Blue Sky Thinking
It would be amiss to just plough ahead with business as usual and not acknowledge what is going on in the world around us. Covid-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus, has had a huge impact on businesses nationwide and indeed worldwide. In Ireland, creches, schools and universities have all closed. Pubs, cafes and restaurants have closed or mostly closed. We have also observed many business premises closing down until it is safe to open again. With so many children at home, parents are juggling their working schedules around childcare as grandparents are not allowed to intervene to help out. It really is strange times and nothing I have ever experienced before or hope to ever experience again.
I have spoken to many business owners over the last week. There is obviously an underlying uncertainty and unease for most business owners. At times like this it is really hard to be creative, particularly when you’re stressed. However, now more than ever, we need to be creative and think differently.
Try to think how your business can change direction to either temporarily take in some revenue or permanently to keep afloat. Where have you been investing your marketing budget to date? What has your return on investment been? Do you need to look at the type of customer that you are targeting and change direction?
If you’re working on your own or have a team around you, get the brains together (virtually!) and do some brain storming. Think about what different ways your product or service can be used or offered. I’ve observed some businesses thinking very quickly on their feet. A local wedding caterer has obviously had no business overnight, however, they make amazing food and have temporarily turned their business into a take away/food delivery service.
What can you do differently? I worked with a customer of mine this week and have asked them to look at different target customers. They had a very specific type of customer in mind previously, but there is nothing to stop them selling their produce successfully to a different type of customer. There are still frontline staff that need products and services, as we very much need theirs. Is there anything that you can do to help?
Yes, lots of businesses have turned off advertising campaigns online and offline to save money. I absolutely understand that this may have been the right thing to do. However, not all marketing needs to cost you money. We wrote a blog a few months ago on Marketing on a Budget, some of it might help. It is free to post regularly on social media. I recommend every business to keep your content “alive” on social media. Childcare facilities and schools, while closed, are sharing useful content with parents on their social media. I’ve seen lots of tips for baking, doing arts and crafts and how to teach your kids in a fun way. Being useful to your social media followers will be remembered.
Do you have an email marketing database? If so, use it! Email marketing can be done on a very low budget, depending on your subscriber numbers. It might event be free still for you on your email marketing service provider plan. Again, share useful content, things you have found funny, beneficial or relevant. Don’t forget about your sense of humour!
If you’re really struggling to brainstorm and would like somebody to share the burden with, then keep in mind that we offer marketing strategy meetings virtually through video conferencing or over the phone. When you’re stressed or under pressure, I understand that it can be difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel or see new ways to operate your business. Get in contact if you need help marketing your business.