During these uncertain and unsettling times, many restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and other small businesses are being ordered to close or make serious operating adjustments. Foot traffic is rapidly falling everywhere. Local and family-owned businesses everywhere are encouraging communities to continue showing their support. Some have already, unfortunately, had to close their doors due to government mandates. We are hopeful that these are temporary closures but, in some cases, they may become more permanent. It is important to remember that for many of our small businesses, this is their primary source of income.
HOW CONSUMERS CAN HELP:
Take advantage of the take-out and delivery options
Many local eateries are still open for business for take-out and delivery. They are making the necessary efforts to continue offering your favorite meals. Many have implemented curbside pick-ups or other amended practices.
Buy gift cards
Check with local shops and restaurants to see if they’re offering gift cards use at a later date. Many small businesses are not very liquid. This means that they don’t have a lot of cash on hand. Purchasing gift cards and promising future business can help local business owners create a quick financial plan for the future and cover the costs of operation currently.
Call and place an order for a later date
Even if local boutiques aren’t open for business today, you can still call and place an order. Some local shops participate in Facebook live sales or online orders. You can always call and inquire about placing an order and picking it up at a later date.
Don’t forget to support your local artists.
Commission work if you are able to. The performing arts are taking a huge hit not being able to perform live. Buy tickets to a future show or consider making a donation to your local theater if you are able. Buy a local musician’s CD, digital download, or merch!
HOW TO CONTINUE MARKETING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS:
Take this time to continue building relationships with your customer base.
This virus, too, shall pass. Consumers will return to the streets looking for a bite to eat and to all their former activities. Keep your brand at their forefront and maintain your relationship by continuing to spread brand awareness rather than trying to restart down the road.
Stay up to date and relevant on social media.
With softening sales, you might find that your customer lifetime values are declining. It might be tempting to pull out of the social media marketing game. However, now may actually be the time to consider raising the bar on your ROI for marketing spend when it comes to social media. With people remaining in their homes, social media consumption is at an ALL TIME HIGH. With the widespread of school closures and nationwide closures of bars and other activities, social media apps favored by Gen Z and millenials will continue to see increased user behavior.
Post photos of inventory and offer Facebook live sales or phone orders.
With the rise in social media consumption NOW IS THE TIME to post, post, post! Darwin once said, “Those who survive are not the strongest or the most intelligent, but the most adaptable to change.” The world as we know it is still here and it will return to its former glory. For the time being it will just look a little different.
In working to adapt to these changes, small retail businesses can post photos of their latest inventory or popular items. You can also take advantage of Facebook live sales, taking the time to show off some of your items and talk to your customers. This is a great way to stay interactive and continue building those relationships and getting some face-time with customers eagerly looking for human connections during this lock-in. Another key component to going Facebook live for sales is that followers will get a notification when your video starts! This will prompt them to participate.
Reach customers everywhere they are online.
Target prospects with display ads based on the searches they perform across the web. If you’re a restaurant we can target people who visit your competitor’s website, GrubHub, UberEats, or other meal delivery services. Ads can be served to users who have searched within 15 seconds, 15 minutes, or 15 days from the time of their original search.
We can even show ads to people that have visited your website after they leave. Retargeting helps remind someone of your business as they continue browsing the internet, whether they’re on social media, their favorite news site or researching your competitors.
Focus on your long-term growth.
The short term may appear gloomy. You may have a newly slashed marketing budget and it can be tempting to dump it all into the short-term efforts for performance marketing ad sales promotion. However, for the next few weeks, hot deals are not going to be what gets consumers to spend money during these uncertain times. It is more important to stay relevant in their minds ESPECIALLY in their social media feed.
Mark Ritson of Marketing Weekly wrote, “The wheels of industry need to keep turning so workers are paid and families are fed. Those wheels are best greased by effective marketing”. We need to work to drive demand. Marketing for the long-term and maintaining brand awareness is going to be what gets our businesses out to the other side of this.
Communication is key in times of crisis.
It is critical to keep lines of communication open with your customer during this time. Social media, email marketing, and direct mail are great ways to connect with your customers and share important information. Tell us what you need – we’re here to help your business through this stressful time.