As of mid-March 2020, the World Health Organization
(WHO) declared the Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, a global pandemic. No one has definitive answers or can predict what the future might hold for small businesses in our area.
We get it! We are a small business as well. My wife and I founded the agency in 2004 and have been serving the Monterey area specifically since 2014. We have three kids, ages 7, 13, and 15, and are doing all that we can to ensure the safety of our family first and foremost. While we are doing all that we can to protect our family, we also want to do all that we can to protect the community that we love in the Monterey area and all of the businesses that are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While we don’t have all the answers, we do want to share what we know and be able to offer guidance for our customers as well as other small businesses that are trying to mitigate the fallout and shifts in their businesses that are undoubtedly happening outside of their control.
Retail-based businesses and other industries such as entertainment and hospitality are going to see dramatic shifts and it may take some creativity and ingenuity to keep customers or to continue generating sales. If you are in the travel and tourism industry, things are changing daily (and in some cases by the hour). It is critical to keep existing and potential customers fully informed.
Below are a few suggestions and strategies to utilize that can help your small business in the Monterey area put its best foot forward.
Communicate Changes in Policies, Hours, or Service
First and foremost, control what you actually have control over. COVID-19 has made many of us feel powerless but you control how your small business chooses to respond to the pandemic.
Monterey-based small businesses must communicate effectively and efficiently to maintain customer relationships. Being proactive with communication albeit by email or directly through your website and social channels will help build or maintain trust with current and potential customers.
Limiting hours, changing service options, or even issuing refunds will impact your business short-term, but if communicated correctly to customers, this will positively impact long-term relationships with clients since many people in our area are already or about to experience significant stress and financial hardship.
Make sure to communicate any of these changes consistently across all your marketing channels, including your website, social media, as well as other listings such as Google My Business and Yelp.
Adjust Your Strategies and Goals
With the local Monterey economy slowing down or coming to a halt, in some instances, take a good look at your marketing strategies to see if there are any opportunities to limit budgets or pause campaigns. Many businesses run general “awareness” based campaigns that do not target ideal customers. Awareness campaigns will not generate results in a fear-based economy. Instead of building awareness, repurpose these campaigns or put your energy and efforts solely on the markets and target audience you know is interested in buying from you.
If you are a small business with a very small annual marketing budget, the best course of action may be to minimize any ad spend during the pandemic and wait until it makes sense financially to resume advertising once customers are ready to buy.
As we mentioned above with communication, whatever you are selling it is critical to be clear and concise and not mislead customers in any way, shape, or form.
Keep Checking In & Help Where You Can
The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving and changing our community, the country, and the world on a daily basis. Remain vigilant in your communication and keep customers up to speed on whatever changes your business is making or whatever you want or need to share with customers.
In addition, one of the things we love about the Monterey community is how we all work together to lift each other up. Supporting each other and finding ways to help our local businesses keep their doors open and retain their customers is something we can all do together. Get creative, establish partnerships, and grow in new ways that you might not have thought of prior to such a life-altering experience such as this.
Need Help Developing a Strategy, Developing Communications, or Shifting Your Business during COVID-19?
Please reach out to us for an absolutely free consultation. If we can help in any way, we will do what we can and keep our costs as low as possible. We believe in the power of community!
“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” – Margaret J. Wheatley
Jerry Vinci & Safira Vinci
Co-Owners of Vinci Digital Marketing