With the recent news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, like most business owners you are probably facing some tough decisions and even tougher times. Many are left wondering: What should I tell my customers? Should I close temporarily? How do I show that my business cares without seeming insincere? Or, What can I do with all the promotional products I have, now that the event is cancelled?
If the recent rise in fear and precaution is having a negative effect on your business, you’re certainly not alone. The good news is this won’t last forever. In the meantime, you can still market smartly and make the most of your promotional budget—no large crowds needed.
Here are some ideas that will help keep your brand thriving during this unusual time:
1. Provide Work-From-Home Essentials for Employees
With the push to self-isolate, it’s pretty clear that business can’t go on as usual—but it can still go on. Employees across the nation are preparing to work from home, and you can help by providing some essentials to make their home office feel complete. Consider gifts to lighten the mood, such as earplugs to block out noise from the children, and helpful items, like the Gavle Paper Mousepad so they can organize their days in the most productive way. You might even throw in a nice quality pen they can use while working. Not only will your gift be helpful, but it can also boost morale.
2. Send Gifts To Your Customers
Just because people are isolating doesn’t mean you can’t continue to build strong relationships with your customers. Promotional products can help you do that. Consumers are 2.5 times more likely to have a positive opinion of promo products versus internet ads. Send them a small gift with a note and customers will feel valued. It can be something fun and useful like a MopTopper pen that’s handy with all the touchscreen devices they’ll be using while at home. Simply show a little compassion to your customers during this time and it will go a long way. Strong customer relationships lead to better loyalty and retention rates. When the health scare is over and everything returns to normal, they’ll remember your brand for taking the time to care.
3. Run An Online Contest
As you might expect the recent influx of news coupled with the closures of offices, schools and other places, has lead to an uptick in social media use. Your digital presence is more important now than ever. Your offices or storefront may be closed, but you can keep your audience engaged with something fun that drives interaction. Why not run an online contest with custom giveaways people want, like an insulated tumbler or a wireless power bank that keeps smartphones and tablets running strong. It’s a great time to give your customers a little escape from all the headlines.
4. Turn Cancellations Into Opportunities
Maybe you had to cancel an event? Or maybe an event you were planning to attend was cancelled? Either way you’re missing out on the chance to network in-person. Try sending your cancellation notice with a clever gift, for instance a box of tissues and a message like “There’s no crying in business! We’re disappointed that the event was cancelled too, but your health and safety are more important. Stay well!” You might even remind them that the CDC recommends coughing and sneezing into a tissue and then throwing it away to reduce the spread of germs. Recipients will appreciate a thoughtful, relevant gift and a lighthearted moment in times like these.
5. Show You Understand
Overall, remember empathy is key, especially now. Communicate with your customers and employees and attempt to serve them as best you can. Be accommodating with cancelled orders, appointments or plans, and allow employees the flexibility to do what they feel is safest. It’s a confusing time for everyone, but if you look for thoughtful ways to make things easier on your customers and employees they’ll appreciate that it’s not all about sales and profits for you. Your business will be stronger because of it.
Bonus Tip: Organize a Fundraiser
Marketing is as much about building up your brand image as it is about promoting or selling your services. The good news is that customers today—especially Millennials and Gen Z—are drawn to brands that do some social good. Why not organize a fundraiser to help out during this health crisis? You can donate money to organizations that help provide medical supplies, or to organizations that are working to supply food to families and children in need. It’s a scary time for many businesses, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to do something that shows you care about more than just business. Just think, the sooner we get through this, the better we’ll all be. Start a fundraiser online and mail small promotional products, such as custom mugs or tote bags, to participants as a way of thanking them for their donations. We will never forget this time in our lives; you can make sure they never forget how your business stepped in to be part of the solution.