No business is immune to the challenges that the Coronavirus pandemic has brought. From government mandated business closures leading to mass employee layoffs, to issues in the supply chain affecting product delivery for businesses in dire need, there is no singular answer as to how to best weather this public health and economic crises.
So, what do you do when you have closed your doors, sent your employees home, and have no real way to connect with your customers? You must adapt.
As I mentioned above, there is no singular answer as to how to handle this challenge, but there are a few things you can be doing to make sure you stay connected with your customers and prospects. Below, I highlight three marketing activities that you can implement today, at home, and for free. As a bonus, I’ve included one (BIG) don’t at the end!
DO Get Social!
If you don’t have a business Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, or Instagram account, now is the time to get those set-up.
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll have to build your audience, and this can take some time. Friend-request your co-workers, and invite them to like the page. Ask them to invite their friends to like or follow your business account, and it will grow organically from there.
If you already have a social media presence, now is the time to start engaging with your audience! Millions of Americans are working from home, and are social distancing and spending ALOT of time on social media. Start connecting and communicating with them now!
Even if your customers aren’t buying right now, you can stay at the top of their minds by considering their needs and providing value through challenging times. Social media is a personal and instantaneous way to do that.
DO Go Live!
If you’re a one-person show or a small business with a few staff, utilize live video on social media to connect screen-to-screen, with your customers and prospects.
I’ve seen everything from boutique shop owners doing walk arounds of their store and posting new inventory previews, restaurants going behind the scenes with the chef and providing cooking tips, and musicians doing live concerts with open forums. I personally participated in a live yoga class with my local studio.
The key is to get creative with video. You can’t do too much damage by connecting your own trusted team with your customers and prospects. Try hosting a live product demo, or setting up a “BYOP&B (bring your own pet & booze) “yappy” hour on Zoom.
This human element will serve to build a relationship and rapport with your customers and prospects in a unique way.
DO Go Digital!
If you already have a website, and you have the ability to sell your products and services online, there is no time like the present to begin that process of building your e-commerce. It’s fairly simple to do if you already have an inventory tracking system.
Two weeks ago, when the state liquor stores were closed, I began working with a private liquor store to build their e-commerce. We got 200+ products online in just 4-days. As a result, this private liquor store has done a tremendous amount of business, both curbside pick-up and delivery, and made a lot of people happy!
Even if you sell a service, not a product, consider packaging your services into a downloadable course or training, or starting a blog. Educational content that helps to solve customers most pressing problems will always be in demand. So will inspiring videos, creative designs and innovative ideas shared by your company’s leadership.
DON’T Exploit A Crisis!
I highly recommend that you avoid exploiting the Coronavirus situation to make a quick buck. Not only is it wrong but it is also very short-sighted. You are better off spending your time on anything that is long-term (see “Inbound Marketing: 6 Smart Ways to Attract Customers to Your Business“).
If you’re considering running some type of promotion or sale, and are unsure if it is creative and entrepreneurial or opportunistic and exploitative, do this quick test. Ask :
- Does it benefit my customers more than me?
- Will it be good for my business reputation?
- If I weren’t under extreme pressure, would I still do this?
If your answer was “yes” to all three questions, then you are probably good to go. If you had a “no” or a “maybe” in there, you may want to reconsider. Remember to think long-term.
The key here is to be able to adapt and respond to the conditions of the environment and economy. If you can stay in front of and connected with your customers and prospects, you may be able to come out of this crisis even stronger than before.
On a personal note, I wish all of you the best, and hope that this pandemic passes quickly and we can all get back to business! Stay healthy and positive friends!
Elle Speicher is a co-owner and Creative Director for Smartsite Strategies, a full-service marketing agency based in Ligonier, PA. Elle’s topics of interest include marketing strategy, social media marketing, and website and graphic design.