All businesses: large, medium and small are experiencing the same issues of understanding how to maintain stability during these pandemic times. Creating a flexible strategic business plan now, rather than later, will give your business a positive position to handle the new way we conduct business because customer behaviors are changing.
It’s time to reorganize your business operations. The following are several strategies to consider in your marketing plan. You might not have incorporated any of these before, or if you have, you probably haven’t adopted these in awhile.
1- Staff and Public Safety
Now more than ever it is critical to implement a deep cleaning and sanitizing program at your business for your employees and customers to feel safe. Don’t rely on your staff to do the janitorial cleaning. They are not equipped to really understand how to clean your environment since that wasn’t their job description previously. For example, wiping down high touch surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, light switches, desks, keyboards, etc. with the same disinfectant cloth on all these surfaces will spread the germs, bacteria and any viruses on those surfaces. If you think wiping down surface tops with a disinfectant, then drying it immediately kills the bacteria and germs, it will not. It’s important to leave those surfaces wet to dry themselves or keep the disinfectant on for at least 10 to 12 minutes. These two reasons alone are why it’s important to have a professional janitorial service do the deep cleaning.
2- Re-Marketing Your Business
It isn’t too early to begin developing a new marketing plan that identifies how your business will recover. Before jumping into a plan, start by answering these questions:
- What are your core products and ask if these are the most profitable and most popular in your business?
- Who are your customers? Do you know their ages, buying habits, where they live, and the types of products/services they purchase on a regular basis?
- If you have a brick ‘n mortar store with an online presence, or a physical location, have you promoted your place of business, i.e. through social media, Google Maps, outdoor, etc.?
- Do you know which products/services are your highest profit margins? If so, have you promoted these to your customers prior to the pandemic, how?
- Have you been using discounts to drive more business? Other than seasonal sales, do you use incentives during the off seasons?
- Do you know your ATS (average transaction size) and the ATV (average transaction value) of your customers?
- Have you incorporated other marketing strategies in the past, such as cross- merchandising, or tie-in promotions with non-competitive businesses?
These are only a few questions to help you better understand who you are and what position your
business fits into the market. Using this and other information, you can begin to develop a strategic marketing plan that separates you from your competition.
Mainly used in online paid ads (PPC), this is when you target consumers based on their previous actions. Done correctly you can customize your retargeting offers based on the website pages (including landing pages) your prospects have visited. Data studies show 45 percent of consumers will buy when retargeted. You can also apply this to customers who visited and purchased items at your retail business. Did you check to see what related products could be marketed to them? Did you explain how purchasing bundled items could save them money? Using a solid program mix with social media is what you need to do.
4- Omnichannel Marketing
Similar to multichannel marketing, except the objective is to keep customers moving around within your channel. By keeping your customers interested and engaged you have a higher percentage of them purchasing products. An example of this is to have an app for your store’s items. Rather than only having a catalog or listings items on your website, customers are more likely to browse an app which can have links to various pages either on the website, or a landing page. Today’s consumers use their handheld devices to make purchases and they are hungry for information. Unlike years past, they no longer rely on a sales rep to educate them on the different products or services. An app or even a digital touchscreen in your store for customers to interact will give them the freedom to view the products you offer.
During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, this was a method used to help consumers and retailers survive. In the 1980’s most retailers dropped this method because credit cards were becoming the process to make purchases. This old form of buying might be one solution for your customers to make purchases. It reduces the financial risk of retailers and makes it affordable for consumers living on a tight budget.
Whether you have a limited marketing budget or not, a PR plan should be a main part of your marketing strategy. Let your customers know what you are doing to improve your facility to be safer during this pandemic and how you’re making their purchasing experience better. By now you should be more aggressive with online ordering, and publicize it with news articles, this might be newsworthy to your customers. Publicity has many different components: press releases: news articles; promotional programs; tie-in campaigns; creating events; postings on social media; or having an anniversary celebration of your business are a few topics to promote in a publicity campaign.
7- Outside Objectivity
Occasionally you may need to get a fresh perspective on how to increase visibility and awareness, which in turn will result in more sales. By seeking the help of a marketing professional, they will evaluate the current market conditions, identify your core strengths and present a tailored marketing plan to meet your objectives.
Do you require financial assistance?
If you are considering an SBA loan, or already have the necessary resources, it’s important to know how much money your business needs for the next 90 to 120 days. This should include all operating expenses, such as:
- Employees. Determine what the minimum number of employees are needed to operate your business that also includes benefits.
- Take an inventory and make a list of items you need to purchase; materials, products or replacement of equipment, necessary repairs, new cleaning procedures, etc.
- Utilities: electric, phones, Internet.
Introducing new creative marketing strategies into your business is extremely important. If you do nothing now or want to wait and see what will happen in a few weeks or months, it could be a very costly decision.