Let’s face it: Figuring out how to direct your marketing efforts is difficult, at best, when unemployment numbers are high, consumer spending is low, and uncertainty is the only certainty.
However, marketing is imperative to keep your business afloat.
A solid marketing plan has the following traits:
Fortunately, we’ve done some of the work for you. Here, we share the steps you should take to successfully reopen your business.
Week 1 – Preparing to Reopen
It is essential to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local officials when you reopen. Make sure that all safety measures are in place before the first day.
From there, do the following in the week leading up to reopening.
- Review your competitors’ websites to see how they’re handling reopening. Learn from their successes and their failures.
- Prepare a written reopening guidelines policy and distribute it to employees.
- Update your website with a statement about COVID-19 if you have not already done so. Make sure to include details about the steps you’re taking to make your business safe for employees and customers.
- Highlight any changes to your business including changes in your hours of operation, occupancy limits, and delivery service.
- Create a public announcement about your reopening. Highlight the most important details about the reopening policy and include a link to the full statement.
- Create custom graphics to go with the written announcement.
- Post the announcement on social media and email it to your customer list.
- If you can, spend a little money to boost your announcement post to make sure your target audience sees it.
- If your business hours have changed, make sure to update your listings on Google and review websites such as Yelp.
Assuming it’s legal to reopen in your area, you may still have some work to do to make sure that your customers trust you to prioritize their safety. Always keep in mind your customer demographic and the measures you need to take to ensure they feel comfortable at your place of business.
These steps will help you reopen safely while communicating the most important information about reopening with the public.
Week 2 – Reopening
Unless your company is a global brand such as Apple, you’ll need to invest time and effort into getting customers to return.
- Add signs and notices outside of your building (or buildings) to let passers-by know that it’s open. This is the kind of low-key and inexpensive marketing that can make a big difference in your foot traffic.
- If necessary, include written guidelines and signs explaining the terms of your reopening. These may include:
- Occupancy limitations
- Customer requirements (wearing masks, maintaining social distancing)
- Employee requirements (not working while sick)
- Devise a marketing campaign that will incentivize customers to return.
Below are examples of the types of campaign you might consider:
- A reopening sale with discounted prices.
- A limited-time offer on a specific product or service.
- A reopening event with prizes and games.
- Free product or service demos and training.
The option you choose should appeal to your customer base. By offering clear value and addressing their needs, you’ll be more likely to have a successful reopening.
Week 3 – Campaigning
Now it’s time to devise an ongoing marketing campaign to help you bring former customers into the fold and attract new customers at the same time.
When marketing during a pandemic, it is imperative to address ongoing concerns about health and safety. You may want to create social media posts and ads to let customers know about:
- Contactless payment options
- New products or services related to the pandemic
- Mailing lists and text notifications
- Pick-up and delivery services
You should also think about investing a bit of money into a video message thanking your customers who have returned. Remember, video marketing doesn’t need to be expensive. Even a simple Facebook Live video or a video you shoot on your phone can help you connect with customers.
Week 4 – Expanding Your Customer Base
As you move into the last week of your 30-day plan, it’s time to think about what you’ll do for the next 30 days. Prioritizing the following will help:
- Ramp up your social media presence. People are spending more time on social media right now than they have historically due to minimized social calendars. You can build trust and brand recognition with them by following a posting schedule.
- Share relevant information about your business as it relates to the pandemic. You may discover that you need to change certain elements of your plans (for example, altering hours or adding new precautions) as you see your plans put into action. Everything should be clearly communicated to your customers.
- Solicit opinions. As you get back to business, it’s likely that your customers will have thoughts, ideas, and requests about how you’re operating and what you could do better. You may want to consider creating a customer survey and posting it on social media or emailing it to your subscriber list. This is a good way to connect with customers and let them know you care about their opinions.
The key to a successful reopening is communication at every level. Your 30-day marketing plan should make your customers aware of how your business has addressed concerns related to the pandemic and how it will continue to do so.