As I type this, my state of Victoria, Australia, is preparing to go into lockdown in 48 hours to stop the spread of coronavirus (yes, I’m also tired of typing and seeing that word as much as you).
In fact, in just the first 78 days of 2020, the Victorian Premier has declared a state of emergency for my state twice - one for the bushfire crisis, now a second one for this pandemic.
When the fires were finally under control (after some parts of the country experienced flash flooding), we were all able to relax a little.
Those businesses may have had a chance to rebuild, and we’d have a chance to recover, but now, non-essential businesses are forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
So what can businesses do to help them trade while the pandemic forces them to close their physical locations?
Here are some ideas to help all businesses survive (and thrive) through tough and uncertain times.
Look At What Other Brands Are Doing
For businesses like fitness and yoga studios, look at what Class Pass is doing ﹘ a work from-home deal, where you can live stream fitness classes and join in from home.
(If you run a fitness or yoga studio, don't forget kiddie classes for those working from home with their children.)
You can also give discounted passes for your in-person classes that will be honoured when you’re able to reopen your premises.
Think of parents at home with their kids who are looking for ways to keep them entertained. Art supplies, toys, puzzles and board games are all great avenues to keep kids busy, so this presents an unprecedented opportunity for these businesses to advertise.
(There is also a monthly subscription service that delivers one jigsaw puzzle to you each month, so subscription services are going to be a great way for your business to ensure revenue too.)
Now is the time to jump on Facebook - have a look at businesses and what offers they are promoting in your industry and in other industries to gain some ideas of what you can do.
Don’t Forget About Gift Vouchers or "Buy-In-Advance" Offers
Gift vouchers, buy-in-advance discounts and buy-now-book-later offers will work for hotels, medi spas, nail bars, beauty salons and even restaurants.
I have a recent email from Oaks Hotels offering up to 40% off all Aussie bookings for reservations up until 31 October.
Restaurants, bars and clubs can also take advantage of this by encouraging birthday deals for those born in April and May.
A friend can purchase a birthday package or gift card to the restaurant, bar or club as a birthday gift to use when the restaurant reopens in a few months’ time. (You can also run this as a Facebook ad right now, targeting those with birthdays in April and May.)
This is looking at you, e-commerce stores (and physical stores with an online store)!
If you've not considered a Facebook Messenger bot with a loyalty program, now is the time to do so. Customers can buy online (or directly in Messenger) and start earning and redeeming points or discounts on products using the Messenger platform. (Check out Walletly.)
Just remember - everyone who can’t work from home (and even those who are working remotely) will be at home with kids, and on their phone a lot more than ever before.
Adjust Your Messaging
When I went to the supermarket last week, I was told by the manager that people are bulk-buying meat.
So if you run a store that sells protein supplements, you can advertise your products and mention the protein content, its long shelf-life, and how it will be months before customers finish the packet.
You don't even have to mention the C-word (because likely, that will get your Facebook ad blacklisted!), but you can mention all of those benefits instead.
Try to Identify Opportunities
As well as adjusting your messaging, now is the time to see what opportunities there are for your marketing.
For example, Secretlab ran a $150 off stay-at-home deal on their chairs.
Inspirations Paint ran an ad for free delivery service for all purchases over $100 (knowing people would be at home over the next few weeks and what better time to paint?!).
Norton anti-virus software also ran a promotion...
... and Australia's national building and garden supplies chain, Bunnings Warehouse, ran a promotion to “give your balcony a mini-makeover”.
If you can, take this opportunity to reconsider how you do business, and if you've never advertised online before, now is the time to start paying attention to how you can market your business online.
Stay safe and well, and keep washing those hands! 👏🏼