The lockdowns necessitated by the rise of COVID-19 cases have made it much more difficult for small businesses to engage with their communities. Instead of hosting live events that are meant to bring the neighborhood together and encourage interaction within the community, businesses had to limit themselves to online activities so as not to compromise the safety of their staff members and customers.
The same can also be said about their marketing strategies. Instead of inviting more customers to their physical stores, many businesses have ramped up their online selling efforts to stay afloat.
Keeping your customers’ attention on your business is a significant challenge not only because of dire issues in real life, but also the fact that countless other retailers are vying for their attention. If you’re looking for ways to keep your customers involved in your business while the rest of the world is seemingly at a standstill, try these strategies:
Embrace Social Media Marketing
Instead of treating social media marketing as a temporary solution for being unable to meet customers face to face, it’s more proactive to embrace it as an essential part of your company’s marketing strategy. This will help you build connections with your customers and online followers even if you can’t see each other face-to-face.
For example, on top of inviting people to your store to check out your new line of custom dog bandanas, collars, and leashes, why not do a digital launch as well? You can do a launching ceremony in your brick-and-mortar shop and livestream it on your social media pages.
If you have ongoing promos, make sure your online buyers and social media followers can also join the fun by providing them with online-exclusive discount codes and freebies. When giving out discounts, you can disperse it online through coupon sites like ShipTheDeal to acquire more leads. If you don’t have an event coming up, make it a point to post content consistently and interact with your social media followers.
Use Polls and Contests to Encourage Interaction
Polls and contests can also garner a great deal of attention both online and in person. You can try posting polls and holding contests every week. Alternatively, you can encourage audience and online participation by giving gifts such as discount coupons and promo codes to a lucky participant.
For example, if you have a beverage kiosk, you can pit popular milk tea flavors against each other and see which flavor is favored by more people. The people who voted the winning entry can then be entered in a raffle where they’ll get a free product from your store.
Another example would be making your followers guess a fact about your business or industry. You can ask them to guess the name of your next line of pet products, for instance, then give away prizes to those who can get the right answer.
Organize Walk-through Exhibits
If you know what you’re doing, you can still find ways to physically interact with your customers safely. Whatever method you choose, the goal is to widen your visibility and stay on the radar of the people who are out and about.
For example, you can organize a walk-through exhibit of your products that your customers can view even if they can’t step inside your store. It’s like putting up posters of your goods but in a more organized and thoughtful manner.
Perhaps you can rent all the ad spaces at a particular bus stop and display posters of your restaurant’s seasonal dishes so your customers can see their options clearly. It’s also an option to commission a mural or road art that focuses on the benefits that your products bring to your clients.
Support Events That Empower the Community
Participating in safe events that empower your community and aim to keep your customers’ spirits up in these times is also a good way of reaching out to your audience, especially if most of your regulars are members of your neighborhood. Maybe there’s a food bank near you or a program that helps the elderly procure the supplies they need, for instance?
Taking part in these activities by donating can help you make your brand and business more visible to your customers. At the same time, you’re doing your part in helping your community bounce back from this difficult time.
Collaborate with Other Businesses and Organizations
Last but not least, you can attract the attention of customers by collaborating with other businesses and hosting a marketing program together. This helps you find customers who have interests in different niches and introduces your regular buyers to products and services that are also worth looking into.
If you have a bakeshop and your partner company sells beverages, maybe you can offer discount coupons to customers who might want to check out your partner’s stall and vice versa. If you specialize in selling art supplies, perhaps you can partner with a T-shirt seller and sell tie-dye sets. Alternatively, you can collaborate with a flower shop and sell art kits that incorporate dried botanicals.
The lockdowns may pose several restrictions to your business, but this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to wait until the current crisis is over so that you can resume your marketing and promotional activities. There are still many different ways to keep your audience engaged with your business, and you can still leave a positive impression on new buyers even if you don’t get to see them face to face. Try these strategies and see how they can help you connect with your new and returning customers.
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