How Can Your Business Adapt to COVID-19? Part 1: Virtual Marketing

It’s a new era, a work from home, virtual engagement, stay at home era.  Now amidst the COVID-19 quarantine how will your business evolve and even thrive?  Here are some very important things to regard:

Social Media – Usage is at an all-time high 

Pinterest – from updating backyards to redesigning interiors, Pinterest searches and shopping are have increased by 3x to 12X 

As the founder of a woman-owned marketing agency, I’ve spent the last  25 years within the media (newspaper, magazine, radio, television) and on the marketing strategy side; gaining valuable experience as well as perspective from small business owners to Fortune 500 CEOs.  At Into the Blue, our team has experience spanning three decades bringing the highest level of hands on experience of what works, what won’t and what is possible. Especially now, experience is KEY.

Today is a new era, we will forever look at life as “before and after” the pandemic hit America. The key with this and any past or future crash is to be resourceful, creative and ADAPT.

For the past several days, I’ve compiled the below list of strategies to help you or your business find new opportunities while you ascertain, retain and regain your portfolio of business.

Plan Ahead: Be Proactive vs. Reactive.

These may be unprecedented times but they’re not impossible times.  When the quarantine is lifted, a tidal wave of demand will follow. What is your business recovery plan?  How are you engaging with customers and prospects now? Plan ahead to maintain and regain your market share. Planners and visionaries grow.

Part 1: Harnessing the Power of Virtual Marketing, Communications & Relationship Building

Expand Online.

That’s where everyone is right now. You may be a brick n mortar business, online customer service, sales, consulting, educating, counseling and training are alive and well.  

Example for Fitness Clubs: Advertise virtual memberships now that offer daily scheduled online workouts with exclusive tips, recipes and motivation lessons; plus weekly virtual one-on-one personal training. Include an end strategy for after the quarantine is lifted such as exclusive  “front of the line” VIP access to sign up for a special priced gym membership, (offered for up to two weeks after you reopen).

Example for Restaurants:  One of the hardest hit sectors, restaurants are having to get creative. From online concerts to offering delivery and curbside takeout; creativity is key. What are consumers buying? What do they NEED? Restaurants can prepare fully cooked meals, family sized sharing meals or uncooked packaged/measured ingredients for “make your own” meals” at home, (even offer a pantry of other healthy to indulgent noshes and kitchen supplies).

It’s Free. Why Aren’t You Maximizing It?

Google My Business profiles are often underutilized, remember Google is always growing, expanding, evolving and so should you. Optimize your GMB profile by choosing the right category for your business, updating hours, adding promotions and offers, new photos, encouraging reviews and answering them, add a brand cover share posts for what’s happening week to week. You’ll be amazed by how much this will help you get discovered and convert into leads.

Depending on your business, you should also optimize your profiles, offerings and content on LinkedIn, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Yahoo Small Business, Meet Up, OpenTable, Alignable, online directories and resources;; plus through links this will enhance your business’ SEO.

Welcome to 2020. Tech is Key. Expand Your Knowledge.

Learn creative uses for Zoom, Google Video, Skype, Facetime for one on one or controlled group communications.   If you want to go live to a larger audience, plan to use FB Live, Instagram Live or YouTube Live depending on where your audience spends their time. Have a long term plan in mind? Explore podcasts.

In fact, the amount of time spent in social media, news media and search engines is unprecedented. While purchasing may have slowed for some types of businesses and has taken an alternate path in others; consumers are still spending or planning future purchases. Keep your brand out there. There are many ways to shift online: ecommerce, shoppable social, sponsored and paid invitation webinars, virtual education, streaming media and entertainment, facebook groups to marketplace; and of course Amazon to Etsy. If you’re looking for an opportunity in the community or online for your existing business; or want to enter into a less saturated market, check out our Top 100 List of Who’s Making It Now  or email us to schedule a ten minute free initial consultation.

Social Media

The Great Quarantine of 2020 has pushed our social selves online and the growth is staggering.  Now’s the time to embrace your brand, tell it’s story, build your audience and especially your connection. Engage and give value to those that are interested in you as a business, brand, influencer or cause.

Social Media Ideas:

  • Sell Gift Cards – generate revenue now by selling virtual gift cards 1) at a discount, 2) with an added value incentive, 3) with a portion of the purchase donated to a cause.  
  • Offer Exclusive Services for Fans & Followers they can redeem now or when you reopen
  • Preview Products & New Merchandise. Create a two-way relationship with your fans, customers and followers asking for input and bringing it to reality  with the promise of first access for when the quarantine is lifted.
  • Tell your brand story, be more than a logo or product, be human.
  • Expand your products and services for what fits within your business model and what consumers want / need now. Make it shoppable on your social media to easily convert interest into sales.
  • Become a media channel. You should know by now what your fans are following you for. Create content that is helpful, interesting, fun and valuable including special guests, how to’s, Q&As and self improvement.
  • Balance organic content with paid social ad strategies to expand your audience, get virtual referrals and build a larger foundation of customers and vetted prospects.
  • Virtual Tours this is great for travel to real estate to offer to your entire audience or to interested leads.

Do you know what social media is right for you? 

Depending on the business you’re in will directly influence your social media plan.  Which is right for your brand or service? Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, SnapChat, YouTube, Medium or Twitter? Each comes with different formats, audiences, strengths, weaknesses, expectations and most of all, opportunities. Planning social media can be time consuming and when balanced with the short attention spans of consumers today — how will you make it work for you? While Facebook and Instagram offer online stores and shoppable posts, no social platform is more centered around buying than Pinterest.  Whether you’re a bride-to-be or remodeling your home; exploring new hairstyles, fashions, fine art or new dietary recipes; Pinners are searching and sharing with purpose.

Another example is LinkedIn, the social media for professionals. It is the perfect networking and B2B marketing engine for services and specialists at an elevated level. 

As you endeavor to focus more on social media, first ask yourself these questions: What is our strategy for virtual business?  Is our social media growing? Are you talking to the same group over and over again? Are they engaging in your content? What are people buying now? What value or incentive can I offer? How do we monetize our content? 

Part 2: Lead Generation, Ecommerce vs. Virtual Sales

If you don’t want to wait, sign up for a complimentary ten minute consultation with Into the Blue’s top talent today at team@intotheblueagency.com or call 561-299-3381.