10 Marketing Tips to Make the Most Of the Upcoming Statewide Reopening
It’s no secret that the onset of a global pandemic in early 2020 brought multiple challenges for small business owners.
Now, as we’re on the precipice of Washington State reopening, many small business owners are looking for opportunities to boost their business and re-engage their customers.
For some businesses, the upcoming reopening will require adjustments to how things were done in the past — like increasing COVID safety protocols. The good news is that none of these changes mean that you can’t find creative ways to market your business, draw in customers and take steps to ensure your business thrives in the future.
To ensure you are positioned to give your business a boost upon reopening, here are our top 10 marketing tips.
#1. Create, Complete and Verify Your Google My Business Listing
This program provides emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19.
If you don’t already have a Google My Business listing, now’s the time to get one set up. With an estimated 46% of Google searches looking for local information, if you can’t be easily found through search engines, you’re missing out on opportunities with potential customers.
When setting up your Google My Business listing, it’s important to make it as detailed as possible. Location, contact information and hours of operation are all essential, but your listing can include much more than that. You can post photos, share details of upcoming events, or provide a list of frequently asked questions and answers.
The more you share, the better the chances of you being found when someone does a local search for businesses like yours.
Want to learn more about setting up your Google My Business listing?
#2. Audit Your Digital Footprint: Website, Social Media Channels, Online Menus and More
With reopening on the horizon, take some time to make needed updates to your tech platforms to ensure pricing, hours and other business information is accurate.
Review each page of your website and social media to remove any information that’s no longer relevant, and consider highlighting the fact that you are open for business.
Look for any discrepancies in your listings of products, services and pricing to remove or update so it’s current and consistent between all the platforms you currently use.
#3. Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Chambers of Commerce (CoC) are a valuable resource for small business owners. Not only can they be great for networking and making connections with other businesses in your community, but they can actually help market your business — not to mention refer potential customers.
CoCs promote their members, from publishing events and sending newsletters to helping increase your visibility in the community. They can also help improve your credibility, as consumers can see you’re a known and active member of the community.
Plus, CoC membership often comes with additional perks, like opportunities to be part of marketing campaigns. By accelerating awareness and leveraging these sorts of opportunities, you can build additional interest in your products and services and build a stronger customer base.
#4. Post New Hire Job Openings on All Channels
Your workforce has likely shifted throughout the past year and your needs after reopening may be different. To ensure your customers have a great experience, you’ll want to ensure you have the right people in place, and that may mean hiring.
Posting any job openings across multiple channels helps you cast your net as widely as possible. Look at posting your job in places like the local chamber or commerce, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, job sites and more.
Also, posting jobs across as many channels also signals to everyone that you are soon to be fully open for business, and may prompt them to pop by for a visit or get in touch.
#5. Reach Out to Your Customers Via Email, Text or Social Media
One of the most critical marketing tips that you don’t want to miss when making your reopening plans is to get in touch with your customers.
Start now by sharing your story — what’s been going on with your business for the past year, what you’ve got planned for reopening, any business news, and of course, any promotions you’ll be running.
Most of all, make a point to invite them back to your business. Specifically tell them your operating hours and that you’d love to see them again.
#6. Partner with Complementary Businesses
Collaborations and partnerships with other local businesses can be a win for everyone. By combining forces, you can each benefit from referrals and new customers.
Shared events and promotions offer a chance to not only get more exposure for your business, but they also mean you can share any related marketing expenses.
For example, if you own a pet grooming business you could partner with your local pet store to offer a special discount on certain products. Or if you operate a salon, talk to the local beauty supply store about a collaboration.
Events are also a great way to make a bigger impact. Whether it’s offering a special shopping event to targeted customers or doing something for the community at large, start networking and find another business that would be a good fit.
#7. Review and Update Signage
This is one of those marketing tips that may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re trying to reinvigorate your business, you’ll want to ensure that you’re offering the best experience possible. That means ensuring all of your signage from products to pricing is updated so it’s updated and crystal clear to your customers.
Depending on your industry, you may have new or enhanced COVID rules in place, so think about how to best communicate these to your customers. Not only does this provide your customers with peace of mind that your business is on top of current protocols, but it also allows you to offer a consistent experience for everyone.
#8. Create a Fun and Affordable Customer Referral Program
Your best word of mouth marketing comes from your existing customers, so why not offer a little something extra? Your customers already know and love you, so by setting up a referral program, you are rewarding their loyalty while potentially gaining some new customers.
A referral program doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as offering a 10% discount off their next purchase, or a buy-one-get-one offer. The goal is to provide some additional value to prompt them to send people your way.
You know your business best, so the rewards of the referral program can be specifically designed to be appealing to your customer base.
#9. Use Facebook Ad(s)
It’s understandable that after a year of instability you may be a little concerned about having to invest in marketing. Fortunately, Facebook Ads don’t have to cost you a ton.
The benefit of doing a few ads prior to reopening is that you can expand your reach and make sure everyone in your local community is aware you’re open for business. Ads can be used to encourage people to buy online or come visit you at your brick and mortar location.
If you decide to do Facebook ads, set your budget in advance. Anywhere from $20 to $50 is enough to get started.
#10. Get FREE Expert Business Consultation from Green River College Small Business Center)
If you’re working on getting a plan together for reopening, having additional support can make a critical difference.
The Green River College Small Business Center has experienced business advisors who can help with marketing tips and other business facets for your reopening plan. We also offer a wealth of free resources, tools and guides designed specifically for business owners who have weathered the pandemic and are looking to not just survive, but thrive, once the State is fully open again.
In addition to COVID resources, the center also offers events, webinars, and more to support small businesses in the community, so if you aren’t already part of the Green River College Small Business Center community, it’s an excellent starting point for getting the resources and support you need as a small business owner.
Choose the Marketing Tips That Make Sense For You
When looking at this list of marketing tips, you may realize it’s not realistic or make sense to do everything. Choose the top two or three that will be most helpful for you and your customers.
Most importantly, make a plan. The reopening of Washington state is right around the corner, so by taking the time to figure out a relaunch plan, you’ll not only reduce any stress, but you’ll be ready to offer your customers the best experience possible as things move back to the status quo.
Need some marketing tips or business planning to help you prepare for reopening? The Green River College Small Business Center is here to offer resources and support. You can book a free consultation right here.
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