Very few businesses (if any) are currently operating as usual. There is no telling when we will get back to anything approaching “normal,” whether that’s the old normal or the “new normal” everyone is talking about but cannot quite define. How easy it is to compile a SWOT Analysis, which in most cases remains theoretical assumptions. Who would have ever included COVID-19 or any other pandemic occurrence as part of their main Threat that can impact their business? Exactly! Me neither. But now we are here, facing this enemy head on. No matter the situation or circumstance, if your business is open, albeit in a diminished capacity, you must stay connected to your customers.
How easy it is to compile a SWOT Analysis, which in most cases remains theoretical assumptions. Who would have ever included COVID-19 or any other pandemic occurrence as part of their main Threat that can impact their business? Exactly! Me neither.
Granted, your budget might be lower right now, but there are still plenty of ways you can reach out to customers.
Here are my Tops Tips for Marketing during the COVID-19 Lockdown Period:
Keep Your Customers Informed. All businesses should claim their Google My Business (https://www.google.com/intl/en_za/business/) listing and make sure you keep it updated. Google for Small Business cites that you may need to adjust your business operations during this time. This could mean changing your hours, temporarily closing, or changing the types of products and services you offer. Make sure to share this updated information on all your online channels, like your website, Business Profile on Google, and social media channels. Ensure that your phone number is correct. Put a highlighted notification on your website informing consumers about any updates to your products or services. There are several free tools and plugins that you can use that will create a “notification bar” at the top of your website.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is a Smart Move Right Now. With more people at home in front of their screens, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to use PPC marketing to connect with your customers and gain a competitive advantage. And it’s a great chance to save some money within your digital marketing budget.
Reassure Your Customers. This may not sound like a typical marketing idea, but if your customers do not feel comfortable doing business with you, no marketing idea, no matter how grand, will be effective. Advise your customers across all channels that you are Open for Business.
Send Special Offers via email. Whether you are a restaurant or a retailer if you have products available for sale, you need to let customers know what you have and how to get them. Send an email featuring a menu of products that are available and any limitations on quantity. Do not forget to tell your customers exactly what they should do to order. Have a clear Call to Action. You can have them call and place their order or email their orders to a specific email address.
Be Personal. Not sure what your customers want? Ask them. Send an email asking, “How can we help you?” and ask them to reply with what they need. This also serves as free market research.
Meet Virtually. If you are a service provider, whether B2C or B2B, you can hold online meetings and consultations. Make sure to promote these services on your website and via emails.
Use Online Chat or WhatsApp. As a consumer, one of the features I find particularly helpful is online chat. Many small businesses think these tools are too complicated or too pricey and they are neither. Providing an easy way for customers to get answers whenever they want can make the difference to making the sale or losing it to a competitor.
Take Community Action. Surveys have shown that consumers prefer to do business with companies that are active in their communities, that are socially conscious and give back.
Use this Down Time to Finish Your Digital To-Do Lists. Now that you are not commuting to the office or taking in-person meetings, your schedule has likely freed up some time for you. Those marketing items that may have fallen through the cracks and been overlooked can now be addressed. Perhaps your website needs a fresh look with a redesign. wwwOwww’s Website Design Professionals (https://wwwowww.co.za/) can overhaul your website all while working remotely. This is also a great time to have their specialists perform an audit of your website to ensure your call-to-actions (CTAs) are turning leads into customers. Also, it is an ideal time for them to do a SEO audit of your website to ensure you’re maximising your optimisation strategies.