Your local business is incredibly important to your customers, your employees and, of course, to you! While many customers are already looking for ways to support local businesses throughout this crisis, you want to make sure you’re letting them know you’re ready to support them right back with either your services, products or special message. So how do you properly market and position yourself during this time? You create timely and effective advertisements.
These steps can help you create your own custom message.
Tailor Your Ads
It's more important than ever that your business remains as empathetic as possible. Show that you care about what your customers are going through and how they're handling the current times. Provide them with guidance and inspiration. It could be as simple as letting your customers know what steps you're taking to protect them in the midst of the pandemic or showing them how you're giving back to the community.
Try working with your media partner to repurpose your existing creative to create ads that focus on the current needs of your customers. Ford, for example, has pulled their current ad campaigns and replaced them with a look at how they've helped their community in the past--and an explanation of how they’re helping their customers now with payment relief. Hyundai and Toyota are also running optimistic ads that focus on the importance of family and how customers can receive help if they’re struggling financially.
Offer Assistance to the Local Community
Just as you depend on your local community, they depend on you. Your customers need you to continue offering them the same high-quality service you've always provided--and right now, they need you to offer resources that can help make this time easier. Here are a few things you can do to assist your local community.
Delivery services. If you provide goods to your customers, consider how delivering those packages directly to their doors can help make things a little safer for both them and your employees. Fewer people in the stores means fewer chances to contract the virus germs spread--and delivery services can help provide your employees with a sense of safety and an element of confidence.
Offer discounts, package deals and freebies if possible. Carefully consider what your customers need most and how you can provide it to them. Keep in mind that some of your customers are struggling with uncertain work situations forcing a. They may need to change in their buying habits, while others are making adjustments based on the statewide stay at home mandates. Offer deals that can help your customers meet their specific needs. For instance, grocery stores can offer curated family meal kits and discounts for at risk shoppers and first responders. In addition, many companies are providing free goods and services to health care workers on the front lines dealing with the crisis. Investigate ways that your business can provide free items to healthcare workers on the frontlines dealing with the crisis.
Provide special financing options. This job insecurity won't last forever--but right now it can make purchasing large, high-dollar items very challenging for customers who are worried about the unknown. Offer financing options that will help your customers face and adapt to those challenges.
Set up curbside pickup. Let your customers stay in their cars and avoid the potential hazards that could come from browsing in the store. This is a great way to help older or immunocompromised customers, who may face higher risks than others.
Open your store for special hours for your most vulnerable guests. For seniors, pregnant women, and anyone else with compromised immune systems, offer special hours to provide better and safer shopping opportunities. Ideally, those hours should be immediately after the store is fully sanitized. Also, consider by-appointment-shopping for this same group. This will allow you to set a designated time for your most vulnerable clients to safely make their purchases with the assistance of a personal shopper practicing appropriate social distancing practices.
Keep Your Customer Base Up to Date
Now, more than ever, you need to keep your customer base up to date on what's going on in your store. Luckily, you have multiple communication avenues available to you. Your ads, social media posts, and website are all excellent tools for casting a wide net. You can also create email blasts and communication sequences designed to keep your customers informed and ready to handle whatever challenges come their way. Let them know not only about current policies, but also upcoming changes that could impact them.
Be Proactive & Timely
Right now, things are changing every day. New information is coming out regularly. It's important to be sure that your business is making decisions that will keep your employees and customers safe and healthy. Be proactive! Make what changes you can ahead of time, then let your customers know about them. When possible, let both customers and employees know in advance about key changes that could impact the way they interact with your business. This should include new expectations for employees and new cleanliness standards.
It's time to come together as a community to support one another throughout these difficult times. Working with a media partner during this time can help you position and tailor your business in a way that will reach your customers effectively and compassionately. A local media partner knows your community and their needs and can help get your ads in front of the right people at the right time throughout this health crisis.