Birds are singing, bees are buzzing, and your existing and potential customers are exiting their pandemic cocoons. Customers are looking for help and they are very wary because they’ve hit bumps and confusion during the past year. Stores they thought were open were closed, services they counted on were discontinued, and they’ve been staring at screens for way too long. Some are still scared, some are not, but all are ready to return to a “new normal”. What is the “new normal”? Well, that’s the interesting part, customers are willing to flex a little bit, to adapt as businesses have had to adapt, but ultimately, too much change is scary unless it’s managed well. So, when doing your 2021 Spring Refresh, we’re recommending to business owners and managers that they start customers on an informed, well-planned path.
What does that look like? First, it means providing correct information, and providing it as straight-forward as possible. If a service is new, say “new”. If it’s pre-existing but altered, say “updated”. Our post-pandemic brains are exhausted and stressed, and being spoon-fed information is critical to us having a comfortable relationship with it. When something is updated, think about a 1-2-3 infographic to help both your staff and customers understand the new path to success. Publish the infographic on your website, your social media, even as posters and/or pamphlets in your store. If the current way of doing something is temporary, invest in temporary measures that still speak to your brand. Restaurants are still giving disposable menus or have QR code menus that are stylized with their logo, font, and pictures to give the same feel as the pre-pandemic experience but with the facts of what’s available today.
Our team has been very busy helping many companies convert to new responsive websites. Owners, managers and marketers are looking for easier ways to correct their websites. Gone are the days of finicky sites that aren’t responsive. Changes need to happen quickly as businesses are rapidly responding to supply chain issues, staff capacities, and deeper issues, like social justice. Having both the ability and access to change items quickly saves time and money.
A Spring Refresh is the Time to Deep Clean
We’ve been hearing a variety of stories from consumers and owners about outdated or incorrect information and that is leading to frustration, anger, bad reviews, lost sales, and lost relationships. Simple things, like a change in store hours or services, need to be communicated, and this is when you need to rely on every platform you have. Dust off those e-mail lists, sweep through your online listings, and wipe out any old info. Take a hard look at your physical and digital communications, such as hours listed on your front door, billboards and signage, services on your business cards, outgoing messages on your phone systems, and signature lines on your emails and newsletters. It’s too easy to miss a spot so have a couple pairs of eyes and ears help you scour and organize.
And we can never stress this enough, review your online presence from both a computer and mobile device. What may appear fantastic on one device may be absent or appear broken on another. Oh, and through various browsers, too. What looks perfect on one may look terrible on another.
REACH with your Refresh
What’s some of the easiest ways to find new customers? Marketing, of course. You want a good mix of passive marketing (such as your website that is working hard for you 24/7) and active marketing (such as paid advertising). But what if you’ve done those things and you’re still not seeing a huge uptick? It’s time to deep dive into your data and see what does your audience look like. Does it align with how you’ve targeted your audience? If you’re spending money to advertise in AARP, you’d expect to see a portion of your customers to be over 55. But what if your data shows that a good percentage of your customers are 18-25? Or 34-45? What do you have placed to reach those audiences and why haven’t you targeted those audiences before? What is drawing them to you?
We’ve had tough conversations with owners who for their own reasons have had to readjust their business models, and they knew that they wanted their spring refresh to include a more diverse reach. For one customer, a strategic planning session revealed that their competitors were doing an excellent job managing expectations. Changes like creating unboxing videos, adding true-to-life shipping dates, and expanding on to different sales platforms helped to grow their customers’ respect and loyalty.
Expanding reach can mean expanding placement. Some of our clients have become sponsors/advertisers on podcasts and on games, like Candy Crush. Some are diving into cause marketing to find new outlets and alliances. Clients are going with guerrilla marketing, like organizing contactless scavenger hunts throughout a shopping district to increase foot traffic. Landing pages, stickers, sidewalk art, and murals are great attention getters.
Connecting through emotion is a no-brainer and now is the perfect time to make someone laugh, wipe someone’s tears, or help them focus on sparkle of the “new normal”. We connect through story-telling. We smell babies and pet puppies. We cheer for our favorite sports teams and we bow our heads for fallen soldiers. It’s our human nature and we’ve been on pause for a year. So hit the unpause button and inject some feelings into your campaigns. Who do you support if you support local? Why is a global brand product more reliable now than it was a year ago? Does the world need more dad jokes? You bet your left leg it does, Skippy.
Leave a Lasting Impression
We cannot stress this enough: your front-facing marketing will only help build your business so much, when ultimately, it’s the individual’s experience and the lasting impression that your team/service/product makes on each customer. Do you follow-up a few days later to see if your customer is satisfied with work performed? Are you professionally responding to reviews in a way that encourages repeat business or a chance to resolve and retain their respect, if not their business? Part of your Spring Refresh can be determining what works for you AND your customer, how much can you automate, and who is the right person to deliver the last impression.
We know that your industry or your business may feel like it’s treading water and you may even feel like the water is lapping over your head, but we know that the time and investment that you put into marketing wisely and marketing correctly can make a difference. We’re here for you if you need help.