It’s fair enough to say that North Queenslanders have had our fair share of tough times. Now, with a global pandemic upon us, we appreciate that everyone has been busy reviewing their business activities, including marketing. In times like this it can be tempting to take the defeated road and pre-emptively close-up shop until the tough time passes, but is that the right decision long-term?
Businesses throughout the world have seen and overcome tough times and if we look at each crisis, we see a pattern that the resilient ones see through to the other side and can even grow stronger. Of course, many business owners are feeling overwhelmed and it can be difficult to clear your mind enough to develop a plan forward. So, what can you do in your business to help you make it through this challenging time? Our team has gathered our thoughts to create a list you can apply right now.
“We have a 100% success rate in obtaining grants for our clients…”
Tell people you are open
If you are still operational, in any form (reduced hours, work from home, etc.), tell people you are open and remind them of the products and services you have available. Communicate payment and delivery options you have available, along with any new precautions or safety measures.
Update your business hours
If your business is offering extended trading hours or has had to alter them due to market conditions, update these wherever your customers will be looking for them; your website, Google My Business, social media accounts, online directories and your premises entry signage.
Develop a plan
There is never a more important time to have a clear and defined strategy in relation to how you are spending your precious marketing dollars than right now. You may have been fortunate up until this point with your scattergun approach but the phone might not be ringing as much as it was before, so knowing which areas to direct your focus towards and what customer groups to target is critical.
Ask for reviews
Your current customers are your best brand ambassadors, so if they aren’t engaging in their usual spending habits, then ask them to offer you a review online on either Google, Facebook or elsewhere. A written testimonial might be the difference in converting a potential customer to an existing one. Having public testimonials at the ready will assist your business once normality returns.
Maximise your current commitments
If you are locked into an ongoing advertising agreement, be sure to utilise all the benefits you are offered. It could be that you aren’t taking advantage of a digital component, a website ad space or social media mentions. Go back and check your agreement or even better, meet with your rep and ask them what else they can do to assist you right now. Between the two of you it could mean developing something creative that could drive new interest your way.
Promote suppliers’ offers
If your suppliers are offering special offers or discounts right now, ensure you are promoting them to your customers. You can do this through your digital strategy or if the offer is simply too good to refuse, then look at creating a specific marketing campaign for this. Start with a small investment where you can test and measure its success before throwing everything you have left at it.
Apply for a grant or stimulus packages
There are numerous government grants along with stimulus packages available that can assist your business. Your accountant can assist you in accessing the stimulus packages, while grants would see you apply directly through an application process. Some grant applications are extensive, so if you need assistance navigating your way through, our team is here to help. We have had a 100% success rate in obtaining grants for our clients that we believe fit the criteria they are applying for.
If your business is in an industry where tenders are available, but you have never considered them, then all you require is some well-produced company documents to ensure your submission stands out in this sometimes-competitive arena. Ensure that you register on government tender sites in the areas you can service and set up alerts for tenders that match your search criteria.
Keep adding to the team culture
For many industries, labour is the greatest expense for businesses. Remember that we are in a time of grief and depending on your individual circumstances, your staff will be in different stages of the grief cycle. Just like your customers, it’s important to keep up communication to your team, with clear information, to curb their anxiety levels.
Facetime or Zoom
Bring a different level of customer service to the table if you are in retail, by walking the shop floor and showing different options available to customers over the phone! This is not only a great added service offering, but fun. Keeping in touch with your team or partners that are working remotely has never been easier with Zoom, online video conferencing that can be accessed anywhere you have access to the internet. Sign up is free!
The most important thing is don’t press the stop button immediately. Sit back and reflect on what you are going to do now and give it some uninterrupted time and attention, as sometimes it can be challenging trying to start from ground zero. If you get stuck or lost thinking about what to do next, our team is here for you and we are happy to answer questions. The decisions you make now could have a great impact on the business in a few weeks or months.
Stay safe everyone.