Is your business reopening after a period of being closed? By using the right marketing techniques, you can finally let your cherished customers know that you are open again.
The COVID-19 outbreak has turned our lives upside down. While the physical and emotional impact of the virus is huge, the pandemic has also had a financial impact, especially on small businesses.
After a long period of confinement, factories, offices and schools are partially reopening.
But reopening your shop in the time of the pandemic cannot be an overnight thought. Only by proper planning and use of the right marketing techniques, coupled with new safety policies and procedures, can you successfully reopen.
Editor’s note: If you don’t have a business website, now is the time to get one. Put your business online in less than 10 minutes with Online Starter Bundle.
Create a reopening plan
Making your reopening plan well in advance is a vital part of your marketing strategy. It also builds trust and confidence among your employees and customers that you are looking out for their safety.
Here are a few factors to consider before reopening:
You need to ensure that you reopen your business in compliance with the central and state guidelines. So your first step is to find out what they are.
For instance, the state may mandate stringent protocols in physical distancing and sanitation. They could also require every employee and customer to wear masks and gloves in your location and also in your industry.
Irrespective of the nature of your business, reopen only if you are ready to protect employees at higher risk for severe illness (i.e. those with lung problems, type 2 diabetes, severe obesity or serious heart diseases).
Develop a plan for monitoring your employees’ health, with a particular focus on spotting COVID-19 symptoms early.
Deep-cleaning, sanitizing and reorganizing furniture for maintaining distance are just some of the safety measures to begin with. Make a list of everything you need to do to get your business customer-ready. Then mark out on a calendar how long this will take.
If you’ve been shut down, talk with your partners and vendors for supply chain, logistics and other support. If you’ve been operating in a limited capacity, plan ahead on how you can increase your inventory once business speeds up.
Time to go digital
The world has changed quite a lot over the months of lockdown and traditional marketing techniques may not work in the new world.
Hence, your focus should be on building a digital strategy. Here’s your checklist of tasks:
1. Create or strengthen your online presence
The first and most important marketing technique is to have a user-friendly website. Even after lockdowns are lifted, people will prefer to shop online as a precautionary measure. So, if you still don’t have a website, it is time to take your business online.
If you already have a well-built website, you need to work towards improving it. You may refresh your website with new hours, discounts and your comeback strategy. Or you can improve your website with the latest features like:
- Mobile-friendliness, so customers can use your site on their mobiles
- Voice search to help them find what they want quickly
- Chatbots to handle routine customer queries
- Quick contact forms and more
Add online shopping to your business
Remember that the lockdown might be lifted, but the pandemic is not yet over. Don’t be too surprised if people are reluctant to venture into your store very soon.
With online stores becoming the in thing, you should consider opening an eCommerce store to sell your product to those customers.
Marketing techniques like this meet customers where they are, allowing them to buy your products or services in a way they’re comfortable with.
All you need to do in that case is send your local customers a text or a WhatsApp message and update them about this option.
2. Update your social media pages
While you kept your customers engaged with light social posts and tidbits during lockdown, now you need to get creative about the marketing techniques you use on social media.
Messaging across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp has increased 50% in countries hardest hit by the virus.
Your customers are spending more time on social media. In light of this, you’ll want to document your comeback – at every step – on all the social media pages where you have active business profiles.
You can use custom cover photos on your social media profiles — even record a video message for a more personal touch.
3. Refresh your digital marketing campaign
A vital step in any marketing plan is to create or rethink your digital marketing outreach. For this, you need to examine the marketing techniques you were using before the pandemic.
Keep in mind that you may not be able to rely solely on organic (aka unpaid) social media and email marketing to bring in customers. You may need to try paid marketing campaigns, such as:
- Geofencing ads to connect with local area customers
- Google retargeting ads to reach people who visited your website before COVID-19 closures
- PPC ads to find customers searching for a business similar to yours
Think about finding a strategic partner who can help you out with your digital marketing plan. There’s no need to do it all yourself — you have enough to do.
Come back with a bang!
Now that you have a list of the three big tasks on your plate, here are some ideas to bring customers back to your business:
Give them a post-coronavirus update
Before you reopen, let customers know what to expect, and share updates about what has happened since you closed your doors.
If you are reopening your gym, tell your customers about your sanitization process with an assurance of a deep cleaning.
If you own a restaurant, you can inform your new and existing customers about new menu items. If you have a list of contacts of your clients, notify them on email, SMS and social media pages on when and how you are reopening.
Announce a sale or promotion
To make your comeback with a bang, one way to excite consumers is through the launch of a sale or promotion. You could:
- Create bundles that combine older items with new products
- Offer old stock at deeply discounted rates
- Introduce free shipping or offer a flat percentage discount
- Try a buy-one-get-one-half-price deal
Even if you are in the services industry, consider what value you can offer to your customers and design a plan to reach those people in need. For example, if you run a hair salon, there will be an onslaught of people needing haircuts. You might bundle some offers with a hair cut or offer small discounts for multiple cuts.
Check out this post for details on how to set discount prices that will bring in customers but won’t cause your business to lose money.
Look for new ways to meet customer needs
Remember, we are living in uncertain times and the way we do business needs to change.
Whether it’s about gaining new customers or choosing the right digital marketing techniques, you will need to adapt and continue to respond to changing circumstances — something many are calling the ‘new normal.’
Choosing the right reopening strategy is the first step in this direction. Now that it’s time to finally let your cherished customers know that you are open for business. All the best!