With the streets of the world empty and many businesses now closed, the situation looks bleak but there is a way through this if you are prepared to open your mind. We’ve been here before, but never on this scale affecting everyone. As always during and after these events there are winners and there will be losers, do you go all in or do you fold?
The truth of the matter is that these things pass and things will get better but it’s how you choose to adapt and work your way through it. The world has gone on line more than ever before, people searching for news, hope and inspiration if you’re not there then you are missing a huge opportunity to engage with your customers past, present and future.
Promoting your business through and out of lockdown will need to be a process that has layers of activity. I hear you say why would I promote through lockdown when people are not buying?
To that I would say stop promoting and you will be like 70% of your competitors, leaving the remaining 30% that continue to promote to clean up the spoils and bounce back stronger.
‘THESE ARE NOT ORDINARY TIMES SO THEY WILL NEED EXTRAORDINARY SOLUTIONS’
In light of the Government’s recent announcement to close all but essential business, why not fight back by focusing on mobilising your offer, so you can take online orders from your very own website.
As well as taking click-and-collect orders from your site, you can print flyers and reach your audience with your new service offering that way. However, it doesn’t end there. Once you’re set up, you’ll need to spread the word.
Here are some tips on how to promote your site and get online orders through the use of digital platforms.
To help you get the message out to your customer base, we’ve outlined a few ideas for social posts.
These are just suggestions and should be customised accordingly so that customers know explicitly:
• What you are offering: Collection of online orders
• Promotions: What percentage discount can you offer in order to drive more sales?
• Collection only: Are there any specifics regarding this that customers need to know ahead of ordering?
While social posts should include all relevant details, they are a great way to inject some personality and positivity during an unsettling period. If you know your audience well, talk to them directly in a way that sounds familiar.
1. During this period of uncertainty we’re taking steps to protect our customers and staff. We have revised our menu to make it mobile! Where there’s a will, there’s a way! If you could support [business name] during this time it would make a huge difference. From today we’re offering customers 10% off their online orders here: [website page] and we will accept payment on pickup or delivery.
2. Times are tough out there, so we’re adapting. From now on [business name] will offer both delivery and collect services across [insert location/postcode radius]. You can make your first online order here [website page] with 10% off, and we will accept payment on collection or delivery
3 We are now accepting delivery and collection orders, which means you can enjoy peace of mind. Simply order online here [website page] and pay on collection. We’re knocking 10% off your order value too, as a thank you for supporting us during this time.
4. [business name] is now accepting collection and delivery orders, which means you can enjoy peace of mind. Simply order online here [website page] and pay on collection. We’re knocking 10% off your order value too, as a thank you for supporting us during this time.
In order to let your customer base and other locals know that you are now offering this new service, you need to be proactive across social media, as well as utilising other communication tools such as SMS and email, where possible.
1. Sharing on your own page
• Share different variants of social posts regularly (3-4 times per week) on your own business page
• Use different forms of media to help create different messaging to increase levels of engagement: Choose your own imagery or video if you have it
• Think about the timings of your post: When are people most likely to consider making dinner choices?
• Break up posts, consider 1 post in the late morning, and 2 across the late afternoon/early evening.
2. Social sharing in local pages and forums become a member of local groups on Facebook. Once you’ve been granted posting access, share a social post with an image with your details including your landing page.
Use the search bar to type in ‘locals’ and then the name of your businesses location: E.g. ‘Locals Reading’ brings up Helping locals Reading which is the place you want to be.
• Look at business-specific forums in your area. E.g. ‘local business community’
• Use keywords such as ‘community’ and ‘locals’
• Look at the surrounding areas - for example, boroughs and areas- e.g. ‘Woodley locals’, ‘Reading small businesses’ Posting in business communities If you are able to find local, relevant business community pages on Facebook, use these not only as a platform to share your new offering but as a sounding board to bounce ideas off and discuss plans with other small business owners.
Would there be any mutual benefits from partnering up with a local corner shop, Pharmacy or Dental Surgery to support one another?
EMAIL AND SMS
As well as posting across social forums on Facebook, consider the tools that you already have to speak to customers directly. If you already have a database of reliable contacts and are able to reach out via email or even SMS (using a third-party supplier that helps you stay GDPR compliant) then proactively send out an email and text message.
This will help get the message across to a captive audience who is already interested in hearing news and updates from your business. SMS providers such as Messente, Reach and Text Magic are currently offering a free trial.
See their websites for more information.
SMS (160 characters per message) example posts
From everyone at MG Retail
The internet has revolutionised the way in which we live and do business, yet many business owners struggle with fully embracing the power of it. Some businesses faltered because they were slow to adapt and lagged behind. This next stage has forced many of us to look at the way in which we work and brought out the survival instinct within us. There will be casualties along the way and also a whole heap of new opportunities.
I hope that this short ebook has given you some food for thought and the encouragement to try something different.