After months of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re finally ready to welcome customers back into your small business’s doors. But first, you have to figure out how to win shoppers back. Consumer habits and expectations have changed amidst the pandemic, and reaching customers today requires new marketing strategies.
In typical times, this might mean turning to Gannon Solutions to rework your digital strategy from the ground up. Unfortunately, months of lockdown have left businesses with little room in their marketing budgets. If you need marketing strategies to help you reopen your business on a budget, turn to cost-effective tactics like these.
- Apply for loans and grants. First, if funds are tight, Zen Business points out that you can apply for financial relief. Small businesses can apply for government loan programs like SBA Express Bridge and traditional SBA loans as well as non-governmental grants from companies like Facebook, Verizon, and ZenBusiness to support COVID-19 recovery efforts. With more funds to work with, you can market your business more aggressively and recover faster.
- Update your hours. One of the simplest and cheapest things businesses can do to let customers know they’re open is update business listings on Google My Business, Yelp, social media bios, and business websites. Include information on service changes you’ve made due to COVID-19, such as limiting in-store capacity or requiring reservations. Many businesses find it helpful to add a COVID-19 banner to their website landing page to prominently announce changes related to the pandemic.
- Make your website mobile-friendly. If your business is shifting towards e-commerce after the pandemic, optimizing your site for mobile, tablet, and desktop is another necessary upgrade. If a website doesn’t load quickly or work seamlessly on mobile devices, customers are more likely to click away or abandon a shopping cart.
- Engage via email marketing. Now that you’ve updated your digital presence, it’s time to engage your audience. But what’s the best way to do it? For businesses on a budget, email marketing is a smart place to start. Email marketing is both affordable and surprisingly effective, with an average open rate of nearly 23% and return on investment potential of up to 4,400%. Avoid getting lost in the sea of pandemic-related content by keeping your email content compassionate, concise, and actionable.
- Grow your following with giveaways. Email is great for connecting with your existing audience, but what about finding new customers? Social media contests and giveaways are an affordable way to grow your following and generate excitement for your business’s reopening. In addition to creating buzz, Wordstream explains that Instagram giveaways provide analytics data for use in future campaigns.
- Organize an in-store promo. Reopening is especially challenging for businesses that rely on foot traffic. If you’re looking to get customers back to a brick and mortar location, consider running a special promotional offer. Discounts, buy-one get-one offers, and free gifts with purchase that are only available in-store encourages customers to make the leap from online shopping to on-site spending.
- Put safety first. The most important thing any business can do while reopening is put safety first. COVID-19 safety should include both behind-the-scenes measures like a stringent cleaning routine and customer-facing changes like limited traffic, social distancing signs, and contactless payment. Not only do these measures keep employees and customers safe following reopening, it also generates positive word-of-mouth marketing as customers share their safe shopping experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shrunk small business’s budgets across all categories, but if there’s one area you can’t afford to cut entirely, it’s marketing. Marketing is the key to reconnecting with customers after months of closure and letting shoppers know that you’re ready to meet their needs once again. Instead of skimping on marketing as you prepare to reopen, use cost-effective strategies like these to grow your audience on a budget.