As we write this, everything is on schedule for phase 3 of reopening, with gyms, cinemas and all sorts of entertainment facilities opening again and inside dining happening for the first since last year. Firstly, we wish everyone luck with this fantastic step forward and hope the initial uplift some have seen since April 12th continues and for many that are reopening for the first time, we have our fingers crossed this is the start of a special period for you.
With this momentum, thoughts immediately go into how best to maximise the potential and then to maintain it in the long term. So we wanted to remind everyone of some of the key things to remember and refer you to some key resources you have to support you.
Make the Most of Your Data
Back in Episode 12 of the Ruthlessly Efficient Marketing podcast, we talked at length about the importance of how to capture data from this influx of new customers, so that you can maintain a conversation with them long term.
We subsequently turned that into a blog detailing all the ways you can use data to drive your business forward, so I’d recommend having a read of that but if you are short on time, then the summary was…
Use instore Wifi to get email addresses
Use an online booking service to capture details that you can use going forward
Drive people to your social media platforms of choice and continue the conversation there
Offer people exclusives and generally make them feel important - give them a reason to hand over their data
Use free stuff carefully. It works, but it needs to reflect well on your business
Maximise social proof. Encourage reviews and ask people to recommend you to friends
Optimise the Experience
This is the chance to remind everyone why offline trumps online. Make the experience memorable.
Do the best that you can do right now. Don’t overfill your store or restaurant, making people feel uncomfortable and unlikely to enjoy the experience or come back. Play the long game. The temptation is to maximise this short term lift but you need to be able to maintain this and the key to that is having people returning.
Think about new ways to enhance the experience. Look at how you’ve always worked and think about what you can do that’s new and improved. You want to give people a reason to review you, to tell others, so see if you can add something new that makes people talk.
Now Is the Time For Marketing
It was in the week 11 episode of the podcast that we talked all about marketing whilst you were on a high of the uplift and not waiting until things dry up again.
As James writes in one of his blogs on the subject, don’t rest on your laurels, within a few weeks the novelty of stores being open and restaurants accepting people inside will have died down and you’ll be back to relying on people finding you, maybe choosing to stay in, purchasing online or from a competitor.
At this point, you’ve left it too late to start marketing and trying to fill the bookings up moving forward, now is the time to maximise the attention people have and get them looking forward. Give them incentives to book further into the future and start building out that database or social following, so you are able to communicate with people consistently going forward.
It’s going to be a wonderfully exciting and hopefully successful period for small businesses as we start to return to a version of normal, just don’t leave it too late to build your business for the long term.
Good luck everyone, we will definitely be supporting you and visiting soon.