My Point of Heu
As a social and marketing expert with 20 years of experience... this Pandemic has been immensely stressful and a trying time for businesses and our community. My job is to facilitate and assist others with their marketing needs and I've helped to implement some very successful initiatives to help local businesses thrive during this challenging time. Here's a look at the 5 must-do and must-try options to stay afloat amid a crisis.
1. Communication is key
Opening the lines of communication, talking things through, sharing ideas, thoughts, engaging and even venting is the perfect way to convey how things are going, what you are doing, what is working, what isn't. First and foremost you should share your hours, how you are working now and when, what you are offering and craft a statement for your customers that is clear, concise, sympathetic to all and authentic. This lays the groundwork for your plan of action and open communication is the most and foremost important aspect of maintaining your business. I can't stress this enough! If you don't communicate no one will know, including myself how to best help, support and overall awareness. No communication is practically falling into a black hole.
2. Be Proactive
Yes, times are changing and times are hard - but instead of saying things with a negative spin, flip it and be positive - lessening your hours, closing, not being open, not seeing clients? Change it to "we have new and improved hours to serve you" or "we're making it easier and more comfortable for clients to meet with us virtually or by phone" always look at a way to make it positive. If you are a contact-free facility say so and say why and how you are protecting people rather than we don't allow shopping or unannounced guests. Always keep it positive and up-lifting.
There isn't a magic wand to make everything good again... but you have to be flexible, open minded and open to adapting, changing, pivoting. You may have a plan, but daily, plans can change. You may want to stop marketing efforts, but honestly marketing is the #1 most important role right now. Be flexible when it comes to the news, government changes, frustrations, woes and be ready to pivot.
4. Think Outside the box
Doing what you regularly do and not offering anything to incentivise customers likely wont help. You need to be an outside thinker and offer new, innovative and appealing options. Discounts, BOGO, package deals, happy hours, customer appreciation, collaborations, free shipping, free delivery, additional assistance, gift cards, quicker service, more efficient service and online/mobile options can make or break a business. Take what you would normally do but think bigger - like 500Xs bigger and better.
Give to get
Lastly, thinking globally and acting locally will help spread your good karma and show your commitment to the community. If you have excess food donate it. If you don't need something share it. Got spare change or some extra cash spend it. If you want to give back to the community the community will give back to you. It all comes full circle and if your heart is in the right place people will see it. There are so many worthy causes that are giving to our community right now: foodbanks, homelessness, senior citizens, children, needy communities, first responders, etc.