This past month has been the most unique and life-altering that most Americans have felt in their lifetime. Shelter-in-place orders are common across the country challenging businesses of all sizes as their revenues have declined. Some businesses have responded by delaying or cancelling marketing. However, other businesses have made the most of a bad situation by adapting to our new reality.
In our direct mail marketing measurements, response rates have actually increased in the 30 days. Why? For one thing, there has been less mail as some marketers have been slow to adapt. Also, everyone is at home with a lot of time on their hands. More mail is being opened, read and responded to. Three keys to lessening the blow of this quarantine are:
1. Adjust your business to be in compliance with the shelter-in-place orders. Start a curbside service, One local car dealer in Franklin, TN, Darrel Waltrip Honda, GMC and Volvo moved their desks and chairs to the curbside outside the showroom. When customers come on the lot, they meet them at the curb and do all of the prequalification at the curb. Other car dealers are driving to potential customer’s homes. Many restaurants have quickly implemented contactless curbside delivery.
2. Make customers aware that you are open for business. Many businesses have relied on years solely on word-of-mouth or drive-by traffic. Well, guess what. Drive-by traffic doesn’t work in a pandemic. As a business, you have to utilize your customer email databases or direct mail lists and notify your customers that you are open for business. Let your customers know what steps you have made to keep them safe and that you are concerned for their well-being.
3. Use multi-channel marketing. Update your website with new procedures. Reach your customers and prospects via direct mail, email, and online ads. You have a captive audience (literally), so use all the tools at your disposal.
4. Send relevant offers. Not that this is new in marketing, but review the offers you have traditionally used and look for new more relevant offers. Given the environmental change, it is very likely that the needs of your customers have changed as well. For financial lenders, delay the first payments on new loans (for good credit customers) for 60 or 90 days or more. For many online lenders, the transition to today’s situation has been easier to transact all business online. For brick and mortar lenders, it has been more difficult.
Business is down, but not out. Americans are still applying for loans, buying cars, eating food, shopping for clothes and more. And, given that this virus is likely not going to completely disappear in the short-term, you should prepare your business and your marketing for the long-haul. Adjust your business, adjust your tactics. Don’t sit back and wait for this thing to go back to normal. Be proactive and you will see good results. Good luck and stay healthy and safe.