The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on small businesses and nonprofits has been severe. Many have not survived, while others continue to struggle with a reduced business flow, loss of income and uncertainty about the future. At six months in, many small business owners are finding they have more time on their hands. But it may be a good time to review your marketing. Here are a few ideas about things you can do to prepare for the post-COVID recovery – whenever it may occur.
Review your business model to see if you want or need to make changes. The need for social distancing has created an era of digital meetings and finding new ways to connect with employees, customers, boards, etc. Everything from manufacturing to restaurants to B2B companies are evolving to a new digital world, and it may require an investment of resources for your company. I found an excellent article on preparing for the recovery that has detailed and helpful information.
Check your website. Go through the website from head to toe looking for broken links, misspellings, typographic errors, grammatical problems, etc. Take the opportunity to add fresh content and make sure the navigation is easy to use. The user experience (UX) is one of the most important influences on your customers. Web design trends are constantly changing, and we are seeing more 3D, geometric shapes, and dark mode influences in 2020. If you don’t have a website, call or Email me. I can help you get started.
Review your marketing materials. If you have brochures, palm or rack cards, business cards, giveaway items, posters, etc., review them carefully. Again, check for grammar and spelling, as well as content to see if you need to update them. Also consider whether they are working for you – do they generate leads or business? Investing your resources in marketing materials is smart, but only as long as they are serving a purpose.
Study up on your industry to find out what’s new. In the busy world we’ve left behind (for now), it could be difficult to keep up with marketing trends in our own industry or vertical. There wasn’t much time for reading or learning new things. But this pandemic pause can be an opportunity to do just that. Professional publications and marketing blogs can bring you up to date on what is working, what is coming, and what you should know about marketing.
Lastly, take some time for social media. Visit platforms that you don’t usually frequent. Don’t use Tik Tok, Instagram or Pinterest? Take time to visit each of these. Find out how many people use these platforms, and what the demographics are. Each social media site has a different audience and use different media. Review your business social media use and determine whether you need to make changes to reach your target audience. Here is an article that may help you learn about popular platforms.
Now that you have a little more time, take the opportunities presented to really think about your marketing. Review the budget, the materials, target audiences and your philosophy. Challenge yourself on whether you are using the best approach, and be willing to make changes if not.
Start Small Business Marketing For the Holidays Now
Well Shoppers, there are only 51 more shopping days until Christmas – that’s 12 Fridays if you are counting – and if you are a small business that relies on the holidays to boost your profits then you are most likely getting prepared now. In fact, ChannelAdvisor did a survey of online retailers in the US. and UK recently and discovered that 59% have already launched their seasonal campaigns. Three-quarters say that fully 20% of their profits come from holiday sales, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Not convinced that you should start your holiday marketing now? Check Pinterest then, where there is already a plethora of pins showing holiday decorating ideas and gifts. Another market researcher, CivicScience, reports that 47% of Pinterest users begin shopping before Thanksgiving – much higher than the 39% of the overall population. About 25% of shoppers begin in October and nearly half are already done by Cyber Monday!
As a small business owner, you may be wondering how you can compete during the holiday season and get your share of the sales. The answer is good marketing. Try a few of these ideas to improve your small business marketing during the holidays.
Start now, but be creative. Remember to use bold holiday graphics in your E-mails, print ads, etc. Women are more likely to begin their shopping early, so construct your ad copy and images to appeal to them.
Price aggressively. Early shoppers are looking for bargains now, when the selection is good. Appealing to this market now with competitive pricing can help you avoid making major markdowns later in the season. Highlight your pricing with phrases such as “lowest prices of the season” or other indicators to customers that they can get a bargain now.
Ensure your online shopping experience is a good one. There is nothing worse that forcing a customer to search through your website for the information they need to make a purchase. If you are not sure about your website, ask customers to give you feedback or hire a web marketing firm to review your site and make suggestions. In 2014, almost half of the highest online shopping days were Tuesdays or Wednesdays, so think about offering specials on those days, or even scheduling E-mail messaging on those days.
Begin the festivities! Yes, it might be 75 degrees outside, but bring a little holiday cheer into your business with holiday music, decorations and scents. About 1 in 5 holiday shoppers enjoy shopping in stores and they are more likely to make multiple trips. Keep in mind that the sense of smell is very powerful. Bring back a few fond memories for your customers by using seasonal scents like cinnamon, Christmas trees, etc.
Make it Mobile. Keep in mind that more than half of all searches are now done on smart phones. Last year, 45% of the 4th quarter web traffic came from mobile devices like phones and tablets and 28% of sales last Black Friday were completed on mobile. Make sure you have “Buy Now” button prominently featured with your products. Most importantly, be sure your online store is mobile friendly. Not sure? Google will test it for you at no charge.
Manage Your Advertising Budget. If you are using Pay-Per-Click advertising, adjust your budget on Black Friday to show more ads in the morning when more people are shopping. On Cyber Monday, target evening hours, as peak online shopping takes place then.
Yes, the holidays do seem to come earlier each year. As a small business owner, your seasonal marketing strategies should already be underway. But if they are not, give Deppe Communications a call at 904.524.0170 or Email info@DeppeCommunications.com and we will get you started.