How Does Coronavirus Impact Small Business Marketing?
It seems that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is making an impact on every aspect of life. What started as an epidemic has blown into a full-out pandemic. And I do not need to explain to you what is meant by "full-out."
School and event closures, toilet paper and other shortages as people panic to stock up, the cancellation of flights and the closing of borders have already made an impact on how we do everything. Even the television programs which normally record before live studio offices are shutting down because states are calling for people to stay home.
Naturally, most businesses are suffering.
Which businesses are NOT suffering?
The businesses which are not suffering can be put into two groups:
- Vital and necessary to public health and safety (i.e. hospitals, doctors, law enforcement)
- Convenience industries (Online retailers and delivery services)
Naturally, health and safety industries need no special marketing at this time because people are seeking them out in droves. But other industries may need to realign their marketing efforts at this time. How so?
How should small businesses realign their marketing?
Many small businesses rely on local buyers for the sales that keep their doors open. When people are no longer moving around, going to events or generally staying home, they do not buy gas, groceries or other goods. Delivery of groceries and food is growing exponentially.
This is a sign to small businesses that if they want to thrive and after during the Coronavirus shutdown/slowdown, they need to change their marketing strategy and tactics.
Most important, businesses need to consider that while this could be a long-term problem, the Coronavirus scare will die down and life will return to normal. This is not permanent.
That said, there are things which can be done now to increase sales in most industries. But even if sales cannot be expected now, the wise business-owner will take the time to strengthen their company in other ways. Following are some things that can be done now to do one, the other or both.
1 Offer delivery if possible
Bring your products or service to the customer. Although you may have never needed to deliver in the past, it may be time to provide this service, even if for a limited time. Doing so will show your customers that you care and will keep the cash flow going. The only downside may be finding people to perform the deliveries.
That said, you could use one of several courier services available today. These include DoorDash, UberEats, Postmates, GrubHub or Delivery.com. Then too, you can always deliver yourself. Whatever you decide and whether you continue deliver after the end of the Coronavirus scare, your customers will remember and appreciate what you did.
Another plan is to use FedEx or UPS, even for cross-town deliveries. Sure, the package will first travel out of town to a central hub before delivery in the same zip code, but next day deliveries are the same regardless of delivery location. So, why not?
2 Provide curbside service
Of course, even if you cannot provide delivery you can offer curbside service. To do this, you simply provide a way for customers to shop via phone or online (same as you must with delivery). Then, they can pick up their order at a pre-determined time. They show up, let you know they are here and your staff brings the order out to their car.
This keeps them from having to go into possibly crowded, contaminated surroundings and keeps your business running. Again, you will be a hero for meeting the needs of some who are at higher risk for going into public and your business will surivive and maybe thrive.
3 Beef up your website
Of course, for many small local businesses, getting word out can be tricky, even costly. Too, they may not be structured to allow online shopping and telesales. What can be done?
Oakes Writing Website Services prides itself on low-cost, fast service.
If you do not have a website, we can build a simple site within a couple of days. If you need extensive, product-listing pages, we can get the structure in place within a couple of days then do one of two things, either of which will serve you well now and into the future.
- We can add all your products, create product pages and set-up online ordering and we can do it fast.
- We can train your staff to do this as well. The advantage to this is that as new product arrive, you do not need our help to get them listed. This will save you time and money while preparing your business for the future of retail or whatever business you operate.
4 Train your employees
And speaking of training. Even if you cannot in some way offer retail delivery or curbside service of products, take this time to train up your staff. One immutable truth of business is that the better trained your staff can be, the better they will serve your customers, which ultimately results in more business...maybe not now, but later for sure.
For instance, if you have a service company which is taking a hit right now because money is getting tight for many households, you can train your staff now while business is slow.
One of the best things you can train them in is running your website and social media. If you have a website, we can train your people in creating the content needed to grow it. If you have social media, we can train them to properly post and interact on behalf of your company.
The reality of online marketing
If you need a website or social media account, we can develop either for you. And we can create your content if needed.
In any case, now is the time to reconsider your marketing and align it with the realities of the new world in which we live.
The reality of online marketing when compared to traditional marketing is stark. Traditional marketing is a money pit, a never-ending cycle of ads and printed materials.
Online marketing is the opposite.
Whereas traditional marketing is constantly costing more, online marketing done right will result in lower costs over time.
That is why Oakes Writing Website Services ONLY engages in online content marketing. In fact, our goal is to drive our clients marketing costs down at least 75% over three years.
If your business is slow and you want to learn how to take advantage of the new marketing reality, call Oakes Writing today at 337.660.4774, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below.
Either way, we are here for you.