Watching the regional lockdowns unfold in front of your eyes is daunting to most businesses. When you are in the midst of working out how you are going to continue to trade during a lockdown you are often fire fighting and dealing with the most immediate issues. Minimise the stress by taking time NOW to write a plan of what you will do and how you are going to communicate this efficiently using social media platforms, web, email marketing, and good old fashioned posters.
Back in March, the lockdown announcement seemed to hold us all in suspended animation for a couple of weeks, and then we discovered our British spirit and we started to adjust and make the most of a bad situation. Little did we know we would still be in a very turbulent position six months later. The difference is we now have the benefit of hindsight as we have been through this before and a determination to keep our businesses working.
Whether you are in Tier 1, 2, or 3 make sure that you have everything in place to keep operating within the regulations. Here are a few things that we have learned ourselves on what to have prepared for a seamless switch to working during a regional lockdown.
- LOCKDOWN STATEMENT: Have your lockdown statement already prepared explaining how you are going to operate during a regional lockdown, how people can contact you, and what services you will be able to offer. Make sure that this can be easily printed and put on a door if this is relevant. Ensure you have contact details and maybe a QR code, if this is a poster, that links to more detailed information online. Do not write ‘War and Peace”be succinct and practical.
- DIRECT CONTACT WITH CUSTOMERS: Make sure you have an up to date customer and prospect list with email addresses NOW so you can quickly email all customers with details of your LOCKDOWN STATEMENT. If you don’t have this, then start collecting their details but make sure you are working well within GDPR guidelines and explain why you want their details and where you will store them.
- EMAIL MARKETING TO COMMUNICATE WITH CUSTOMERS: Rather than use your personal email address to send a mass email consider using one of the many email platforms out there. As tempting as it is to use your own personal work email be aware that sending mass emails from your own email address may render that address as a potential spam address. This means that your mass and any subsequent emails may end up in your clients’ junk folders. Avoid that embarrassing conversation with your client when you have to ask them to check in their junk or spam folder for your email detailing the amazing service or product they have just agreed to buy from you.
- CLAIM YOUR GOOGLE BUSINESS PAGE: During the last mass lockdown Google offered businesses with a Google Business page the ability to mark their business as closed or open for “walk-ins” or “delivery service”. Your Google Business details appear at the top of a search if people are searching for a query that your business is related to such as “hairdressers near me”. Each business relevant to that query will have their details, reviews, and location on a map visible to the user. Alternatively, if someone searches for “Sweeney Todds Hair Salon” who have a Google Business page, then the Google Business page will appear on the right of the search listing with your address, contact details, location, reviews, and any posts that you have added to this platform. This is important as people no longer go out and browse or mooch around the shops, they go out with a purpose so make sure they know you are open and how you are open so you become part of their visit to town. A word of caution though, if you use your Google Business page and change your opening hours or service details during a lockdown, make sure you change them back when your region goes back to a Tier
- FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, LINKEDIN, TWITTER: If you are on these platforms make sure that they are all communicating the same LOCKDOWN STATEMENT. Some people purely use social media to find out their news and details of who is open, closed, offering delivery whereas others use a search engine for this. Make sure that the message is the same on each of these platforms. Add important changes to your bio, consider making it an INSTAGRAM HIGHLIGHT called “LOCKDOWN SERVICE UPDATE”, “COVID SERVICE UPDATE” and you can keep adding more details to this. You can pin a post to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profile so that it is always at the top of your feed. Don’t forget to leave contact details on this post.
- MESSENGER: Change your questions and answers that you have entered into MESSENGER to ensure that you cover the most important questions and you are not spending time answering the same questions.
- SELLING ONLINE: If you have products that you are selling in-store, set up an online shop by using a plugin to your site. You should also add your products to GOOGLE BUSINESS page and your FACEBOOK page which will allow people to buy your products from Facebook and Instagram.
Regional Lockdowns are petrifying as we have all invested heavily to make our workplaces COVID safe, so make sure that you are ready to continue working by communicating to your customers, prospects, and even suppliers. Simple Posters, QR codes, Email Marketing, Social Media, and Web are all great tools to help broadcast your message and support you in these difficult times.
If you want to discuss any of the tactics discussed here pick up the phone or email us, we would be happy to help you. (01223) 894888 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org