I bet we are all thinking about this coming year and how this virus will impact our businesses. During these sorts of events, I think it is important to keep calm and focus on driving our businesses forward. My guess is that the businesses that focus on not just tactical but strategic-collaborative marketing efforts will weather this storm, the businesses that don’t evolve will be left behind. I feel we need to start preparing for lower than usual traffic to our businesses.
What we can mention to our customers
- Our shops are disinfected (and tell them how) every night. Show the products use and staff cleaning in posts.
- We ask people who appear to be sick to immediately leave, offering some sort of remote service (bringing goods/services to the car, etc)
- Mention that we (the shop owner) would appreciate their support through this tough time. Make it personal “My FAMILY appreciates your support…” etc
- We publicly suggest that older folks stay home and ask others to shop for them
Here are some things we can suggest customers/clients to do to support us
- Purchase gift cards for use later in the year
- Have one of Vashon’s couple of food/delivery services bring product to their home (we have 2 of them on the island)
- When customers come in, mention you have hand sanitizer (if you have it), encourage them to wash their hands before and after they shop/eat.
- Offer some sort of discount
- Suggest they call in and order take out
Benefits for shopping at local businesses now
- Smaller crowds
- Take advantage of new discounts offered due to the virus
- Shops are never cleaner than they are now (mentioning that the shops are disinfected nightly, which is a good idea)
- First and foremost, they will be supporting our local businesses.
Upside of free time. Things we can do while business is slow
- Update, create or add content to website
- Stay away from creating events, focus on your product or service
- Build an email list (you got this email from me because I built a list… It takes time, but its worth it) and send out updates to your current fanbase.
- Create, Update or add to your social media platforms
- Perform OUTREACH on social media. If you don’t know how to do this, just ask.
- Find collaboration opportunities. For instance, come to my brewery to fill up a growler to go, and pick up a pizza to go on the way home. Cross promote with other Vashon businesses and leverage their audience in marketing.
- Connect with island bloggers and tourism sites (like mine, Explore Vashon) to help encourage off island visitor to visit YOUR location. Again, building that consumer confidence that we are doing our best in disinfecting our establishments and making a SAFE shopping environment is very important.
Support. IMHO, we need to leverage each others strengths to ensure we all weather this storm. I have set up a Facebook group where you can ask any sort of Vashon Island business/marketing question. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1735402070079231/. Also, feel free to reach out to me directly if you wish, I am here to help.
Keep safe, keep strong and collaborate folks.