Top Five Friday: Marketing your small business post-Covid

As lockdown measures begin to ease in the UK, you may be looking for guidance on how to reinvigorate your business’ marketing as you begin to open again for business.

For many businesses, this will be a crucial time. If you were unable to maintain business operations during the last few months, due to furlough or perhaps you were ill yourself, then you may feel as though you are starting from scratch. Try to see this as an opportunity to work from a clean slate, and take the time to develop a marketing plan which identifies and targets your intended audience.

You also have the opportunity to try something new, or that you may not have tried before. The following five ideas may help your business to re-establish a local reputation over the coming months:

  1. Influencer marketing

Put aside the negative stories you’ve heard about influencer marketing, and consider whether working with a local, reputable influencer can help to boost your business. A skilled influencer will help to create a story to promote your service or products, and you should choose one whose audience base matches that of your own. Don’t worry about how many followers they have – consider the quality of their audience and what engagement they get from them, as that will lead to a better outcome.

  1. Are you using the right social media platform(s)?

If you’ve always used Twitter and built up a profile and following there, but you’re getting zero enquiries or interest from customers, is it time to try something new?

Got a visually interesting product or service? Give Instagram a try. Or maybe your business would translate well into short, interesting videos and TikTok is worth a shot? If you have extra time on your hands as a result of the lockdown measures, it may be worth trying a different direction. You can also speak to a social media consultant, who can advise on platforms, audiences, and growth strategies to help support your business online.

  1. Build your network

Whilst networking events are off the table, consider spending your time developing your network on a one-to-one basis. Ask those you think may be mutually beneficial for your businesses for a 15-minute coffee over Zoom, or arrange a socially distanced walk-and-talk in the local park (remember to stay safe).

The conversations you have and relationships you create will arguably be stronger as a result, and your lockdown activities will be a great conversation starter.

  1. Re-engage your former customers

If you have a database of previous buyers or clients (who you have permission to contact for marketing purposes), now is the time to get in touch with them. Consider a newsletter or targeted email, and inform them of the measures your business is taking with regards to Covid-19 and social distancing. Show some personality and tell them of the adaptations you’ve made to continue the business (for example, as a café or restaurant who can only provide take-out).

Don’t try and push sales of things which remain up in the air. Holidays are a good example. We all want one, but no-one currently knows when this might be possible or in what form. So whilst giving travel inspiration for the future or promoting ‘stay-cations’ may appeal, pushing for overseas travel could encourage your customer base to unsubscribe to avoid your marketing.

  1. Do something you’ve always wanted to do

Lockdown isn’t easy. Working from home, worries about work or your business, furlough, changes in finance, the schools being closed, the health of your loved ones, trying to drag your kids away from screens, the coronavirus itself… the list of worries from the last few months is endless. If you are able to (and it is 100% ok if you don’t), you could try to develop a skill to benefit your business’ marketing. Try a digital marketing qualification, find a Ted Talk to inspire you, or get stuck into the backlog of fantastic Marketing Meetup podcasts. Not only will you find ideas and inspiration, it might take your mind off any Covid-related anxieties you may have for a while. And we all need that.

Start with a blank piece of paper. Work out where you want to go, and direct your marketing to get there. Good luck!

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