COVID-19 has certainly been a non-discriminatory plague, touching every country, every state, and every business. While business owners are all navigating uncertain waters, the savvy ones are already sensing opportunities and planning for the recovery.
These companies have turned to their marketing and public relations agencies to help them through the crises and chart a course toward the new reality on the other side. They are building awareness and are remaining in the public eye, even if they can’t physically be open. When the distancing requirements are lifted, customers will be thinking of these businesses first.
Planning Your Recovery
Work with your marketing agency to build plans for the weeks and months ahead. Begin by planning for the days right after your employees return to work so they are ready for the influx of customers and consumers.
Sought after by companies worldwide for his deep knowledge of consumer habits and industrial global impact, Jim Glassman, Head Economist for JP Morgan Chase noted in early March, “When the threat appears to be contained, observers will quickly anticipate a rebound in economic activity…”
Glassman continues to advise, “Currently, there is no concrete estimate for containment of COVID-19 in the U.S., but when containment is achieved, it could release a surge of pent up demand.”
If and when this happens you want your product to be fully in stock, marketing materials in place, and campaigns ready to go. The last thing you want is to come out of the gate late. It is better to plan now as we will all have a lot of catching up to do when this time occurs.
So, let’s review the leading ways on how to prepare. Have your agency recommend what your business should be doing currently. Send emails of reassurance and support to customers, letting them know the status of your business. Inform your customers if you are currently closed or have new hours. Are you running special promotions, or offering delivery when you didn’t before? You should also increase your social media activity. Update your business status and hours. Offer any updates or viewpoints of how you or your associates are handling the crisis. Google My Business, Yelp, and your website are all valuable communications vehicles.
Have your marketing agency outline special social media posts for this time that are uplifting. We here at Netwave have helped our clients rejigger marketing budgets during the crisis, while also strategizing how they can project their brand during the social distancing. We’ve helped clients launch virtual tours of their facilities and others communicate important financial updates.
Embrace It to Your Advantage
Instead of pulling all your ads or continuing them as usual with the same verbiage, modify them to acknowledge what is occurring in the world. Change your ads to say, “When the state reopens, so will we!” or something like, “The state may be closed, but we’re still open!” If you have a food and hospitality business, run ads that focus on delivery. While other industries can explore options for online conferencing and webinars to communicate with your customers. There are many ways to keep your company’s name in front of your customers. It’s time for a good old-fashioned brainstorming (virtually of course).
Use Emails to Inform
This is not the time to sell, but to empathize. Everyone is in the same situation. Use emails to help your customers look ahead. Invite customers to sign up for your emails to notify them when your business reopens or goes back to normal hours. Remind them that special offers will be forthcoming. While you’re at it, use this downtime to purge your email list. This important task is often overlooked during busier times but appreciated once it’s been completed. This is also a great time to engage with your customer base on social media. It’s a perfect task for your social media agency. Has there ever been a time when social media use has been higher?
If work has slowed down, that doesn’t mean business stops. Make a contribution in your company’s name to virus relief efforts. Go beyond the obligatory thank yous to the health care workers. Netwave donated free lunches to our area hospitals. It helped the local pizza restaurant stay busy and the health care workers fed (and appreciated). Connect the donations to your mission statement and values.
There’s an abundance of organizations that need your help and assistance. Have your agency suggest a few. There has never been a better time to connect with your key audiences.
Until we as a country can get back to normal, utilize this time to do all those little things you’ve been putting off. Clean out your files, organize your accounts, and plan ahead. Use this time to create a social media calendar for the upcoming months and work with your marketing agency to write social posts and create images. Outline blog posts that you would like to run in the future and start looking into additional topics to write about. Research and layout plans for your business or take an online class to improve in a specific area of your industry. Take this time to review your brand and mission statements to align with this pandemic. Examine each department and find which areas and employees are underperforming. Provide additional support or resources.
Even though many businesses are closed, there is always work to be done within your business and around your community. Many of your markets and consumers will be hit harder than others so take the time to give each the personal attention they need. There may be areas that your business should no longer pursue and other markets that would grow and benefit greatly from extra resources and consideration. Most importantly, stay prepared, stay focused, and stay in touch with your customers.