When businesses are coming to a stand still across the globe, now is NOT the time to bury your head in the sand.
We certainly don't know what the future holds, but it is important for us as business owners to focus on what we do know now, and get the jump on protecting our businesses.
What we have heard through the industry is:
- People are scared of going out, so are cancelling their bookings and not showing up
- People are worried that if there is a "lockdown" they won't get their cars back People who are out of work (and even many that aren't) are not spending money unless essential
- People are uncertain about your hygiene practices and don’t want to take the risk
- People are worried about taking taxis home
- People have been made umemployed and are reluctant to collect cars and have to pay their excess
So what can we do about this situation? You might be asking yourself what has marketing got to do with getting through a crisis? Well, while so many businesses are being forced to close their doors, or opt for a different service (think your local café moving to takeaway only), the repair industry hasn’t (as yet).
With the above challenge's in mind, I'd like to share with you 6 specific tactics that will help maintain business during this time:
1. COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Prepare a COVID-19 compliant statement. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just know where you stand, and what you are able to do to both comply with the regulations being brought out, and how you can minimise risk anywhere possible.
Then, get the team onto making calls, confirming bookings and advising of the measures you are taking place. Personally advising each and every customer what you are doing will help instill confidence.
Message: Don’t keep people guessing, or assuming. You need to advise them each step of the way - you're open for business, you're COVID-19 compliant, and you are taking all necessary precautions in the business.
2. UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE & DIGITAL PRESENCE:
Now is the time to ensure your website clearly communicates the steps your business is taking to ensure continuity during these times.
Make it easy for them to book online or pick up the phone.
Install a chat function to answer any instant questions people might have when looking to get quotes.
Show what offers you are putting in place in order to drive certainty for customers. These all need to be visible on the home page.
Is your Google My Businesslisting up to date reflecting your operating hours?
Have you listed your business on all the Directory Business Listings to ensure its easy for you to be found?
3. GET THE JUMP ON SOCIAL
People all over the country are doing one thing more than ever before - they are on social media. Even the least prolific of users are popping their heads on social to contribute.
Even if all you have is a business page which has all of your essential information - that’s a start. Facebook is the main channel that will enable you to be found locally. If you have used Instagram and that’s your primary method of connecting with you local area and clients, then stick to that.
If you have some activity on Facebook, then it's worthwhile creating simple content - the key is to "Show Don’t Tell".
4. BE CREATIVE
This goes hand in hand with being on social and also figuring out better ways to do things under these restrictions (as your potential customers will look you up!)
Here are some examples (show don’t tell remember?):
- show them how well vehicles are prepped,
- show them your sanitsed key handover process,
- show them your virtual inspection of a vehicle using facetime,
- show them the pictures of all the measures you have put in place (steering wheel covers, seat covers, gloves etc.)
- show them how you are creating social distancing
- show them how you sanitize a car for delivery
5. USE TECHNOLOGY
Further to the above, tech is fantastic for enabling transactions without the need for physical contact. Have you considered:
- Virtual inspections
- Remote drop off
- Online credit card payment/Paypal
- Home delivery and pick up of vehicles (client doesn’t have to leave their home)
6. CREATE OFFERS
Offers are a great way to provide value and confidence with customers. They feel they are getting something extra, and you are maintaining or improving your business opportunity as opposed to clients cancelling. Some simple offers could involve:
- complete sterilisation/or interior clean for every vehicle
- complete detail at completion
- home delivery or pick up of vehicles (that are drivable or if you have a truck and they are within X Km radius)
- guaranteed 3/6/9 day turn around (depending on parts deliver) or they save $.
Now is the time to implement essential marketing within your business. And, if in the instance we all get locked down and can't operate, perhaps use this as a time to get your "marketing ducks" in-a-row, ready for the return. There will be a flipside to this pandemic and a market that will continue to grow and prosper in so many different ways.
Be the business that stands out during this time, that does things different to all the others, and demonstrates your strong awareness of what's happening and how you will adapt and change to ultimately meet your customers needs.
As 'Menacing Director' ofMenace Group - marketing.digital.socialand Founder of Directree we have literally spent the last two weeks helping our clients come up with the best strategies and tactics to weather this storm. We are all in this together, so please don’t hesitate to ring or email me if you need a helping hand to get your essential marketing on track: firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 655 106