Just as life and business began its slow return to normal (or close to), a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases has spurred a bit more uncertainty and challenges for business owners to consider and plan for.
Whether your business has already reopened, is set to reopen soon, or remains temporarily closed for now, it’s crucial to have a marketing plan and communication strategy established to help kickstart your business going forward.
Granted, the current economic situation has presented atypical budgetary concerns. However, there are cost-effective marketing tools that can be implemented to generate new business and maintain current business, as well as provide ROI to you, the business owner.
Read on to learn more about three results-driven strategies/tools to focus on as you kickstart your business now and in the days ahead.
1. Social Media
Having a strategic online presence via social media for your business is more important now than ever before. People use social media to connect with others, including businesses, and to get information and resources. It’s also where people spend the majority of their time, making it the perfect place to reach your target audience/consumers directly.
Social media is highly cost-effective in that it’s a free tool that harnesses the power to reach many. Using social media allows you to develop and enforce your brand through visual photos, graphics, videos, infographics, etc. Further, it enables you to engage with your audience regularly and demonstrate your expertise by providing value-based content and tips. By including appropriate links in social media posts, you can also drive traffic to your company’s website.
Businesses have the opportunity to advertise on social media as well, which is typically more cost-effective and targeted than traditional advertising (print, TV, radio, etc.) and even Pay-Per-Click. While Facebook advertising is generally the most popular for social media advertising, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube offer paid options too.
There are a number of metrics you can access to track and measure your social media channels’ performance to determine ROI. Some examples include, follower growth, post likes and reactions, reach, engagement, content shares, and referral traffic/website leads.
Make sure your content is strategic and provides added value to your audience. Don’t make it all sales focused on your audience will lose interest or leave.
2. Public Relations
Traditional media such as newspapers, TV, radio, etc. is still a key source of information for many consumers. Lately, more and more people are turning to local media outlets for essential information and updates during the ongoing pandemic.
Public relations can help you generate “earned media” or coverage on those channels for free (if you do it yourself). Via news releases and media pitching, you can communicate your business’ news, along with reopening plans, new offerings/services, sales promotions, safety protocols being implements, and so on. It’s important to share other non-COVID-19 related news too. For example, distribute news releases about new hires, promotions, new services, and general business news is still relevant.
Usually you can obtain media contacts by researching publications online. Visit their “contact us” page to review and compile journalists, their respective beats/areas of coverage, and contact info. As an alternative, you can always contact local newsrooms via phone to share information, ask questions, and get contact information.
3. Email Marketing
Recently, businesses have seen an increase in open rates of their email marketing campaigns. People have more time and are seeking out information and resources often.
Delivered directly to your audience, email marketing is an inexpensive and uninterrupted way to reach your customers right in their inbox. Using email marketing, you can encourage customers/guests to buy, visit, and engage.
You may also consider offering a special deal to loyal customers or gathering feedback from consumers by producing/distributing a survey. You can create and send one for free with a MailChimp account.
Detailed tracking is also available via email marketing. You can see how many people engage with your message and identify primary topics of interest via metrics such as open rate, click rate, etc.
As a tip, make sure your email template is branded and accurately represents your business and brand voice. Templates and emails can be created and sent using low-cost tools like MailChimp or Constant Contact.
Since COVID-19 isn’t likely to resolve anytime soon, it’s important to continue considering ways in which you can maximize your marketing strategy to aid throughout reopening. Focus on cost-effective tools as a way to help kickstart and maintain your business now and in the future.