Recently, 20Eight’s co-founder Mark Dickie had the pleasure of co-hosting a webinar with the Barrhaven BIA.
Mark discussed the importance of maintaining communication with customers and nurturing new relationships during this time, as both will be extremely valuable when the economy re-opens and business resumes. He also shared ideas as to how businesses big and small can achieve this, no matter what the current status of their business may be – temporarily closed, working at a more limited capacity, or still open for business.
We encourage you to watch the video of the session, which includes questions and insights from participants. You can also read through the notes and key takeaways:
If your intention is to be in business when the opening of the economy happens, it is extremely important that you maintain a market presence during this time – even if your business is closed.
Digital marketing is the game changer this time around when comparing to previous recessions. For FREE or very inexpensive investments, ambitious competitors can very easily hijack your existing client relationships.
Going dark (communications) during this time may be the costliest decision you can make.
- Get into that fighter mode (someone said yesterday – its time to get out of the basement)
- You want to win – so create an environment in which you WILL win!
- Be thinking about what your business will look like post-economy opening and post-COVID (18-months out)?
- Do you need to rebuild your business model? i.e. Retail businesses with high daily traffic (optometrists):
- Are you scaling back your operations to respect new rules?
- Are you expanding opening hours and having staff work either daytime or evening schedules to maintain the revenue levels you were used to?
- How does your restaurant survive with 50% capacity? Do you adopt the Australian staffing model?
- Take time to look at the big picture for your business
- Its a great time to evaluate everything you used to do and are now doing. How do you come out of this – Leaner, Faster, Stronger.
Examples of things business are doing to keep in touch with their customers:
- Yogatown, Elevate Spin and Goodlife Fitness offering on-line group classes
- A dental clinic advertising they are offer virtual consults (great way to hijack competitor relationships)
- Hair stylists like Exhalo that are sending hair colouring kits to their key clients. Important to keep this up monthly.
- Restaurants that have chosen to stay open. Serving their core clients and (if getting the word out) introducing their businesses to new customers for the first time.
THINGS YOU CAN DO THAT ONLY REQUIRE TIME
This crisis has given us a valuable gift – “time”.
- Is your Website content fresh and current? This is an excellent time for a website tune up -sweep your site, updating out of date content, adding new content and making sure your site is putting on “it’s best face” to the public.
- By the way, do you have Google Analytics set up on your website and are you tracking goal completions (i.e. form completions, click-to-call mobile, get directions, make a reservation, etc.)? If the answer is no… time to do this is now. Know your data.
- If you can afford the investment, this is a perfect time to rethink your website strategy and launch a new one. The life span for most sites is maximum 2 to 3 years if you wish is to remain contemporary in the eyes of your customers and prospects.
- Same thing goes for all your social media sites. Is your content complete and up to date? Images too!
eMail Customer Lists
Scenario A: You have a list – have you used it at all in the past 6-weeks?
- Are you using an eMail platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact or Drip?
- If not, its time to transform this part of your business to digital
- Have you taken the time to segment your lists by:
- Clients (key & secondary)
- Industry (supplier, partners, etc.)
- Former Clients
- Have you cleaned out all defunct emails and old contacts?
Scenario B: You don’t have a list
- Then get to it! 😊
- Great reason to call your clients, ask them for their emails and permission to add them to your email list. Let them know they will be able to unsubscribe at any time
- Most email platforms have FREE plans
- Implement a policy that you start collecting client emails with all transactions. Most POS systems offer this feature. Make sure it is integrated with your eMail platform.
- If you are building out your list for the first-time segment it. Do it right!
Now that you have your list in shape, start using it. But First. Create a plan of what you:
- Want to say
- When you want to say it
An example: A restaurant decided to close when the shutdown orders were issued but after 6-weeks have decided some cash flow may be better than no cash flow, so they are opening for takeout. Communicating to their community on how they are exercising social distancing, cleaning / disinfecting, staffing health, etc. is key. Staff and customers want to feel that a safe environment is established.
