In light of the measures taken by Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio calling for a stay-at-home directive and many other states following suit, businesses are finding themselves in a very challenging spot. Continuing business is not business as usual. Here are the recommendations to prepare your business marketing for the new COVID 19 measures happening in Ohio and around the United States.
1. Consult your marketing plan which contains a detailed analysis on how to tackle a pandemic situation, right?
It’s no surprise that small businesses do not have a detailed pandemic plan lined up for their business. Business owners are way too busy to have to think that far in advance for something that would seemingly never happen, well unfortunately it did.
The truth is, business owners really don’t want to think about the worst possible situations when it comes to their business. We want to think how wonderful it will be to have a business, to have employees that love us, and to make great products for our customers. If you actually did have a pandemic plan congratulations you can skip to step four.
2. Get back to basics, work on a marketing plan
A marketing plan is essential to businesses. Most businesses do this without developing or writing out a full-scale plan but it’s a good idea to at least look at some free downloadable templates below. Read through them and get an idea of how you should organize in your mind what is important to marketing your business.
Here is a website filled with 30 free templates to start your marketing plan.
3. Think about how to make great products for your customers.
Great business owners and leaders adapt when situations require it. There are many opportunities when change occurs. Look over your existing product stack and find the weaknesses that you had before and what you need to do to strengthen those to become your assets. This is similar to a SWOT analysis.
3. Do a SWOT analysis
Back in college, we learned about the SWOT analysis. SWOT means strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.
Draw them on a board by making a horizontal and vertical line with four quadrants.
Place one of those categories in each quadrant and list what you feel is a strength, what are your weaknesses, what are some opportunities for your business, and what are threats to those opportunities.
4. Keep everyone informed.
If you happen to be a business that’s classified as an essential service then you already have a leg up. Many businesses right now are closed or had to lay off employees because they are ordered not to operate by the state. Most of the other businesses are making hard choices too. It is essential right now for business to keep your customers, your vendors, your landlord, everyone informed. It is also essential to not make rash decisions at this point as no one knows the impacts during the time.
Update your social media pages, update your website, make calls or personal emails to all of your clients or at least send a mass email with an update about how your business is dealing with the situation. You might be surprised, often all it takes is a simple check-in to start the conversation.
5. Be honest, be authentic
When posting updates always be honest and authentic. The same was true before these times and the same will be true after these times.
Great leaders lead authentically and honestly providing open communication to everyone involved. That’s not to say that you won’t make mistakes, we all do.
Listen to the Thermostat with Jason V Barger podcast for great insights on how great leaders think and lead.
6. Make sure your hours are updated or mark your business as temporarily closed on Google my business. Go through everything on your website and social pages.
If you are able to stay open, business owners are going to find that many of the pages on their website no longer apply. For example, people can’t go into your store right now. if you have a website that talks all about going into your store and the experience then that doesn’t relate. Go through your website and find ways to update your wording; make sure your hours are correct and be sensitive to people’s needs in today’s times.
Google my business has added a new feature to listings that includes marking your business as temporarily closed. this one formed customers that during this time you are not open but that your business is not permanently closed.
7. Play the long game
If you don’t have an eCommerce website, now is the time to get one. There are low-cost options like Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly to get started along with more advanced integrations like WordPress.
It is possible that the COVID situation, or some form of it, could last longer than expected. Obviously, I hope things move much faster but having a plan in place helps. Following the notes from step one on how business owners like to just look at the positive, let’s consider this possible. Invest in e-commerce now.
Given that shipping services have been declared essential services, local businesses with e-commerce can take advantage of this. By being able to sell your products online you provide people with local options.
In some businesses that sell directly to consumers, their e-commerce has seen a 4X increase in sales in recent days following the #stayathome directive. it’s no secret that people are buying things online primarily now. A new internet boom is coming, are you prepared?
8. Playing the long game means, invest in SEO
Once you figure out updates for your website and tackle the eCommerce of your site to sell online, invest in SEO to improve your organic traffic and get more local traffic.
A well-optimized eCommerce site starts from the ground up. Consult with a professional or at least get advice on the best platform choices now to save you time and money later.
An eCommerce site that is properly connected to Google search console and analytics, gives you a host of marketing opportunities. Also, make sure that your tracking pixels are properly configured.
9. Get started, don’t sweat the small stuff like payment rates
Although not exactly small, most online payments have the same rate between Shopify, Square, Paypal; all have similar rates to be competitive. You want to look at features and which is easiest to integrate for your site.
Some payments offer Google Pay and Apple Pay which is nice as well. We recommend adding Paypal into the mix as we like it and many people easily checkout using it. If you are going to do more than $20K per month to start then you can often call providers directly to get lower rates.
10. Post and post often
In step four we mentioned keeping everyone informed. This is on the list again because of how essential it is. People are not searching as much at the moment but instead consuming content. Low and behold, display ads click rates CTR has gone up 2X from what it was just one month ago. It is important to post content on social media, talk about your unique situation, your business, how others can help to keep your business afloat and ultimately, thriving.
11. Your digital ads budget should be migrating to shopping ads and display ads
Peak internet traffic is up 30%+ according to Cloudflare but people are consuming posts and articles versus search. Get ahead of this by serving them new display ads that make sense to them during these times.
Even better, serve posts that reflect on the situation, how you are taking measures to help others, and grow local business.
Customers have seen as much as 7X increase in revenues in March 2020 with eCommerce shopping ads.
Experiment and find ads that work for you.
12. Video is the new internet
The power of podcasting and video on youtube and other platforms is here!
It is essential for local businesses to use both in order to gain market share and attract new business. Youtube ads are very powerful and very low cost, at $0.04 per view and sometimes less this is still an untapped market.
If you are a local business, you owe it to yourself to start posting videos of your business and to become a local industry expert in your field.
Modern smartphones have exceptional video or you can get a DSLR camera and some basic lighting to up your game.
Kow Abundant wishes everyone to be safe and healthy during this time and to follow the recommendations by the CDC, WHO, and respective state officials. Let’s all make local businesses not just survive but thrive as we all work together to make that happen.
If you need help and are a small business located in Columbus Ohio feel free to reach out to Kow Abundant and we can help provide our resources to you to improve your SEO, help with Google shopping ads, or get you any commerce website.