August 12, 2020
Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, CO—
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many retail businesses have pivoted from running brick-and-mortar stores to online shops. In doing so, they had to shift gears in the way they interacted with their customers.
Here are some ways business owners can continue building relationships and communicating with customers after transitioning from a physical to a digital space.
Small Businesses Must Continue to Network and Communicate With Their Customers
“One key thing is communication,” said Yvette Jenkins, founder of Love Travels Imports. “We have a pretty strong small business ecosystem, and those organizations are very motivated to help small businesses in the community. They have all kinds of networks that are available to them, so I frequently feed them information about the things that I'm doing, the email blasts that I'm sending out.”
Additionally, she added, small business owners should look into their local neighborhood associations, stating that her community has about five or six active organizations.
“All of these organizations have a newsletter, which is either electronic or hard copy, and they are looking to really support those businesses located within their communities,” Jenkins explained. “They have been very instrumental in getting information out, reposting any kind of social media that I put out, etc.”
She added that small business owners should take advantage of these organizations by really viewing them as resources to help support them through this difficult time.
“All these different organizations that are in place to help small businesses — they want to help you,” Jenkins stressed. “So keep them in the loop with what you're doing, ask them questions. They're there to provide support as you navigate from a physical location to an online strategy.”
Businesses Should Shift From Digital Marketing to More Traditional Marketing Tactics
Just because your business is now online doesn’t mean your marketing efforts should stay there too.
“Because everybody's at home, there's a little bit of screen fatigue,” said Drew Patrick, owner and president of Michigan Fields and CEO of Skidmore Studio. “So a lot of the digital marketing efforts that are coming out right now are challenging to have great effectiveness because there's so much messaging going on.”
As a result, many businesses, Patrick’s included, have pursued more traditional marketing tactics like direct mail, earned media, PR, and other “things we wouldn't have necessarily focused on in today's world,” he said.
“In a pandemic environment, those have become relevant again, because people are at home and open to messaging in different forms,” Patrick said.
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