By Naomi Johnson
Many businesses — especially this year — have had to deal with temporary closing down. As normal a practice as this is, however, it can also come with some challenging repercussions. For example, customers might misinterpret your closure and think you’re shut down for good. You could also run into a situation where they have discovered an alternative company to frequent in your time away.
Without a winning marketing strategy, businesses that close temporarily can struggle to overcome these obstacles. Fortunately, the team at Relationship Martech knows the power of strong marketing. That’s why we’ve created this guide to creating an effective reopening plan:
Make the Most of Time Closed
As counterintuitive as it feels, your reopening strategy should ideally begin the moment you close your doors. Not working with customers is not the same as not working at all, and, more often than not, there’s plenty to be done in the downtime. For example, now could be a great time to register your business as an LLC, if you haven’t already done so.
In addition to creating legal protections, an LLC status can offer some tax advantages, as well as make the tax process simpler. If this is something you’ve been putting off, this break is the perfect opportunity to knock it off your to-do list.
This is also an ideal time to make any changes to your physical location such as with new paint or carpeting. A location facelift can be a marketing boon. You can post progress photos on your social media account, which will remind followers that you’re still there while justifying the shutdown. People love seeing renovation work, so you’re likely to get a ton of engagement — which, if used properly, can put you in a great position for reopening.
Use Multiple Marketing Avenues
One of the biggest mistakes solo business owners make in marketing is to pour all their effort into a single marketing avenue. For example, you may rely on word of mouth and networking as your main means of gathering customers, or you might spend most of your marketing time managing your social media. However, the best approach is the one that takes advantage of the best that each one has to offer.
Take a coffee shop as an example. The owner of a coffee shop might be extremely active on social media and be underwhelmed by the return they get from that invested time. If they build up a content marketing practice, however — while simultaneously investing in more digital advertising — they may start to see more customers. Over time, they start to invest in more cutting-edge technology, such as hyperlocal marketing that targets people who are within walking distance from the shop. The social media accounts are still doing their job, but thanks to the additional efforts, the shop is getting more customers than ever.
This approach is even more important when you’re reopening. The inherent messaging challenge that comes with a closed shop means that your best bet is to take advantage of every means you have. Work alongside a marketing team that can confidently navigate these avenues in order to see the best results.
Focus on Growth Messaging
You may have closed down for a myriad of reasons, but you should make sure your reopening message focuses on the positive changes your company has made in the meantime. This could be redecorating as discussed above. Maybe you took a course that deepened your knowledge of the industry or attended a conference that helped you make connections that will expand your reach going forward. Whatever it is, find a way to build that messaging into your marketing plan.
In doing so, you will not only show customers you’ve reopened — you’ll show them you’ve grown in your time away. This is a lot more likely to leave the message you’re hoping to send: You’re back, and better than ever!
Relationship Martech is here to help you reach your marketing goals. Book a call today to see how Relationship Martech can help your business shine.
Photo Credit: Pexels
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While some brands choose to sell their products on Amazon, others decide to buck the trend and chart their own course. Join Eric Bandholz, founder of men’s grooming company, Beardbrand, to hear how he bootstrapped his six-figure business with just a $30 investment in his ecommerce platform. He’ll share the marketing strategies that helped him scale his brand and discuss how embracing owned marketing helped him build a thriving business off Amazon.
Beardbrand took an investment of $8000, organic promotion, storytelling, backlash against an anti-masculine ethos and a compelling mission to "make men awesome," starting with grooming, and created an 8-figure revenue stream.
Because they had no money, they focused on what they did have: time for story-telling.
Initial buzz earned a successful spot on Shark Tank and best-to-date 2015 Christmas sales, but neither prevented the typical post-Christmas downturn and entrepreneurial fears of the end. In response, Beardbrand decided to insource their Amazon store presence but noticed that sales increased after Amazon store was removed.
Eric realized that Amazon, besides creating platform dependence, actually hurts business because customers will often research products on your website and then purchase via Amazon which steals trust and offers competing products.
From then on, Beardbrand has owned their own marketing and growth has never been better. He closed with a reminder that business is about prioritizing and solving a series of problems and that business only stops when you give up on problem-solving.
