The recent COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way everybody has been doing business. Grocery stores are offering pick up and delivery services. Doctors are seeing patients using video conferencing software. Some businesses, like dental practices have been forced to close due to the high risk of exposure.
Unsurprisingly, the outbreak has hit all types of businesses hard. But for small business owners that are staying open during this time, still need to do whatever they can to generate revenue and profits. One of the best ways to keep your business afloat right now is to make use of some creative online marketing ideas.
As everyone is at home using the Internet, it’s a great way to reach your target audience no matter who they are. It can also be a very cost-effective way to market your business if you do not know what you are doing.
Here are some online marketing tips that you can help you survive or even thrive during these times.
1. Focus on Existing Customers and on Generating Leads
Generating new customers when people are cutting back on spending is difficult to say the least. Rather than pursuing new customers, now is the time to focus more on your existing customers so you will keep them once times go back to normal. Reach out to them through your email list, social media channels, and messaging apps. Offer them exclusive discounts and deals that will give them a reason to return to you.
Make whatever you do offer your existing clients creative. Share a video update about the company while offering them something the can use now. One fun example could be as “simple” as offering them a package of toilet paper with each sale. It would be fun and also very beneficial as toilet paper is still one of the items that stores still do not seem to have. Also, make the offer sharable. That way your existing clients can share those offers with others and drive more business that way for you.
It’s far more cost-effective to generate sales from existing customers than acquiring new ones. Speaking of acquiring new customers, try focusing on generating leads if your prospects aren’t converting to customers at respectable rates anymore. When the economy does pick up, you’ll have a bigger list of prospects that you can market to.
2. Create Outstanding Content
Everyone is online consuming content right now. It makes perfect sense that a great way to bring in new followers, email subscribers, and customers is to publish outstanding content. Content is a great way to establish the credibility of your business, offer value to your target audience, and build a relationship with your audience. If your website does not have a blog, it is time to get one.
Do not be satisfied with only creating short articles. Publish videos, infographics, blog posts, how-to guides, interactive content, comparison guides, downloadable guides/reports, and podcasts. This will allow you to get greater exposure for your content, especially since you can publish it through many different channels like YouTube, Pinterest, Slideshare, and more. The more creative you can be on your blog, plus sharing it on social media, the more reach you can get with potential and current customers.
3. Capitalize On Social Media
Another thing people are doing more of is spending time on social media. With strict social distancing measures in place, people are craving personal connections from wherever they can get it. Mostly they are going on social media sites to start and join conversations. That is why you want to make sure that your digital marketing strategy puts a heavy emphasis on social media. Use a mixture of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for sharing your fantastic content you just added to your blog, updates on the company, and to directly engage with leads and customers alike.
There are many ways to capitalize on social media. You can announce webinars, live stream content, partner with influencers, and run contests. Make sure you also take note of how behavior and trends are changing on social media for your target audience or industry. It can help you make appropriate business adjustments during the pandemic.
4. Win and Maintain the Trust of Your Customers
Some companies are currently failing to win and maintain trust with their customers while others are responding to the crisis well. Let your customers and your followers know how your business will change during this time. Provide them with regular updates so that they know what to expect.
You also want to look to do the things other businesses are not willing to do. For example, if you’re shipping products to customers, why not let them know that employees are working with protective gear? Why not let them know you’re wiping down packaging before shipping orders out to protect customers? These are a few simple things that very few businesses are doing.
Being honest with your customers is the best way to win and maintain their trust. Showing them you care by cleaning and protective gear builds trust. Also, work with your community on what you can do to help. Right now there are many Facebook groups dedicated to helping the community during the pandemic. If there is not one, reach out to your community to see what you can do to help. The more authentic and helpful you can be, the more people will remember.
5. Don’t Cut Back on Your Marketing
The first thing cut by companies across the board is marketing as it is seen as non-essential to their company. You may be thinking that now would be the time to cut back on your advertising and marketing. In reality, you want to capitalize on this moment. Ad costs in many advertising channels have dropped significantly. Competitors have cut back on their marketing too. You want to grab all the advantages you can get.
However, if the cost of your advertising or marketing expenses are still too high compared to the returns you’re seeing, this is the time to be more resourceful. Maybe it’s finally time to start a YouTube channel for your small business. Maybe you should focus more on creating and distributing content. Think of alternative channels and digital marketing strategies you can use to get the exposure and sales you need without spending much money.
6. Sell Gift Cards and Packages at a Discount
Many small business owners are desperate for cash right now. In the restaurant industry, there are many businesses that have decided to sell gift cards at a discount to maintain cash flow. For example, a taco place may be selling $50 in credit for $40 in cash. This will be a great deal for regulars that have plans to go back when businesses reopen. You can also use options like Groupon or LivingSocial to share deals. Plus, check with your local newspaper and radio as they often have a deal website for sharing local business discounts and packages.
7. Restructure Your Pricing
If you’re selling a premium product/service and the pricing is on the higher side compared to your competitors, it could time to restructure your pricing. Try to lower pricing without selling yourself short of the value you’re offering. Offer more payment options and payment plans to make it easy to afford what you’re selling.
Another way to approach it is to add value. You can discount your product/service a bit but offer an immense amount of value as an added bonus. This can be extra bonuses, future redemption coupons, and additional services. The more value and benefit you can show for your products or service, combined with the trust you build for your brand, can help a business more than many realize.
These are just a few online marketing strategies that you can use during this pandemic. There are many other things you can probably do to survive and maybe even thrive a little despite the economic circumstances. Get creative and resourceful to try to come up with more ideas and be ready when people are ready to visit your location in person. Please remember that working together is what will get us though.