The start of 2020 not only brought a new decade, but it also brought a new mysterious pneumonia-like virus outbreak known as the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). With the number of cases continuously increasing daily, the World Health Organization declared the novel COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic.
While a lot is going on across California and the rest of the United States right now, COVID-19 is still at the forefront of everyone’s mind. We’re officially living in the midst of a pandemic, and almost everyone has been affected in some shape or form. Whether you’re self-isolating, starting to venture out, trying to reopen your business, working from home, trying to travel somewhere or just simply anxious about what the future might hold, the chances are that the coronavirus has been a part of your life in some way.
As the United States scrambled to understand the extent of an escalating public health crisis, life in many states including here in California began to become standstill. With people told to social distance to help ease the pandemic and contain the outbreak, governors across America began ordering schools and businesses to close. Gatherings, meetings, concerts, festivals, and sporting events were canceled. Amusement parks, movie theaters, bars, clubs, and restaurants were also closed. Grocery stores and other retailers that sell food or basic supplies — any business deemed as ‘essential’ — stayed open with limited hours and heavy restrictions. The fast-spreading virus put a halt on daily activities and all activities involving crowds were put on pause.
Fast forward to where we are today. As new phases in the reopening process begin across California – even with numbers on the rise for the virus – companies are having to learn how to adapt to various restrictions/laws and figure out new marketing strategies to not only make customers feel safe again, but stay afloat during these “troubling” “new normal” times.
We turned for some advice to Zack Teperman, best-selling author of “Cut The Bull$hit: A Quick Guide To Getting Your Name Or Product Out There, Somewhere!” and President of ZTPR, a public relations and marketing company based both here in Los Angeles, California and in Nashville, Tennessee, that represents clients in all walks of life.
Speaking with Teperman, we asked him what businesses can do to reopen and attract customers back in: “As businesses begin to open up again, they need to keep the most important thing in mind: their customers! Being able to re-establish trust through customer-centric actions is my biggest advice. Owners need to put themselves in the shoes of a customer and figure out simply what would make them feel safe coming into their location, and what incentives can be given to have them come back in. Once those answers come, only then can a business begin properly reopening with a focus on a full marketing strategy to make customers aware. The businesses that will survive and even thrive are the ones that can be flexible and adaptable to consumers’ new and evolving needs. It’s all about knowing where, when, and how to make adjustments. A client we at ZTPR currently represent is C19 Certified, an online e-learning course for business owners that helps them step by step on how to comply with certain restrictions in California in order to safely reopen and train their employees with… I’d recommend it to all!”
As for some marketing strategies and trends happening in California and across the United States, Teperman reveals to us, “There has been a huge increase in digital ad spends, as consumers during this time have naturally been spending more time online, especially choosing to shop online versus leaving the house. Because of this trend, companies need to start investing more into digital content and ways to attract consumers in this space and other platforms like mobile and social media. People still are going to want and need to buy things, which creates opportunities to serve your market whatever it may be via alternative sales channels. For example, if Coronavirus is cutting down on foot traffic to your retail business, look to expand your e-commerce offerings. Now’s the perfect time to get that new website launched! Or if you run a restaurant and have seen a decrease in in-store customers even after reopening, start selling takeaway meals or other options/packages instead… Give your customers something they can still enjoy and bring home.”
Though it is certain that this period of difficulty is likely to test us all, it also gives everyone across California (and the rest of the world) some breathing room to focus on optimizing internal operations, while adapting customer engagement strategies in new, innovative ways. Whatever happens in the next few days, weeks and months, just know you aren’t alone. Many Californians and others around the world are going through similar things. Because of this, Facebook support groups, banks, help-lines, and experts like Teperman have opened their doors to give advice and help with the situation so that everyone can get through it together.
“I am always happy to give advice to people… just reach out or go on my firm’s website for a free assessment. I think everyone should do their part in helping each other get through this unique time in our world.”
With Teperman’s words in mind, just take a deep breath, wash your hands, follow the rules in your region, ask for help if you need, and stay strong while we ride this wave and hopefully flatten the curve sooner than later!
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