Scenario C: Drip/Nurturing Campaigns
This requires an investment, but it will provide an ROI for you for years.
A drip campaign is a tactic used in direct marketing to acquire customers through lead nurture programs. It involves sending marketing information to prospects repeatedly over longer periods of time in order to nurture prospects or leads through the marketing funnel.
Use an incentive with an incentive to exchange their email address and name.
Example: Turpin Kia
Have you been keeping your social sites active or did you go dark on March 18? If you went dark, get them active.
Evaluate your insights? What percentage of your followers are in your business’ trading zone?
If you have 200 or less FB followers, chances are they are family or friends. What is your plan to build more followers?
Evaluate your social media platforms? Are they the right fit to communicate with your potential customer?
Your Google my Business Listing
This is the most important social media site you have. More prospects will first learn about you organically through your GMB listing than any other source. Is all your information current, when was the last time you posted update pictures, content and when you re-opened you use it to promote events, news, updates, etc.
Active GMB lists are viewed favorably by Google’s algorithms and will positively impact your local placement on search engine results pages (SERP) and Google Maps.
Do you have video content laying around gathering dust? Create a YouTube channel and start populating. It is a great cross-channel source for posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram, etc.
It takes time to build a YouTube following but when it reaches that tipping point it can take off.
Streaming video is up at least 61% in the past month.
Always wanted to add a Useful Articles / Blog section to your website… Its the perfect time to start and for most website platforms it is a very low cost to set up a new section on your site.
Great content for sharing via eMail campaigns and on your social sites. Also – its another checkbox for Google indexing.
Speak to Your Customers in Person
Have you called your key clients to say hi, ask how they are doing and to see if there is anything you can do to help?
If a more formal meeting is required set up a Google Meet’s or ZOOM call. Maintain that contact.
THINGS YOU CAN DO THAT ONLY REQUIRE TIME
If you can afford to advertise, even if your budget is small – do it BUT make sure your messaging is not tone deaf.
Potential customers are on-line. In addition to streaming movies, late night shows, listening to music or podcasts they are also doing their research on their next big purchases.
For most businesses, their website traffic is still strong. Search activity is strong.
The advantage businesses have today compared to previous recessions is that digital offers an inexpensive alternative to traditional medias (TV, billboards, radio, print) BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, you can cut all the waste traditional medias have buy using audience targeting to focus in on your key customer profile within a prime geographic area.
Example: If I have a business that has many competitors across the city, why would I use radio or TV when during these times my audience will come from within 5KM or less of my business’location? If I am a destination business that people will come back to from across the city post-COVID then there is argument to mass advertise but if cash is tight focus on your key market, geographically and audience.
- Low hanging fruit – people in market for what you offer
- Richmond BMR – Name campaign searches are up 314% April 1 to 20 compared to March 1 to 20
Facebook / Instagram
- Excellent and inexpensive way to advertise to a highly targeted audience within a specific geotarget
- For less than a $100 week (ad spend) you can speak to thousands of prospects just in Barrhaven each week
- Boosted posts
Streaming Audio ads
- If you are a traditional radio advertiser or always felt it was too expensive to be on the radio Spotify, TuneIn, SoundCloud are excellent “affordable” alternatives with a key advantage that you can zone in on your key demographics, geotarget and audience targeting.
- Same as above. You can use these channels to advertise locally without the wastage of advertising to people outside your demographic and geographic target.
- Google Display Network, other publisher platforms.
- Same as above
- Great tool to reach business types and influencers within organizations – you can manage your budget and
Direct mail campaigns | Not a lot of competition in your mailbox
- Addressed or geo-target
Use the time now to plan out your promotions for when you can reopen (retail).
If you keep a good open line of communication with clients, and, nuture new relationships with prospects you are taking out insurance that your business will come out of this stronger than you went into it.
Do what your competitors are not doing. Be the purple cow in a good way. And own the share of mind you have built up over the years.
Know someone who may find this useful? Please share it with them! The more knowledge our local businesses have, the stronger they will be once this is all behind us.