5 Marketing Tips for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 - NextME Virtual Waitlist App

5 Marketing Tips for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

5 Marketing Tips for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 - NextME Virtual Waitlist App

The following post is from a guest contributor. 

Are you managing a business that recently reopened or made major changes in operations due to COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns? If so, then a lot about the way you’ve typically done business has been flipped on its head. Still, it’s important that even while you’re working to make sure that your overall operations are still running smoothly, you’re effectively marketing your business and ensuring future growth. Here’s how your business can reach new and existing customers during the pandemic. 

Marketing Tips for Businesses Impacted by the Coronavirus

Understand Changing Customer Needs 

With unemployment still high, many consumers have shifted their purchase habits. However, it’s important to remember that different customers react to economic downturn differently. While some groups are cutting their spending significantly, others are making purchases as they would in normal times. 

To better focus your marketing efforts, it’s important to recognize which demographic groups your business is serving. To do this, take surveys of your customer base to get a better idea of how their spending habits have shifted in recent months. You can then tailor your messaging to better serve their needs. For example, if you see that a majority of your customers are willing to maintain spending levels on purchases they deem “essential”, you can tailor your marketing messages to emphasize why your services are essential. 

Leverage Text Messaging 

In uncertain times like these, it’s important to connect with your existing customers so they understand everything that’s happening with your business. Right now, the best way to do this is through text messaging. Studies show that text messaging has a stunning open rate of 98% compared to just 31% for email. 

There are several ways that you can leverage text messaging. You can use texting to send relevant deals and offers, update customers about your business operations, or send appointment or delivery reminders. 

Collect Online Reviews 

When customers do a Google search for your business, one of the first things that they’ll see is your online reviews. Because of this, reviews can help boost all of your other marketing efforts. Whether a customer hears about you through print, radio, or a Facebook ad they are likely to Google you and see what other customers are saying about you. 

To make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward to customers, implement an online reputation management strategy and make an effort to solicit reviews from your customers. You can make the process easy for customers by sending requests through texts and email that link directly to your profiles on review sites. That way, all your customers have to do is click a link and leave a review.

Change Your Listings 

Most businesses have gone through significant operational changes in the past few months. Of course, many loyal customers may simply be unaware of these changes because they’ve had their own life issues to deal with. It’s important that you give them the information they need to re-engage with your business when they’re ready. 

If you’ve recently reopened your business locations or taken additional steps to protect customer safety, you should update your listings on sites like Google My Business and other business listings sites. That way, customers searching your business can see right away the changes in your business operations and understand the steps that you are taking to keep them safe. 

Leverage Social Media 

With more people spending more time indoors, customers are more likely to be scrolling through Facebook or looking at their Twitter. That means it’s even more important for your business to leverage social media. 

Try to post relevant content that speaks to some of the concerns that your customers might be experiencing. For example, this Instagram post by Nature’s Bakery showed some fun activities that customers could do while at home with their families. 

 

5 Marketing Tips for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 - Leverage Social Media - NextME Virtual Waitlist App

If you’re a smaller team or you don’t feel like you have the resources to leverage social, don’t worry. You can still have a successful social media strategy on a smaller scale. Try to focus on one platform where you feel that your target audience spends the most time. 

In Conclusion 

Marketing your business during normal times is tough. Standing out from the competition in uncertain times like these is even more difficult. But with the right strategy, your business can be the obvious choice in the area. 


How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointment Waitlist Management

How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointment Waitlist Management

Waiting is a fact of life. And managing waitlists is often a big part of doing business. 

You may be thinking of the waiting area at your favorite salon or those little buzzer coasters at restaurants. But there are so many more industries who have to tackle this problem. From bowling alleys, to car lots, to stylists, to sales professionals, to event organizers and exhibitors, waitlists seem to be everywhere.

And those annoying buzzers or the old-fashioned clipboard technique are a poor way to keep track of such a vital part of your business. Fortunately, today’s technology has given us a better way to manage the wait through appointment waitlist platforms.

How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointments and Waitlist Management

Create an Appointment Waitlist

If your salon, repair shop, or other service business uses a walk-in model, you might be leaving money on the table. But moving to an appointment-only model can also have financial drawbacks. A better solution is to create an appointment waitlist — it’s the best of both worlds.

An appointment waitlist allows you to schedule clients way ahead of time — regular visits, planned service appointments, monthly appointments. And it also allows you to manage walk-in clients. So if your dog grooming business has monthly bath and cut clients and walk-in flea baths or nail trims, you can include all of these types of visits in the same system. This allows you to fill slow times or no-show appointments with walk-in clients, and also reschedule late clients or last-minute drop-ins with ease.

Confirm Appointments with Text Reminders

Many walk-in type businesses have found that setting appointments can actually hurt their bottom line when people don’t show up. They may have booked a full day of appointments and staffed their business appropriately only to find that half of the clients have gone elsewhere or forgotten the appointment. Staff is left twiddling their thumbs waiting for people who are not coming. The whole business is less busy, and consequently less profitable, than it should be. 

This is similar to the no-show problem restaurants have faced for years using reservation systems like OpenTable. Since NextME was originally designed for the restaurant industry, our platform was created with this difficulty in mind. 

With a simple text message, just before their appointment clients can let you know if they’re still planning to keep their appointment. If so, they are prompted that they’re soon to be next in line. If not, the waitlist is moved forward accordingly and the day progresses smoothly. The staff stays busy, the business stays active, and workers and clients alike don’t have to waste time waiting. 

Let Clients Control How They Wait 

By sending SMS updates estimating wait time and then notifying clients when they need to head back, you allow clients to control and manage their own time. They don't have to hover in or just outside your shop (or keep checking back). They can take off and do as they please, then only begin to return once they receive a text letting them know that they're next or almost next in line. 

Not sure how this would look? Take Apple's Genius Bar. They do an excellent job of allowing clients to schedule their appointments and then wait wherever or however they like. Since many of their locations are inside shopping malls or busy commercial areas, this means people can shop or run errands as they wait. This leads to happier clients and better customer service ratings across the board. And there’s no denying that they’ve managed to create a loyal following.

Take Advantage of Clients' Captive Attention

In today’s data-driven world, your clients are constantly bombarded by marketing messages. So finding ways to get their attention is harder than ever. What if you could get your clients to view a page with your chosen messages, voluntarily?

One of the best features of NextME’s waitlist platform is that it sends your clients to a page where they can monitor their place in line in real-time. This creates a captive audience who is already interested in your business and its services. And you get to decide what content is displayed on the page beneath the countdown. 

This means you could advertise potential upsell products or services like adding a blowout to a hair cut or offer new air filters for clients coming to your automotive shop. You could also showcase your website, give customers the option to sign up for your email list, or encourage them to follow your brand on social media. Have a customer loyalty plan? This is a great place to give them a sign-up link.

This waiting page is also a great option for event management teams. It allows event exhibitors to manage wait times for attendees visiting booths. The marketing page allows exhibitors to prep attendees while they’re waiting to experience all a booth has to offer. They can use the page to help attendees make a more meaningful connection to your brand or cause by combining mobile marketing content and one-on-one meetings with staff members. 

Want to see how an appointment waitlist can help you grow your business? Give NextME a call today!