PR & Marketing Strategies to Help Guide Businesses as They Plan to Re-Open Amidst the Covid-19 Crisis
As we continue to hear in Westchester County and the surrounding Metro NY areas that the curve is flattening and there are more rumblings of when, and in what capacity, businesses may soon be allowed to reopen, many questions still remain. Crucial parts of your re-opening plan needs to be how you will communicate internally within your business and to your previous and future customers, how you plan to market your business moving forward and how to best spread the news publicly that you have re-opened and what you are offering. There is really no point to opening your doors unless people know they can once again utilize your products and services.
To help give you some guidance, we at Buzz Creators, a PR and marketing firm in Westchester County, NY, have outlined some key strategies for you to keep in mind.
Reassess and Re-Educate Internally
In order to prepare for your re-opening, the first step is to reassess your business model and goals. All the Covid-19 changes that you made to keep your business afloat should not simply fall by the wayside. This is not ‘business as usual’, this is back to a new business landscape. From going virtual and changing operations to pivoting into new products or services, these are important to utilize as appropriate in your business moving forward. This is also a good time to reevaluate your business goals and set a clear path for where you want your business to go and how you plan to achieve it in this new world.
Once you have a clear picture of how your business is going to move forward, proper internal communications with your employees and staff members should be your first step. Clearly communicate to all employees the new business plan, goals, and operations – including their specific role/s in it all. All team members need to be re-educated and they must be able to accurately and consistently share the new protocols/ways of doing business with your customers or clients.
It is also very important to communicate to your employees what new policies and procedures you have put in place to help keep THEM safe and healthy. Be transparent and proactively answer any questions they may ask you directly or that come in through the good old rumor mill to help put their concerns at ease during these very turbulent times.
Win Back Your Customers – Start with Your “Owned” Channels of Communication
You may want to jump right in with a big splashy announcement that you have re-opened, but depending on your business, you may want to be slightly cautious and start with a softer opening. The worst thing you can do is have a customer return to a bad experience and tell everyone about it. Starting out, people will likely be very cautious about where they go and what they do. To help win back your old customers, provide them with the quality of service they are accustomed to and ensure they are ultra-comfortable that you have created a safe environment that they can confidently return to (both say and visibly demonstrate this).
It is important to clearly communicate directly with customers through all of your “owned” channels of communication— including your company website, e-newsletters, social media, on-site signage, customer service team (phone lines), etc. Your messaging should be clear and consistent across all of these platforms and include all the key information that customers will need to know – such as your hours of operation, services that are currently available, any existing restrictions and what you are doing to ensure the health and safety of your customers and employees.
Create Some Buzz To Bring in New Business
In order to help bring in new business, you will want to make a public announcement that you have officially re-opened and ready for customers. Ideally, this announcement should include a special incentive or promotion that will help attract media attention too. The media landscape has been overwhelmed during the Covid-19 crisis and it will certainly continue to be as all businesses begin re-opening. Now, more than ever, you need to stand out from the crowd and be unique in order to gain the media’s attention and get some good buzz going.
Another great tactic is to engage with regional and social media influencers. From local business organizations and chambers of commerce to bloggers and social media influencers, they all have strong followings of people who trust and listen to their recommendations. Engage with them and give them a special offer or experience so they can share what a great experience they had with your business. Spreading the word about your business through influencers helps gives it more credibility and cachet, which especially helpful in today’s world where trust is hard to come by.
While having a large advertising budget may not currently be possible for you, consider investing a small amount in paid Facebook and Instagram ads to reach a new highly targeted audience as appropriate. You can get extremely specific about who you want to target to ensure there is no waste and you can easily track digital results/ROI.
We sincerely hope this PR and marketing advice has given you some helpful thought starters, tips and guidance as you plan to re-open your business. Remember, it will definitely not be “business as usual” – but, by planning accordingly, you can take advantage of as many opportunities as possible when you re-open.
From our business to yours, wishing you health, happiness and better times ahead!
— The Buzz Creators Team