8 Tips for Marketing Your Edmonton Business During the Pandemic
By Ivan Boychuk on September 2, 2020
Right now, local businesses are struggling to navigate uncharted waters. However, like any adventure, the unknown can be a source of inspiration and opportunity.
The worldwide pandemic has forced companies to adapt and find new ways to market their products and services to customers.
Needless to say, there’s a steep learning curve involved.
That’s why, in this post, we decided to share some of our top tips for marketing your Edmonton business during the pandemic.
Tip #1 – Make Sure You Have the Appropriate Signage
It’s important that you let your customers know that you have the appropriate measures in place to help keep them safe. It’s also worthwhile to make sure that it’s obvious to them that you are even open for business.
In order to accomplish both of these goals, your business needs the right COVID-related signage. This signage could include:
Reminders for customers to wear masks and wash their hands.
Floor decals that encourage social distancing in line-ups.
Storefront signs that notify customers that you are open for business.
Not only will clear signage help your customers feel safe, but it will also help save your employees time by eliminating the need to continually remind customers to practice social distancing, wash their hands, and wear masks.
Tip #2 – Explore Multiple Marketing Channels
Now more than ever, it’s important that you start exploring multi-channel marketing strategies to help promote your business.
Why is this important?
Well, right now, some interesting opportunities are starting to arise. For example, one trend we’re seeing is that the price of paid ads has dropped substantially.
According to one source, this is because ad networks make most of their money through an auction system.
When several small businesses are competing for the same keywords with their paid ads, it forces the few billion-dollar companies that are out there to pay more to outbid them.
When fewer small businesses are advertising (like during a pandemic) the cost of paid advertising decreases.
This presents a fantastic opportunity for businesses to purchase ads at a discount.
Also, with most people staying home and practicing social distancing, businesses are discovering that physical direct mail is a great way to provide customers with the personal touch that has been missing in their lives over the last few months.
There’s something about the physical nature of a direct mail piece that cannot be replicated by an email or social media post! It just feels more personal, and right now, that’s exactly what customers are looking for.
The point is, marketing should never be a static practice. It’s always changing and evolving. You need to realize where the opportunities are, and, usually, this involves reaching out to customers through multiple channels.
Tip #3 – Set Up Contactless Service Options
One of the things businesses are struggling with is trying to find a way to practice social distancing while still providing their products and services to customers.
A solution to this problem is to set up contactless service options.
For example, many local Edmonton restaurants, bakeries, and food shops have now launched contactless options that allow customers to pick up their food when it’s ready. This helps to avoid time spent waiting in line with other people.
Others, like Bloom Cookies on 124th Street, have begun offering at-home delivery services, bringing tasty treats directly to your doorstep!
When creating contactless service options for your business, a combination of creativity and feasibility is needed.
Tip #4 – Explain to Customers How Your Brand is Responding to The Pandemic
Your customers want to be assured that your business is doing everything in its power to protect them and their families.
But if you don’t tell them exactly what measures you have in place, you risk losing them to competitors who do.
Using social media, blog posts, print, and other marketing methods can clearly explain to customers what steps your business has taken to ensure their safety.
For example, do you have a mask policy for your employees? Do you enforce social distancing in your stores? Do you have hand sanitizer and disinfectant available at all of your locations?
These are all things that concerned consumers might like to know before choosing to do business with you.
Tip #5 – Consider Setting up an Online Store and Fulfilment Options
Since the pandemic began, one source shows online sales have skyrocketed and are up 55 percent year over year for the first seven months of 2020. This accounts for approximately 434.5 billion dollars in online spending.
However, even after the pandemic passes, it’s expected that online sales will continue to increase over the next few years. In fact, studies predict that global ecommerce retail sales will hit 4.9 trillion dollars by 2021!
This makes it critical for your business to begin investing in an online store to help sell your products and services.
However, this is easier said than done.
Before you create an online store you need to make sure that you have the proper systems in place to deliver your products on time to customers.
In order to do this, many companies might want to consider enlisting the help of a local Edmonton fulfillment and warehousing service.
Not only will this ensure your products are delivered safe and on time, but having your inventory stored and managed offsite means you free up space in your office. You also have the opportunity to repurpose staff that would previously be needed to manage your warehouse to fill roles that can help bring in new customers. It’s a win, win!
Tip #6 – Empathize With Your Customers
Let’s face it. This situation isn’t good for anyone. Not only are people losing their jobs, but they’re losing their freedom too.
It has become unsafe to do the things we used to enjoy – like gathering at Roger’s Place to watch the boys in copper and blue, taking the family out on the weekend to see a movie, or even simply going to a restaurant to share a meal with friends.
It’s important that your business recognizes the fact that people are hurting. Your marketing message should focus on helping the city of Edmonton pull through these tough times in any way you can.
For example, this might mean providing discounted services and products to front line workers who are risking their safety to help others.
Or, you might consider adjusting your fees and prices all together until we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Whatever you decide to do, having a little empathy for your customers can go a long way, especially during times like these.
Tip #7 – Adjust Your Marketing Strategy
An effective marketing strategy needs to mirror the current situation in society, no matter if that situation is good or bad.
It’s important not to waste money on campaigns that contradict the reality that we’re experiencing.
For example, when people are practicing social distancing, is it really a good idea to put on a promotion that encourages them to attend group events?
Or would you be better served by running a series of brand awareness campaigns so that when the time comes to be out and about, customers will choose to visit you over competitors?
These are questions you need to consider when trying to weather the storm.
Tip #8 – Carefully Consider Your Messaging
While navigating these murky waters, it’s important that you carefully consider every message you put out.
Advertisements that were fine before the pandemic might be considered insensitive or even downright offensive now.
For example, let’s say you own a car dealership and you want to sell more vehicles.
A year ago there would be no problem if you put out an ad with the following copy:
“Now is the best time to take advantage of our low monthly car payments!”
However, right now, calling it “the best time” might be considered insensitive to those who have friends or family members that lost jobs or fell ill due to COVID-19.
Instead, you might want to consider phrasing your advertisements as being more helpful, rather than opportunistic:
“In order to help you navigate these troubling times, we’re offering reduced monthly payments on all cars.”
This shows customers you understand the current climate and that you’re doing your part to help out in any way you can.
ION – An Edmonton Print Company Committed to Helping Your Business Thrive in Any Environment
ION is Edmonton’s source for custom COVID signage, floor decals, mask printing, and more. We also have the team and resources needed to help market your business using a combination of print and digital strategies.
Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.