The pandemic and the recession have been rough on the global economy, and one of the sectors to take the biggest hit during the COVID-19 crisis is the small business. In a survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business among small business owners, 21% of 562 respondents reported that they would only remain open for the next six months if the economy doesn’t improve.
That is not a surprising turn of events. Because small businesses have much fewer resources and bigger credit constraints, they are far less equipped to combat the effects of a global recession. But now more than ever, small businesses need to survive and thrive. They are one of the greatest drivers of economic growth, they enrich local communities, and they provide jobs for people who may not necessarily get hired by bigger corporations. If we want to survive this pandemic, then small businesses need to survive as well.
Here are some creative ways to drive foot traffic into your store and promote your small business during the COVID-19 crisis.
Foster a genuine connection with your audience.
If before the pandemic, you could afford to go on your merry way without making connections with your clientele, you can’t afford to do so now. It’s been months since the pandemic was announced, but a lot of consumers might still find themselves confused about our new normal. If you don’t communicate with them regularly, you might lose them to competitors who are willing to communicate and build that relationship with them.
Leverage your business’s social media accounts. We live in abnormal times, and adding a personal touch to your posts may be the professional thing to do at this point. Remind your audience of our shared humanity, and that your business is still around and that it exists to serve the customers.
Provide special promos.
If there’s one thing consumers love regardless of the state of the economy, it’s freebies and discounts. Freebies don’t have to be expensive—it could be anything from pens to roses to baseball caps and t-shirts. Aside from freebies, you can also explore the idea of using a reward system to give them an incentive to return. It can be something as simple as giving them a reward card that can provide them with a discount or a special freebie if they’re able to return to the store a certain number of times. Creating a reward system also builds loyalty and trust between you and your customers.
Re-brand if you must.
To stay on top, you need to find what works and improve it and find what doesn’t work and replace it. One of the key ways to set your small business apart from competitors is by having a striking and unique brand identity. If you find that your current branding is getting lost in the shuffle, consider overhauling your entire brand identity and brand strategy. Be creative and resourceful when coming up with a logo, tagline, colors, and other visual elements for your business.
Explore new digital marketing tools.
Now is the time to explore digital marketing tools that you’ve never tried before. There are so many things you can do online to make sure that you reach your audience and that you’re able to communicate your message. Here are two examples of digital marketing ideas you can try:
- SEO. The Internet is saturated with millions and millions of contents. Utilizing search engine optimization can help you get your content to the first page of Google search engine, giving you an edge over your competitors.
- E-mail marketing. It may be considered dated, but this is easily one of the most efficient marketing practices in terms of ROI.
Don’t neglect traditional marketing.
While digital marketing shouldn’t be neglected in the age of the Internet and social media, some traditional marketing practices still work and can go a long way in helping you promote your business. Drive foot traffic into your store by investing in sign advertising—a well-designed 3165ra signage can help grab consumers’ attention as people will still drive, bike, or walk to work.
Hosting promotional events may be off the table for now, but other traditional marketing ideas like product donations and direct mail marketing are still effective ways to promote your business.
Don’t Scrimp on Marketing
The bottom line is that a recession is not the time to cut down on marketing resources. During an economic downturn, you need to be smart about where you allocate your remaining resources. In the digital and physical spheres, marketing is one of the aspects you shouldn’t scrimp on. So be creative, and don’t throw in the towel just yet!