VP, Research Director
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We’re experiencing one of the most innovative eras in consumer history. This boom is driving opportunity for brands and buyers alike. And yet, Forrester research shows that the very facets making companies successful today are also causing their greatest challenges. Join Brigitte Majewski, Forrester Research director, as she reveals these paradoxes and offers a toolkit to reconcile them.
It's never been a better time to be a consumer, according to Brigitte, because so many Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) disruptors have emerged to address pain points in hundreds of industries. (Eg, customized insurance for freelancers or lunch delivery for employees of commercial spaces caught in restaurant voids. represent pain points DTC is aggressively addressing.)
In 2015, Forrester correctly predicted hyper-adoption would ensue, which means it's also a great time to be a DTC disruptor -- consumers will try you! However, Forrester also correctly predicted hyper-abandonment. This is the first of three central paradoxes of the Age of the Customer, which follows the Age of Manufacturing, the Age of Distribution and the Age of Information:
Paradox 1: Hyper-adoption leads to hyper-abandonment.
However, a third Forrester prediction in the same study was incorrect: that consumers would have less emotional attachment in the midst of hyper-adoption and hyper-abandonment; the opposite is the case. Consumers are not just rapidly, but passionately adopting and rejecting brands, leading to two additional central paradoxes:
Paradox 2: Hyper-innovation leads to hyper-expectation.
Paradox 3: Hyper customer obsession leads to hyper consumer dissatisfaction.
How can you navigate these three paradoxes in the Age of the Consumer? The first step is to recognize that, while consumers still evaluate on price, quality, trust and convenience, the factors to evaluate quality and trust have now changed.
Because of this, it is more important than ever to balance short-term and long-term goals and resources. Collecting and using data is vital, but not at the expense of alienating customers who find you "creepy." Being available for customer queries is important at the top of the funnel, but not at the expense of follow-up after the purchase.
Brigitte closed by pointing out that many brands create an emotionally inconsistent experience by focusing all emotional delivery before the purchase, but not after. Instead, she recommends Chewy's approach which dedicates an entire "Wow Department" to customer correspondence. Another example is Delta Airlines, which provides all employees attached to a flight a customer manifest detailing loyalty and connection status of each passenger. If a passenger has a tight connection, all the employees can work together to make deplaning easier.
I remember when marketing departments were a team of media buyers and designers; now it’s much more about data science and automation. I’ve played a small part in that transition, starting in 1987 when I brought desktop publishing to local advertising in Maine. After my first web project in 1993, I managed some of the earliest banner ad and search marketing campaigns, co-founded 2 dot-coms, helped the State of Maryland fight spam, developed social media strategies for clients like Celestial Seasonings and launched one of the first apps on Capitol Hill.
By that time, we all had begun to broadcast personal data about our identities, preferences and whereabouts continually from our pockets, thanks to smart phones. Privacy advocates were alarmed, but billions accessed the increasingly relevant information anyway.
Privacy is important, but relevance is essential: the best and only defense against our very serious 21st century problem of information overload. The novelty of 500 million search results at a time had finally worn off, and relevance had always been my battle cry in my decades-old personal vendetta against spam and junk mail.
At the turn of the last century, the average American encountered about 12 marketing messages a day. Now it’s well over a thousand, so relevant information is more important than ever, and a global economy demands that information processing be automated.
I learned about bots in 2016 when interviewing a guest on my radio show, The Marketing GPS Challenge Hour and became more interested in marketing automation. Soon, martech (short for “marketing technology”--my field finally got a name) was what I was building, speaking and evangelizing on as I found technologies to harness relevant, actionable information from the every-rising tide of data.
The purpose of all of this is to deepen relationships. Wait, am I about to use “computers” and “relationships” in the same sentence? Yes, computers, the great information sorters, are best at sifting through data. If we get computers to do a better job handling the excess and the mundane, humans become more freed up to address what’s meaningful, and it’s what’s meaningful--things you actually care about--that builds relationships.
In fact, marketing has come full-circle from pre-industrial days when you bought goods and services based on who you knew. Then transportation brought globalization, and, in the last couple decades since those first banner ads, the Internet has now made relationship marketing possible again, on a global scale. Marketing automation is the key to streamlining, saving time and labor and empowering those relationships.
Call me a relationship “martech-er.”
Tom McClintock is the owner and founder of Relationship Martech.