Re-strategizing for post COVID-19
On Thursday, Rick and John “Jay” presented a webinar hosted by Elevate Rapid City on the current coronavirus situation and how it affects businesses in western South Dakota. If you missed it, here’s your chance to dive into the conversation.
There is a TON of information circulating right now from a variety of sources on COVID-19. It’s scary. It’s uncharted waters where we are all in the same boat navigating through the situation together. However, there are some things you should know about COVID-19 and its relation to the success of your business during this time.
Separate Emotion from Facts
As the saying goes, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Yes, it is an unnerving time—we have to acknowledge that as business owners and leaders in our communities. But it’s also a chance to thrive as the entrepreneur you are. Separate emotion and get the facts. Official sources will be your best information resources, and it’s always good to keep up with media reporting on the data from official sources to hear the perspective they share. The emotion-led sources, such as social media, blogs, and day-to-day conversations are not the kind of information you have time to absorb in this period of quick reactions. They are opinion, and although important as they are reactionary to facts and stories being shared, they are still opinion. Keep your eyes on the light ahead of the tunnel we are going through and stick to the sources you know are reputable.
Embrace the New Pace
Technology has been around for decades now. Many businesses have a web presence or at least a social media presence that gets you into a user’s search results. But now it isn’t a secondary option. Technological avenues for serving your products and communicating with your customers is a necessity. Now is the time to embrace new ideas, new avenues, and new platforms as audiences are consuming more and more while quarantine measures are in place.
If you are new to digital, now is the time to test it out. If you need help, reach out! There are plenty of professionals in the area who do these things every day.
Redefine & Understand Your Audience
There has been somewhat of a paradigm shift as the world has been experiencing this pandemic—a similar response to many other crises. New user personas are created with updated demographic actions. For many brick and mortar businesses, it has traditionally been a priority to get face-to-face to make a sale. But now, in a digital world, how do you talk to customers? First, you need to know the three groups all people are broken down into.
Audience 1: Stop it all. Right now.
This audience is rooted in their emotions. These people are sure to stop what they are doing, stock up on what they feel are necessities, and spend time going through headlines. The best way to reach these people right now is through social media channels. Here is a guide to adjust your messaging.
Audience 2: Wait & See
This audience teeter-totters between emotion and logic. Although they are still being consistent in checking headlines and trolling social channels for updates on what others are doing, they are also watching official channels for fact-based information. These audiences are great to target for tourism industry as the #DontCancelPostpone movement increases. Keep in front of them to stay top-of-mind.
Audience 3: Seize the Day
Backed by confidence (and maybe a little bit of ego), this audience embraces the fast-paced changes and Latin motto, carpe diem. This is typically your peers. These are business owners, leader, and informed consumers who keep updated with official outlets, plan, and prepare for the future. (This can be you!)
How has (or will) COVID-19 change how your customers buy from you?
Here is your opportunity, business world! Take the chance to try something you’ve thought about but maybe haven’t gotten around to due to the daily grind. Create an eCommerce store, hold virtual meetings, join together in online community. Heck, think of all of those at home with kids and create fun, deliverable goods to share with them! The consumer world is very patient right now, with a big move to support local. Take advantage of this opportunity to dive into innovation.
Maintain Your Market Share
Times are tough right now; that’s just the truth, and we get it. But do not do yourself, your employees, and your business a disservice by staying quiet through this time. You owe it to yourself to prepare for a strong comeback, and that means building your plan NOW.
Get those A/B tests going through Google AdWords and Facebook. Test Facebook Live. Create an online web portal, a loyalty program, a personal shopping experience. You have to keep sharing your services and remain a voice at the forefront right now. If you don’t, someone else will.
What is the strategy for your business six months from now?
Advertising, marketing, communication – whatever you want to call it – is not like a simple water tap, or even a spigot. Remember water pumps…the ones that have sat out for a while…the ones you have to prime, pumping and pumping until you get a trickle of useless water until eventually it’s clean? Those. Those pumps are an accurate demonstration of regaining traction in the market after going silent. It’s doable; don’t get us wrong. But, it’s hard; it’s a lot of work.
We are lucky in the Black Hills to have an array of communication options when keeping our voice in the market. You can see the whole list here in our presentation, but know which ones will have lead times and can be updated quickly in times of uncertainty. Digital is your friend, but don’t discount traditional options like direct-mail while the general public is stuck at home.
Staying on Track for post-COVID-19
As cheesy as it may sound, the classic “Nascar effect” is the perfect example of times of crisis. It’s a gamble. Much like a race car on the track, you will eventually need a pit stop for maintenance. However, the time in which you pit is up to you. With strategy, planning, and tracking, you’re more than likely going to make a better decision on when to stop and let the competition pass you. This all comes with a warning; very rarely will a car that is two or three laps behind ever win the race.
How is your competition doing? What can you learn from them?
We are all in a time of testing and revising right now. Are you seeing great ideas? How can you apply those to your own business model? And can it last?
It’s okay to not know how to feel right now. We are in uncharted territory. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel; we all just need to stay the course to reach the end.
If you need any help from the Evergreen Media team (web, digital, content, social, general marketing, etc.), please reach out. During this time, we are waiving our fees for the first hour of consultation.
We’re in this together, and we will get through this bump thrown in our way.
~ EGM Team