Across the United States, COVID-19 related quarantines are slowly (or, in some cases, quickly) lifting. Many states are rolling out phased transitions back to “normal” – whatever normal is anymore.
For a small business owner, what does the lifting of quarantine mean for marketing your business? Do you keep holding back until you can completely return to normal business? Do you start an aggressive push, hoping customers are ready to spend again? If you’re short on cash, can you even afford to do marketing right now – and should this be the priority? What are buyers even thinking and how can you position your business for optimal rebound?
Let’s begin with mindset – the most important part of business ownership. Then we’ll break it down into some practical application.
First, I want to encourage you to lean on your instincts. If you’ve run a successful business so far, you’re doing something right which means you already have a idea of how to work with your ideal clients and draw them in at the right time. Don’t short change your own strengths as an entrepreneur. (On the flip side, if your business hasn’t been very successful before or during COVID, this may be the perfect opportunity to talk to a business coach or get a marketing consultation and hit reset.)
Challenge your assumptions. It’s easy to convince yourself that the economy is tanking and no one has any money to spend and it’ll be a year before they buy from you. Not true. Your job right now is to give your business your best effort and act as though you have willing customers lining up as soon as you can open. If you assume and act on the worst case scenario, you will only be guaranteeing failure.
Marketing is not for now, it’s for later. As I’ve been preaching a lot lately, marketing is a long-term play. The messaging your audience sees now is what will cultivate their buy in two or three months (at the soonest). Imagine what your buyers will be ready for in two or three months – that’s what you want to market now through that time period. If some are ready sooner, great. What you put off now will only put off the buyer purchase later.
Okay so what does all this actually mean for me and my small business? It means keep marketing. Or start back up now, not later. If you have a marketing budget, use it. If you don’t, spend some extra time on what is free for you to do yourself – emails, social media, LinkedIn messaging, blogging… Create a marketing plan for the next 3 months – a plan that you follow starting now.
Now, let’s get practical. What can you do for your marketing that is cost-efficient and still effective?
Marketing at its core is a conversation with your followers. You can do plenty of that on a tight budget. Here are great ways to keep up with customers or potential customers without spending much.
Send a weekly email. Make this human. Check in, let your readers know you’re thinking of them and you can’t wait to see them in your store/salon/outlet/shop again soon. If you have any online products or services, remind them these are available. Keep them updated on your re-open plans. Be careful about making your emails too much about sales and not enough about addressing the reality of life during COVID. You want a good mix of both.
Get on video. Social media posts are great, but this is the time to show a more personal side of yourself which is best done on video. Introduce yourself or a team member. Share a tutorial. Talk about why you started your business in the first place. Show your family. Share something about you that’s not commonly known – a fun fact. Be friendly and conversational.
Text or DM customers. Those loyal clients of yours deserve extra attention right now. Send them a personal message and let them know you miss them.
If you do have a marketing budget and can run paid ads, do it. People are spending a lot of time online right now and there’s a good chance your competition isn’t spending as much as usual. These factors make for a good time to run ads.
I’d love to know if any of this was helpful for you, if you have any questions I didn’t address and what you’re doing to market your business that’s working right now. Drop a comment below!
If you’re preparing for a serious business comeback in the coming months, make sure you take a look at what our agency can do for you.