Some states are opening up for business, despite polls that show consumers are still reluctant—and concerned about COVID-19. How should your marketing address the fear?
It can seem confusing and overwhelming to balance the need for safety and staying in business.
But here’s the deal.
Your business is a reflection of you and your values and beliefs. It’s important to stay true to those. You basically have three choices:
Stay with your existing lockdown strategy.
If you are personally concerned with your wellbeing and that of your employees and customers, you can choose to stick to your existing way of doing business. Just because everyone is opening, doesn’t mean you have to. And, if your customers are just as concerned as you are, then you need to reflect that.
Run a modified re-opening strategy.
If you’re eager to get back to business and you want to make sure that your staff and customers are safe, you can create a modified strategy.
- If you are a restaurant, retailer, nail salon, gym, etc. you can limit the number of people that you have in your facility. You can only be open for a few hours. Get together with your employees and discuss how you might make it work.
- If you are a service business or professional business such as a financial planner, insurance office or attorney, you can structure appointments such that there is enough distancing as well as enhanced cleaning between appointments.
- If you’re a non-essential manufacturing business, consider dividing up your staff into shifts or only bring back a certain number of essential employees at certain times.
Open your business completely
If you believe that you are ready to open completely and you are confident that you have a significant segment of customers who are comfortable with a full-open — then DO IT.
It’s your business. You make the decisions. And if your state allows you to open, then do it.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Reopening Your Business
Get crystal clear on where you stand around this situation. Remember, there is an audience for any position you take. So use your own judgement.
Recently SCORE released The Coronavirus Small Business Reopening Checklist provides a list of guidelines and action items that small business owners should consider as they reopen their brick and mortar stores.
Check in with your state to see your state’s status and recommendations for reopening.
Meet with your employees and see where they stand. Tell them what you’re considering, share your point of view and see how comfortable they feel about opening up. If your employees are uncomfortable with coming back to work — do not force them. It will create a bad customer experience and create negative word of mouth.
If your employees are open to it, brainstorm their thoughts and ideas on what would be a safe way to reopen.
Once you’ve decided and have everyone’s support — make a list of how you’re going to operate.
How to Inform Customers About Your Operations
- IMMEDIATELY: Update your Google listing. Your customers are searching for your hours or how you’re operating, so update this first.
- Update your website. You can place a banner on your website that links to a page that outlines how you’re operating during this time. Be sure to put a date on the site and keep updating it so that people know that it’s current.
- Send emails to your customers. If you have a customer email list, let your customers know exactly what they can expect from your business, when you’re open and what they need to know in order to do business with you. List any special restrictions, instructions, etc. You want to make sure that they know exactly what to expect.
- Update Facebook Pages. Post an announcement on your Facebook page. Get creative. You can post a video with you and your team. You can post images or video of you and your team preparing to open.
- Update any signage. If you have any signage outside your business — update it. You can place your phone number, a simple link to your website.
Prepare for Another Disruption
I’m not sure where you stand on this “opening up the country” discussion. But one thing we’ve all learned from this pandemic is that you have to be prepared for another disruption.
Don’t forget to make a Plan B or even a Plan C!
There is a good possibility that we will see more disruptions in another month or two or six or twelve. What will you do THEN?
The tips I’ve shared apply no matter what the disruption.
There is only one other disruption that we haven’t talked about — and that is a real possibility. What if the internet goes down? What will you do?
Plan for it!