It is crazy how fast the world can change.
One day we’re planning sales events, email promotions and servicing customers and the next we’re being told to lock our doors and stay home. And the worst part is that even if we don’t agree, our customers aren’t necessarily in the same mind-set and they’re not showing up.
At this moment the word from officials is that we need to self-isolate for 2-3 weeks and schools are being shut indefinitely. This is going to be a hard time for most of us. But on the positive side – hard times are what defines us. Hard times are when we learn how tough we can be. It is a time when we can utilize new tools to make things happen that we wouldn’t have looked at before. When we have no choice, we can do extraordinary things.
Here are 7 small business marketing targets to get done while we’re holed up at home, working from a laptop and dealing with life that is far from normal. These would apply to a practice like a dental office or vet, to a real estate agent, a small business owner who has a store – almost anyone.
7 Quick Marketing Actions to Take During Coronavirus (COVID-19):
STEP 1: Stay positive, don’t focus on the negative news.
Don’t let yourself get all wound up in the worry and fear. The fact is that this will pass. No matter what we’re being told by the media, there is some agenda and the media is actively working to create fear hysteria. Its what the media and politicians do best. So, turn it off.
STEP 2: Create content.
Unless you are a marketer, the idea of creating content may be a little foreign to you. But I’ll give you some examples of what I mean. Write that e-book you’ve been thinking about. Write a blog post about how to use your product or service. You might decide to even record a video! Create your YouTube channel and make your first video and tell the world about your company and your dream.
The key with this step is to create. Get active. Make something to communicate and connect with your target audience – something that will help them. Make something that will be useful for your website, for your Facebook page and so forth. Once you begin and get one blog finished, you might think of 5 others to write – great!
- For example, a dentist could do a blog post about oral health while the family is staying home together. Then you might write a post about the best way to brush and floss each night. And then a blog post or even a video about how and why to floss a 4 year old’s teeth (I need that one!).
- Another example, for a real estate agent: how about a blog about preparing your home for sale and another about the importance of curb appeal and the stores in your area to get flowers, plants and trees and even links to local landscape companies that you trust to work with. Then you could do a video of yourself at a local park, enjoying the outside fresh air and telling everyone to remember to get outside a little.
- If you own a store that sells BBQ equipment, you could write a blog with recipes for the best BBQ dinners when the family is all home and can’t go out for BBQ. Or you could record a video of yourself preparing BBQ and the tips and “secrets” of how to BBQ different types of meat.
The ideas are endless. Start creating content and that alone will stop you thinking about the problems and put you into creating the future business that is vital for us all.
STEP 3: Set up your Google My Business and other online business listings.
Here is a list of the seven main ones I recommend starting with. I’ve included the links with each one so you can go straight to them. There may be other business directories that are specific for your industry – you might even have one or two that would be worthwhile to pay for if they get a lot of traffic from your exact type of clientele, such as Houzz or Angie’s List if you are a contractor type or HealthGrades for a practice owner.
The next step is to optimize each of these directory profiles for search (which you probably started when you set them up). It is key for your search engine optimization (SEO) that for each directory/listing you use precisely the same business name, address and phone number of your business. Then within each one you can add your logo, information about your products and services, your website address, high-resolution photos, your hours and so forth.
STEP 4: Send an email to your full list informing them of how you are dealing with current events.
This can include special hours, special visits or that you are temporarily stopping normal operations because of government recommendations (depending on your industry, such as for dentists). If you can, offer a special that will entice your clientele to do business with you even with what is happening. Tell them how they (your customers) are your top priority and how you will continue to do everything you can to help them.
STEP 5: Ensure your social media is properly representing you and your business.
Newly review your profile, about information, photos and logo. Do you have new photos to post? Any new videos that you’ve not uploaded to Facebook? You should do a new post right away on how you are dealing with COVID-19 and any info about special hours and/or offers. This might include pictures of special cleaning and sanitizing you are doing. See this example of a post of Orem Pediatric Dentistry.
Whether you regularly use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter, do a few posts over the next week that share positive messages of things you are doing or that your family is doing (yes, on your business account) to deal with this. Maybe you are all playing Monopoly together so take a picture and post it. Maybe you have a great cleaning chemical that others could try or maybe you helped a family with toilet paper who had run out! Share this on your business social media page – it will be good news and make you personally known to your audience.
STEP 6: Analyze yourself and your competitors online.
Google search your business and your competition. See how you rank and then look at how your competition ranks. Be reasonable – don’t compare yourself to the international corporations in your market. If you are a local electronics store, don’t try to compare your ranking to Best Buy. But you have large advantages being a local guy. So study what people are doing in your market. Look for keywords that are ranking well. Write another blog or make up a webpage on your website all about the subject that is ranking well. Basically, this is an assessment for long-term planning so you can work to beat the competition over time. By next year you want to be #1.
STEP 7: Be willing to ask for help.
You can’t actually do it all yourself. There are just too many hats to wear. Marketing, especially online, is vital to your future growth. It is a specialized subject. And while many of the platforms available to you are getting simpler to set up, you still can’t manage it all and post every day, write all the blogs and shoot all the videos and SEO it. Once we get through this crazy time, it might be time to get some help. Walker Kreative holds small business marketing “boot camps” two times a year. And we will get on the phone with you any time for a free review of your situation to see if we can help or to simply give you some advice.