Not too long ago we discussed ways digital marketing could help brands adjust to these unprecedented times. At Barcelona Creative Group, we believe that truly smart marketers are finding ways to overcome these challenging times and be extra creative. Last week I attended a webinar in which the speaker shared her silver lining from the past weeks – her belief that “Limitation opens the door for innovation.” In her experience, she’s seen clients trying new things, things they were nervous to do before. Why? Because limitations don’t always have to equate to restrictions. Now more than ever we are being forced to find new solutions, other means to connect brands to their target audience and, in general, new ways to adapt to our current situations.

It is no surprise that small businesses are feeling the impact of COVID-19. As a small business ourselves, we get it. Whether you’ve been forced to take a hard look at your current digital marketing plan or you’re feeling the need to be present now more than ever, this article below highlights concrete ways that small businesses can navigate these trying times and thrive. Remember that now is a time for creativity and innovation and Barcelona Creative Group is here to help!

The following article titled “3 Surefire Ways Small Businesses Can Navigate COVID-19 and Thrive” was published on May 4, 2020 on Goodway Group.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the largest small business association in the United States, is out with its latest survey and found 92% of small employers are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak with 80% reporting slower sales, 31% experiencing supply chain disruptions, and 23% concerned over potential sick employees. To help you avoid any impact, here are 3 surefire ways small businesses can navigate COVID-19 and thrive.

#1: Shift How You Operate to the Current Environment

Social distancing mandates have made it difficult for your audience to come to you, but you can still bring your products or services to them. If you’re a gym, turn your in-person fitness classes into virtual ones to satisfy customers and potentially attract a wider audience. If you’re a restaurant or retail shop, offer gift cards buyers can get now to treat themselves later once the COVID-19 threat has passed. This can help you get the sales you need now while giving customers something to look forward to in the future. Or offer curbside pickup and expanded free delivery to improve your customer experience.

Bookstores have gotten creative in how they connect with customers during the crisis. For instance, {pages: a bookstore} in L.A. moved their book clubs to Zoom. And Capitol Hill Books in Washington, D.C., now offers mystery book grab bags for sale: For a reading escape, provide a budget, and a bookseller will select your book titles, send a book stack picture for approval and ship the package for free right to your door.

If you manage a car dealership, consider offering virtual vehicle walkarounds or contactless vehicle pickup or delivery. Since many people are suffering financially, try deferring car payments or offering service discounts to properly care for your customers. And enable live chat on your website so you can engage eager prospects when they’re shopping from home and making vehicle comparisons and have questions.

Zoos and museums, tourist attractions usually buzzing with crowds, have also gotten comfortable going virtual by offering virtual exhibit tours and themed activities on their websites and more. Even children’s party places have moved the typical weekend birthday circuit online. Princesses no longer have to princess-wave to kids in person. Now they can join a Zoom call and make a grand appearance at a pixel dust party instead!

No matter your small business, opportunities abound for reaching and engaging your audience in new ways in our new world. The only limit is your imagination.

#2: Change Your Media Strategy

With many people spending the bulk of their time at home these days, revisit your media strategy and consider shifting some of your media dollars to advanced TV or paid social media.

Advanced TV, which encompasses all types of non-traditional TV you can watch on a smart TV, your phone, your desktop or tablet, is seeing tremendous growth right now. In fact, Roku predicts roughly half of U.S. homes will cut their cable or satellite cords by 2024. But with everyone home and watching more streaming TV during the pandemic, this may happen sooner rather than later. Just how much more TV are people watching these days? Nielsen says it’s up nearly 60%. Now’s the time to experiment with advanced TV: With more impressions available and less demand and less competition, try it, test it and experiment to see what it can do for your business. Want to get up to speed quickly on the topiclearn the lingo and explore all the types and options? Check out our handy advanced TV guide and download it for free.

Paid social media is another digital advertising channel that’s become more popular with users looking to stay informed and entertained right now: In fact, eMarketer reported Business Insider Intelligence found 50.8% of U.S. adults spent more time on social networks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly half (49.7%) of those who were increasing their usage said they were spending 1 to 3 more hours per day while 17.9% said they were spending more than 3 additional hours:

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Paid social media, like advanced TV, also has more impressions available now at reduced prices. So if you incorporate it into your media strategy, your advertising budget will go farther, and you’ll have the potential to reach more prospects.

#3: Build Your Brand Message

According to a recent Kantar study, 77% of consumers who responded expect brands to be helpful during the coronavirus pandemic, and 75% of them felt that companies should not exploit the health crisis to promote their brand. Only 8% of respondents felt that companies should stop advertising completely. So what should you do and how should you communicate during this sensitive time to be thoughtful but stay top of mind?

Go with a caring “we’re all in this together” unity message over an offer-based message. This will better resonate with customers. Think through how you can genuinely connect with people now and how you can improve your customer experience and your community.

Create helpful online resources packed with information and advice your audience needs. Send regular emails too that not only include your business updates but also how you’re monitoring, responding and adapting to COVID-19 and doing all you can to keep everyone healthy and safe.

Make sure your website is up to date and user-friendly. Explain any business changes there and how you’re handling COVID-19.

Dial up your social presence as well by posting more frequently. When you post, try to capture the human element through engaging stories. Give your audience a glimpse behind the scenes of your business or spotlight employees. Be reachable and readily available on social media channels to quickly reply to questions. Another way to garner more notice for your brand? Find and partner with a social media influencer who is a good match for your business.

Also, update your search keywords to match changing consumer queries. For example, focus on rentals, deliveries or other newly popular terms. And keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. What stories are they telling? What are they promoting? What angle are they taking now? Doing this can help you brainstorm and come up with compelling content of your own.

Changing your business to match the new normal, shifting your media strategy to try to achieve different results and focusing on building your brand right now are 3 effective ways to support your business, your customers and community as we all weather this crisis together. Want more COVID-19 industry news, research, tips and advice?

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