It’s no shock to hear that the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on everyone. From healthcare workers putting their lives at risk every time they go to work, to parents who have lost jobs, it’s a tough time for everyone, financially or otherwise. Brick and mortar business owners are no exception. With most Americans being told to stay at home and obey social distancing guidelines, it’s nearly impossible to effectively market a brick and mortar business… or is it?
These four tips will help with marketing during COVID-19 for creative ideas to engage customers remotely.
4 Ways to Do Brick and Mortar Marketing During COVID-19
1. Social Media Is Everything
If brick and mortar businesses don’t use social media, there is little to no chance of them getting new customers during the pandemic. Existing, loyal customers may still order online or pick up items curbside, but even they would be more encouraged to engage with a business that had active social media channels.
Use social media to advertise altered hours of operation, promotions, new and exciting products, and encouragement for the community to stay strong during this tough time. It’s a great way to reach new audiences at home.
2. Advertise Curbside Pick-up Creatively
For the foreseeable future, curbside pick-up is going to be an extremely popular way to shop. Most stores have a pretty simple method for this: customers wait in the parking lot, and an attendant brings out the items they purchased. Why not turn the mundane into a more fun, unique experience?
Entice customers with colorful packaging and interesting signage for them to read while waiting for their product delivery. Decorate the facade of the store to draw in people driving by and make them say, “What’s that place?.” Curb-side doesn’t have to be boring when the theme of the store is brought outside.
3. Post a Statement from the CEO/Business Owner
The primary concern of many customers right now is their safety. Big corporations and small businesses alike need to understand this. Rather than waiting for worried customers to ask about what precautions a business is taking, it’s better to post a pre-emptive statement online.
In this statement, state the adaptations the business and its workers will take to abide by the new guidelines issued by the state government, including face coverings and helping customers stay six feet apart. Customers want to feel safe, and they want to know that they won’t be risking their lives when they visit their favorite brick and mortar establishments.
4. Show Appreciation for Healthcare and Essential Workers
One of the most important aspects of any effective marketing strategy is well-roundedness. A brand’s website and social media pages should be more than solely promotional. Users want to interact with (and ultimately become customers of) brands they can trust.
A great way to do this during the COVID-19 pandemic is to feature appreciation posts for healthcare and essential workers. This shows followers that the business is concerned about more than just profits, but about their customers’ well-being as well. Offering special discounts or promotions for essential workers is a great way to say, “Thank you.”
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Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR
Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals.
Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions.
Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR.
Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller.
A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities