A Guide to Marketing for the ‘Grand Re-Opening’
by Jackson Phipps
“Can I start you guys off with some appetizers?” Over the past couple of months we all missed hearing that phrase and others like it. Phrases which we never thought twice about previously.
We’ve begun a nationwide reopening of businesses that were forced to close down or operate at a severely limited capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, a new challenge is emerging for marketers who need to communicate pertinent information, while trying to gain the loyalty of customers who may still have reservations about interacting with the general public.
Uncertainty abounds, but the time to act is now. If you’re putting together an advertising strategy for a business that is in the process of reopening, here are a few things that you need to keep in mind:
1. Inform Often
Since early March, it feels like government regulations for businesses have been changing on a weekly, if not daily basis. Aside from the mandated restrictions, businesses have put in place their own set of guidelines to keep customers safe and instill peace-of-mind.
Things like whether or not a mask is required, altered hours of operation, store capacity limits, and other health precautions have a direct impact on what type of experience a customer should expect when patronizing a business. For example, if you’re advertising for a salon that requires a mask, you don’t want customers who are unprepared to drive to your store only to realize that they can’t even come in.
Weekly email blasts are a great way to give customers information about your business and bolster their confidence without requiring any work on their part. Not to mention, it’s an effective method for staying top-of-mind.
Each business is handling the situation differently, and customers accept that reality. As marketers, it’s our job to get the details out to the public in order to minimize confusion, hiccups along the way, and frustration.
2. Be Positive
Between the economy, politics, and of course, the pandemic that just seems to keep sticking around, people are looking for something that makes them feel positive and optimistic about the future. At the very least, a pleasant, momentary distraction is always welcome.
The idea of “being positive” seems cliché, but there is a reason clichés persist. Nobody is expecting your business to fix everything that’s wrong with 2020 (if you’ve got all the answers, please speak up). However, serving as proof that everything isn’t broken is a reasonable goal.
Embrace positive messaging like never before and focus on how your company can boost the mood of both individuals and the community. It’s a highly emotional time in this country for a number of reasons, and maintaining a positive sensibility can easily help win over new customers.
3. Customer Appreciation
It’s a term that gets overused to the point where it has lost its meaning, but customer appreciation is vital in a time when bottom lines and profit margins are getting slimmer and slimmer.
Businesses have been presented with a unique opportunity to foster a deeper, more personal relationship with their customers. In terms of how this would apply to digital marketing, there should be an emphasis placed on messaging directed toward thanking customers for their business. Social media channels can be used to highlight positive customer/employee interactions, and testimonials can be used as a conversation-starter for appreciation-related content.
Due to limited options, consumers are more likely to explore new businesses that they had not patronized in the past. Making customer retention a priority could lead to long-term benefits when we return to the new normal.
4. Think Hyper-Local
Let’s revisit the concept of recognizing the role emotion is playing in purchasing decisions. Small businesses that rely on local customers have the ability to use the “local angle” in advertising messaging. Generally speaking, people are more inclined to support their own communities over major corporations. Some may even be willing to pay a bit more if they feel good about where they’re spending their money.
Incorporating your business’s role in the community into marketing messaging can motivate consumers to do their part in supporting the local economy. Additionally, with a high percentage of people still working from home, more customers are looking to stay close to home when making purchases.
Local businesses will always have a special significance to community members. Leveraging the idea of supporting the neighborhood is a great way to inspire action and drive sales.
As advertisers and business owners navigate the reopening process, it’s crucial to steer the narrative in a positive direction. It might be several months before the financial pressures begin to ease, but a full recovery is possible with a thoughtful approach.
If your business needs help getting exposure online, contact 2060 Digital to develop a plan specifically tailored to your needs.