Don’t Wait. Create a Reopening Marketing Plan For Your Local Business Today

By Raubi Perilli |

  | Apr 16, 2020  /  Solutions |

Right now, many local businesses are scrambling to do what they can to weather the storm brought on by COVID-19 business disruption. Some businesses are open in a limited capacity, while others are completely shut down.  

It’s an uncertain time leaving many people unsure of what to do next. But, while we don’t know when this will end -- we do know that it will eventually end.   

We will get back to normal. And when we do, your business needs to be ready.   

Here are the first things you should do when your business opens its door again -- and how you can get prepared now.

#1) Alert your customers that you’re back! 

While it’s likely that most businesses in the same region will reopen and get back to their normal hours at the same time, you should still alert your customers.    

It is going to be a time of celebration -- treat it as such.  

  • Send out an email alert to your list. 
  • Go live on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Create custom graphics for social media.
  • Update the exterior signage near your business.
  • Put up balloons or markers outside of your business. 

How To Prepare Now  

If you don’t already have an email or text marketing list, begin building it so you have an audience to notify when your doors open. Use this downtime to build your contact list so you can get your brand set up for future lifecycle marketing and remarketing campaigns.

Start with these seven simple ways to collect customer contact information.

Then, go ahead and draft the email announcement and create the graphics. Going through the process might even be slightly therapeutic as it can help you remember that things will eventually get back to normal.

#2) Give customers a post-coronavirus update.

When you reopen, let customers know what to expect, and share updates about what has happened since you closed your doors.   

Some examples of business updates that your customers would want to know about include the following.   

  • A gym or bar that did a deep dive cleaning 
  • A restaurant that added new menu items
  • A spa or salon that added a new service 
  • A home goods boutique that added a new department or section

These are also good ideas for what you can do at your business while your doors are shut.

How To Prepare Now  

Keep a journal of what is happening in your business. This process includes writing down both the highs and the lows. Keeping a journal will give you ideas about how you can update your audience when it's time, and it comes with the added bonus of also helping your process the experience. Journaling can provide mental health benefits like managing anxiety and reducing stress.   

If you don’t have any updates to report, consider what you can do to create changes within your business while the doors are closed.

How can you update your space? Improve your offerings? Or adjust to better serve your customers when they come back?

#3) Give customers an incentive to visit.  

It’s hard to know exactly how consumers are going to act when we are finally allowed to visit non-essential businesses again. Some people may be wary of going out in public or spending money, while others might run full force back out into the market.

Either way, you are going to need to offer some incentives to show customers why they should visit your business first.   

Don’t just reopen your doors. Give customers a reason to visit. Some examples include:  

How to Prepare Now  

Start putting plans in place for creating an in-store experience or promotion that will drive in customers. Keep in mind that we don’t know what guidelines might exist when businesses reopen.   

While we hope that one day, everything will be open for business and we’ll be back to normal, it might not happen like that. There may be phases to reopening. So right now, create a few different plans for different scenarios such as:   

  • Operating under limited business hours
  • Allowing a limited number of customers in the business at a time
  • Only allowing curb-side pickup 

#4) Launch a marketing campaign to spread the word.

When you reopen, you might not be able to rely solely on organic social media and email. You may need to generate more interest through paid marketing campaigns.

Considering marketing campaigns such as:  

  • Geofencing ads to connect with customers near your business
  • Paid social media ads that target the nearby customers most likely to be interested in your business, promotions, or event
  • PPC search ads to connect with customers searching for a business like you
  • Google retargeting ads to reach people who visited your website before COVID-19 closures 

Also, reach out to local media outlets like your Local Area Site to add event listings or generate press about your reopening specials.    

How to Prepare Now  

Start planning your campaigns now so they are ready to roll out as soon as you get the go-ahead to reopen.   

First, consider what incentive you want to promote. Create a marketing campaign that will get that incentive in front of the people most likely to visit your business. For example, if you are hosting a reopening event, prepare a list of media outlets that might want to cover and promote it.   

Then, consider how customers will be looking for a business like you when things get back to normal, and design a plan to reach those people in need. For example, if you are a hair salon, your existing customers will likely come back quickly. But there will be an onslaught of people needing hair cuts so consider investing in paid search ads. 

Get Your Reopening Marketing Plan Ready Today

At some point, the country is going to open for business again. It may feel like a distant future, but don’t let that feeling allow you to put off getting prepared.  

Make sure that you have a plan to jump-start your business at the exact moment that you are able to.  

If you need help developing a reopening plan, MyArea Network is here to help. We’re working closely with local businesses to make sure that they have what they need to get through this down-time and hit the ground running when things are back open.

For assistance, sign up on our Local Relief page and check out our other COVID-19 business resources.