local businesses where possible and practical. Make it easy for them to know more about your business. Not just what you sell, but who you are and why you put your neck (house) on the line to do what you do. Show some passion.
• People are getting tired of reading about more covid-19 carriers and measures taken to curtail it (information overload)
Coffee and cooking is gaining more interest with those working from home (how can I make a better coffee at home) growing interest in stories of how others across the world are creatively spending their time in self-isolation
• what’s the next hot video game
• community building feel good stories (who is genuinely helping our community, if perceived as being opportunistic that will gain much interest too, but not the sort you want, note Harvey Norman example)
• Distrust in business and government is building, something to consider with the point above. The Banking Royal Commission possibly brought this to researchers attention, however social media probably has been festering it for some time. Be careful how your motives can be interpreted.
• What you may get from this is that Master Chef might be more popular with viewers than last year. If you have any coffee secrets, share them. Share any content you’ve come across of creative ways people are spending their self isolation time. How can my business/organisation sincerely help the community (and it be interpreted that way).
Hats Off To: The 3 local owned businesses in Parkhurst Shopping Centre who are offering one food pack between them, with free home delivery. And to Len Bauer Massage for doing massages via Skype (that will get you thinking). Also the attitude of a takeaway food shop in East Street who is seeing new customers because there are less options open for lunch – what a market share growth opportunity he says.
P.S. With all the cleaning of hands, they are drying out, hand creams will see more demand as people seek to moisturise their skin.
If the covid-19 home detention ends April 30, what are your business or organisation’s marketing plans for April 28.
Today’s idea is more a thought starter. Are you prepared for when the pandemic is declared effectively over. Yes, the day the supermarkets are over run with people wanting refunds for their excess toilet rolls.
Will your business be ready to spring from the starting blocks, or have you had a 2 day start already.
Let’s assume somewhere down the track the government starts to issue media grabs that the worse is over and the lifting of the recommended home detention is imminent. These announcements might be 48 hours before it happens. What do you do? Tell your customers you will be ready for them. Don’t wait for the announcement and get trampled in stampede of similar messages. And have a welcome back offer prepared now. One client is not only already working on this but is getting neighbouring non-competing clients to also have offers ready for her to advertise, to give people more reason to come her way. And asking these businesses to likewise. Collaboration.
Also think about why people shop, play sport (if you are a club), basically use your services. There is a social side as well as to satisfy a physical need. Your customers may have been effectively hibernating and want to talk as much as shop. How do you prepare for this in your business. Here may be a way to help the earliest victims of the pandemic, coffee shops and pubs. If your business is more one to one, take your important customers for a coffee or a counter lunch. If serving several people at a time offer free coffee vouchers (they don’t necessarily want to talk with you, they want to talk to anyone other than those they have been stuck with for the past weeks).
Now if your customers do respond over enthusiastically to being released from their homes and hit your business, will you be ready for it. I imagine stock orders have been cut, how quick will they take to restock to pre covid-19 levels. Just something to think about.
And when the customers do return, greet them as long lost friends, I think we will value them a bit more after getting through this.
Obviously not every business is going to get the same response when the detention is lifted. Some may never get back to what they once were. Use this time to think, should I reinvent my business, how covid-19 will have changed behaviours (maybe the firm handshake will disappear) and what new opportunities it brings.
This advice is general in nature and may not be suitable for your particular business circumstances. These are just ideas, not recommendations. I just hope they are of some help.
Anyway, I hope you get something from these ideas. If you need signs, web site updated, a customised shop local message, write a letter to your customers, media campaign organised give me a call, we’re here to help you.