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10th March 2021

How To Get Ahead Of Competitors As Lockdown Eases

minute read

The last year has been difficult for everyone, especially small businesses. As shops and establishments start to reopen, the focus should be on brand awareness and leveraging demand.

Crowds will soon be descending on the high street searching for the goods and services you offer, so it’s vital you step up your marketing efforts or risk them going to your rivals first.

Whether that means reaching out to existing customers or using social media to find new ones, restarting your marketing now is the best way you can prepare for the big reopening. Here’s a few suggestions, if you don’t know where to start: 

1. Have a plan

The reopening of the high street has already put a lot of pressure on short term success. And businesses like yours will focus on branding and marketing as a way to increase sales on the day.

While this is certainly important, it’s even more important that you plan ahead. Think of your business’s future and what you plan to do to increase sales, customer loyalty and brand strength in the long term. 

If you haven't already, start putting a marketing plan together. If your marketing was put on hold during lockdown, don’t just pick up where you left off but consider your new priorities in this new normal. Identify your new peak periods and monitor your activity for maximum engagement.

2. Focus on your customers

While bringing in new customers should still be a central focus, don’t forget the ones who are still there, who have stuck by you despite the economic downturn.

In addition to investing in new services and platforms to target their new needs, also offer your customers loyalty incentives such as discounts to ensure they aren’t tempted by competitors ahead of your store reopening. According to Paymentsense, nearly two-thirds of the population plans to stay loyal to the local businesses that helped them through lockdown, so now is the time to tap into that sentiment with your marketing.

3. Get online

With the lockdowns and travel restrictions of the pandemic, it's no surprise that everything is shifting online. And if you want to reach as many customers as possible, it makes sense to stay active across a variety of relevant consumer channels.

Creating or updating your website is a good place to start, giving your business instant credibility. Pair this with a Google Ads, digital display or sponsored content campaign, and you will not only be visible to consumers, but their first choice.

Of course you’re not the only business fighting for space online, so check out our in-depth guide and start increasing your online reach today

4. Go social

Now you’re online, it’s time to embrace social media and there are many platforms out there. You don’t necessarily need all of them so really consider which ones are relevant and how they will ultimately help you achieve your business objective. 

Social media engagement has grown by about 61% since the pandemic began, with platforms such as Twitter experiencing particularly high growth

If you want to drive people to your door on reopening day, then crafting informative and relevant eye-catching posts, in-store giveaways or promotions, will immediately grab your audience’s attention. 

5. Encourage reviews

For customers to choose you and buy from you, they first must trust in your brand. 

Especially right now, consumers want transparency from local businesses and encouraging them to leave detailed reviews will show you have nothing to hide. 87% of consumers already read online reviews for local businesses, and 94 percent have stated that positive reviews made them more likely to make a purchase. 

Not only will your customers trust your reviews, but they'll trust your business more, especially if you address all their concerns and queries. Maximise this trust one step further and share positive experiences on your social channels, focussing on new customers once you reopen.

6. Reassure your customers

For many people lockdown brought uncertainty and confusion. Now that restrictions are easing, it has become more crucial than ever to reassure customers and let them know what you’re doing to make it safe for them to return.

Before you even open your doors, it’s key you communicate via email, social media and the telephone the safety measures you are taking, changes to service and your sensitivity to the new climate. There is a lot of unclear information out there and 86% of consumers expect brands to provide practical tips to help them deal with the current situation. 

There will be people wary of the crowded streets so just be open and transparent and provide solutions that will help your customers immediately. 

Start raising awareness now

Now just might be the time to invest in your site, brand, social media presence in order to future proof your business and stay ahead of your competitors. 

Start putting a marketing strategy together well in advance of the lighter restrictions and you will make sure customers come to your door first. Contact our experts for advice on getting started on building awareness.

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