Marketing tips to help small businesses deal with potential losses from the Coronavirus.
The nature of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak and the evolving nature of health and Government advice have, understandably, created high anxiety and extreme concern amid the small business sector.
As small business owners, we can’t be blamed for being unprepared for such a situation as a global pandemic of this nature hasn’t occurred in our living memory.
The good news is that many small businesses, simply due to their size, can quickly adapt and put systems in place that will potentially minimise disruptions and mitigate long term losses.
I am no health expert but I do understand the digital world and how it works.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of technology at our fingertips to assist small businesses to adapt right now should we be advised to stay home and isolate ourselves.
The even better news is there are opportunities for savvy small business owners to not only protect their businesses now but benefit from these troubled times in the long term by expanding their customer base and increasing awareness of their brand.
In this very hastily compiled article, I have put together some ideas below outlining what businesses can do to adapt and diversify in these uncertain times. If these ideas don’t apply to your business, feel free to share this e-blast with small business owners who may benefit from this information.
If I think of any additional ideas I will certainly let you know. In the meantime, if you need advice or assistance on what steps you can take to protect your business during this evolving and volatile situation, please give me a call – I’ll just be sitting here in front of my computer for the next few weeks!
Keep communicating, don’t be silent
Typically, the first thing businesses cut back on in times of uncertainty is marketing. They stop all advertising and reign in their communication with customers in an attempt to save money.
I have always told to do the opposite. When everyone else is silent, make your voice louder.
That might mean continuing your email correspondence, online advertising, social media communication… however you usually communicate with your audience.
Your message is more likely to be heard when your competitors are silent. Therefore, when things do return to normal, you’ve built greater brand awareness and your company name is top of mind when people do require your services or products.
Represent to your customers that your business practices health safety
Coronavirus doesn’t stop refrigerators breaking down, toilets blocking or roofs leaking. Computers crash and TVs stop working.
Consumers will still require the services of reputable tradespeople and professionals even when in isolation.
Small businesses should communicate with their existing customers and to potential customers that they are taking the necessary measures to protect their staff and their customers with vigilant health safety procedures.
If your business involves visiting customers in their home, let them know what health measures you have in place. If you don’t already have systems in place, do it now. Follow the advice from NSW Health before entering the client’s home or business and when you leave.
Importantly, be highly visual in your safety precautions. Your customer will appreciate it.
Additionally, the favourable word-of-mouth referrals will continue long after Coronavirus.
Move aspects of your business online
There are countless opportunities for many businesses that traditionally see customers face-to-face to adapt and migrate to an online environment. If you’re a personal trainer, hold online exercise classes. Conduct business meetings, counselling sessions, training groups, etc, via Skype.
Virtual meetups are quick and cost-effective to set up.
Health authorities have advised we should cancel group gatherings for the immediate future. Birthdays and anniversaries don’t stop during Coronavirus. Opportunities arise for gift shops, florists, etc, to move their customer sales online. If you don’t already have an online shop, get one immediately. If face-to-face delivery options are a concern, offer gift certificates.
Importantly, communicate with your local customers that you’re still available to assist them during these isolating times. Adapt and diversify, especially if your competitors are not!
Encourage people to support local small businesses in these troubled times instead of turning to large online companies. After all, they’ll need you again once this crisis is over.
Assist those who are confined to their home, inspire community spirit
I believe there are fantastic opportunities for local cafes, restaurants, specialist food providers, grocers, etc, to reach out and assist their local community in times of isolation.
Inspire community spirit and encourage people to think local by providing a food delivery service. Think outside the square by offering healthy meals for a variety of age groups and households.
Move to a local online ordering system to make it easy for people to still enjoy your cuisine.
Show your support of your regular customers… Hold an online meet up for your morning regulars or a virtual dinner for customers who live alone. Support local artists and broadcast an online concert.
Want to discuss how you can protect your business now and in the long term during the pandemic?
If you want to discuss concepts or ideas you have to better protect your business from the consumer and market effects of Coronavirus, please don’t hesitate to give me a call direct on 0418 118 401.
I have been assisting small businesses across all industries with their online and offline marketing efforts for 22 years now and, while I’ve weathered various ups and downs during this time, this appears to be something altogether different.
I hope we all pull through unscathed whilst working together in support of each other in business as best we can.
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