As of this writing (will update on Monday), here is what we know about COVID 19 (coronavirus) in the US according to the CDC:
- Total cases: 1,629
- Total deaths: 41
- Jurisdictions reporting cases: 47 (46 states and District of Columbia)
Even though this is an ever-evolving situation, there are a few things you, a small business or restaurant owner, can implement now for marketing in the current environment.
Here is your small business digital marketing guide amid growing coronavirus concerns:
Avoid spreading misinformation
Always fact-check with the CDC first. You definitely don’t want to perpetuate panic or fear with a misaligned post or tweet. Don’t rely on what you’ve already read or thought you heard. If you’re not certain, don’t share it.
What policies and practices are you taking to ensure the public that your establishment is safe? Be transparent by explaining the steps you are taking to promote the health and safety of your employees and customers.
Check out the recommended strategies for employees and businesses from the CDC.
Utilize your email marketing to convey important information to those who are already receiving communication from you. Keep the information timely and relevant so that you don’t lose customers along the way.
And make sure that your social media calendar is up-to-date. With the many cancellations that continue to happen daily, make sure that your content makes sense within the current climate. For example, don’t encourage diners to come to watch an NBA game now that the season is suspended.
It’s hard to predict just how severe this pandemic will get and how much it will affect small business owners, but there is always a silver lining.
Promote Online Purchases
If you have an online store, now is the time to bring out your best promotions. Encourage your patrons to order online with out-of-this-world incentives. Get creative with your marketing by offering subscription services for popular items, free shipping on certain items, or discount delivery or pick-up options for food services.
This may take some out-of-the-box thinking, but take your skill/services/product to the virtual world. If you’re a crafter, consider selling slots for a webinar where you can demonstrate a particular skill via video conferencing.
Put together an e-book of your chef’s best recipes or your bartender’s specialty drinks. Don’t forget to utilize Live features on Facebook to reach a new audience. Behind the scenes and interviews with team members are great content for social media.
If you don’t have products available online at the very least you need to offer gift cards. There’s no doubt that the coronavirus will have a lasting financial effect on small businesses so gift cards that can be purchased now and then redeemed once the concerns are abated are a great way to keep the cash flow coming in during the lean times.
There are so many unknowns about the future impact of this pandemic, but don’t let fear keep you from doing what is right for your business. Maintain a hopeful attitude online and your customers will come back to you. Be diligent to keep your customers safe and yet give them opportunities to give you some business without coming into your store – even if you have to get creative.
Helping your business succeed is my main priority, so if you need help creating a virtual environment for your customers we can help with that.