As I write this piece from my desk that I fashioned entirely from toilet paper, panic is sweeping the country as we prepare for what looks to be a very quiet Summer due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
For some businesses, the first thing to be culled is their marketing budget, but it’s important to note that there are now more people are at home on their devices than ever. For online businesses, this is a massive opportunity to flex their digital muscles and think creatively. For offline businesses, maybe now is the time to think about upping your online presence.
Marketing is all about pivoting, what is in the best interest of your end-user? How can you modify your business to help them through this?
I’ve attached some tips below that I am following for my own clients to help turn this very big negative into a positive.
#1 – Digitise Your Services
For those who rely on footfall to keep their business afloat, it’s imperative to bring your services online. At a time when people are isolating at home, bring your business to them rather than the other way round.
For some, this could mean taking advantage of e-commerce and turn to shipping/delivering their goods. Amazon are absolutely rolling in it since this epidemic started, so providing a local alternative could be the answer you’re looking for.
Hairdressers, beauticians, masseuses, set up an account on Booksy and come directly to your customers. Just bring hand sanitiser!
Butchers and greengrocers, take the Tesco route and deliver your customers food directly to their door using an online booking system.
Psychiatrists, music teachers, life coaches and personal trainers – use the power of video to deal with your clients via live-chat or pre-recording. Providing one-to-one coaching via Skype or set up a subscription service where users can download a series of lessons if they don’t require individualised tutoring.
#2 – Gift Vouchers
If you’re currently unable to provide a service to your customers, offering them a reduced-cost gift voucher that can be redeemed at a later date is a great method of ensuring you maintain a steady income when footfall is low.
Create a landing page on your website where gift vouchers can be purchased, then make sure you e-mail them all once you’re back open so they can redeem them!
Alternatively, if your service requires a monthly membership fee, offer a reduced rate for those who (kindly) continue to pay for your service, even if they aren’t able to use it. This reduced fee could entitle them to 2 free months at the end of the billing period, leaving everyone happy.
#3 – 2021 Offers
Venues will be taking a huge hit, with large gatherings set to be banned until further notice. Weddings, concerts and festivals are all set to be cancelled, which will see many big events postponed until 2021.
If you’re a festival, wedding or music venue, make a big push with your 2021 offers. Many people book these events months in advance, so offer a discount for an “extra-early” discount.
For those cancelling their PPC and SEO services, consider that 2021 bookings will now begin to get very competitive across a range of industries. Leveraging SEO and PPC to gain a first page ranking for your area of business could be more important than ever.
#4 – Look Inward
If business is still ticking along, albeit slightly quieter than usual, then now is a better time than ever to tackle your maintenance checklist. Does your site need an overhaul? Can internal processes be improved?
Search engines love a technically-sound website. Is your site as fast as it can be? Does your URL structure make sense?
Use this time to cast an eye across your business and spot major holes that could easily be exposed once the masses start flocking in. Why do you think road maintenance happens at night time?
#5 – Be Resourceful
For whatever profession you are in, there will be someone who wants to learn how to do it. Spend some time creating some awesome content to help others on their journey to not sucking at something.
Resourceful training videos, guides and blog posts are all loved by Google, because they are loved by people! Use your free time to show off your smarts and help others in the process. Win-win!
#6 – Start Giving a Shit
The tips above won’t help everybody, some businesses are going to seriously struggle in this climate, so will a lot of people.
Amongst the panic buying, hoarding and fighting, there is some good in all of us. Everyone’s immediate reaction is to self-preserve, but what about those who aren’t able to?
Reaching out to local businesses who are struggling, charities lacking resource or people who are unable to leave their homes will be critical over the next few months.
Not every action needs to recoup some profit, but working together might be our only chance of saving some local businesses that may not survive otherwise. Paying a larger tip, going out of your way to use their services (even if they may cost a bit more) and helping to promote them on your own social media/website takes very little effort – but can make a big change.
If you’re off work, find a Facebook group that helps deliver food/medicine to those who are quarantined and do your part. Raise some money for charity by doing something stupid. Call your Mum! All these things can help bring positive change in this negative situation