3 Great Business Pivots During COVID-19 That You Can Adapt For Your Company

3 great business pivots webinar

The purpose of this webinar was to provide business owners with 3 unique business pivots to adjust your marketing strategy as limits are placed on your business. Whether you’ve seen a significant reduction in foot traffic or have been forced to shut down entirely for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean you can’t implement some digital tactics that can keep your business top of mind with customers.

These 3 examples can seed creative ideas that can be adapted for your business. 

We’ll cover:

Watch the full reply below.

(2:00) Overview of the webinar

(3:30) Fine dining pivoting to fine drive-thru

(6:08) Updating your listings

(7:08) Social media communication

(9:12) How to schedule out your social media posts using Traject Social

(10:45) How to monitor you social media inbox with Traject Social

(11:13) How to ask for reviews from your customers

(14:35) Using a text back strategy

(15:22) Using QR codes and email signature snippets

(16:30) Showcasing your positive reviews as social proof

(18:45) Goods for good – Giddy’s Pizza

(21:23) Ways to implement a Goods for good campaign

(22:30) Using a promo code to launch the campaign

(24:36) Laser focus approach to online advertising

(26:26) Organic Rankings, SEO, and Ad Opportunities

(26:55) Focusing on local rankings

(29:15) Keyword rank tracking based on location

(33:50) Q&A

business pivots webinar Overview

Fine Dining To Fine Drive-Thru

Your business depends on foot traffic. Not only that, one of your primary value propositions depends on the service that you offer. When customers can no longer visit your establishment, you need to get incredibly creative with how you can continue to provide a service that isn’t reliant on the in-store experience.

fine dining to fine drive-thru

Canlis represents the pinnacle of fine dining in the pacific northwest. This family establishment boasts a black tie, cream of the crop experience for their patrons. With Seattle being one of the first locations required to shelter in place, they shut down their dining room in March, but it didn’t completely shutter their business. 

Their business model changed with the new climate. Instead of their traditional restaurant experience, they created and executed 3 brand new offerings that complimented the restrictions place on them:

  1. A breakfast offering – morning coffee and bagels, available for pickup.
  2. A lunch time drive thru 
  3. A dinner time delivery service

But even that creative solution needed to evolve as local ordinances changed. Instead of the drive-thru, they set up a walk up only establishment.  With all of those changes, how do you communicate that effectively to existing customers and potential future customers. That’s a major challenge to which Canlis needed a solution.

With the logistics figured out, how did they get the word out? They needed to communicate:

Make sure local listings are up to date on major publishers

When it comes to critical information, you need your NAP (name, address, phone number) updated and accurate on Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and key industry specific review sites and directories (like Zomato for the restaurant industry).

local marketing listings updates

Double check your primary phone numbers on listings, and where appropriate make sure to opt out of 3rd party online ordering, if it’s not your intention to use them.

If you’re not manually updating your listings, there are a few reliable listings management software solutions to consider: Yext, Whitespark.ca, Moz, or BrightLocal.

Use social media channels to communicate to your audience

If you don’t already have an account on the social media channels that your customers use, you’ll need to first create them. All of them are free to set up, but you will need to take a couple of hours to set up a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more to be able to discover and communicate with your audience. You don’t necessarily need to be on every channel. 

Typically 3-5 channels are appropriate for most businesses with Facebook being the most essential.

Once your profiles have been created and your information has been uploaded, you can begin creating a presence and updating your audience on social media. There are 3 tactics that are essential for optimal communication in your social media management.

social media local strategy

Posting your social media content

When there are government orders that change how you’re allowed to operate your business, you need to get the word out on all of your social media channels. That can be a massive challenge if you’re trying to do this natively on each platform. The problem can become enormous when you start posting for multiple locations or clients.

social media posting

Scheduling your social media content

With so much on your plate to keep your business going, you can save time and have social media work for you by pre-scheduling your content updates when you have the time blocked out. 

For instance with a restaurant, maybe you have a brunch special on Sundays and during the week you have dinner take out. You can plan out your social media posts along with your menus. Once you have your week’s menus planned, schedule each menu to be shared on the corresponding day during the week. Now your customers will know what you’re serving that day, and you don’t have to spend time in the morning and during the day publishing the menu at a specific time.

social media scheduling

Engage with your audience

When you monitor your social media mentions, likes, and comments you can have someone on your team available to respond to your audience’s questions and build your presence. When you grow your audience on social, you increase your visibility and ultimately, your customer base.

social inbox engagement

Use reviews to improve customer experience and grow your business

review collection for local businesses

Right now, reviews are more important than ever. Since more business has migrated online, consumers are going to be more likely to be checking your online reviews before they decide to patronize your business. 

With reviews, consumers are typically learning about your product:

But with COVID-19, they might be looking for more pandemic related reviews:

Since you can no longer collect reviews at the point of sale machine or face to face at the store, you need a new strategy for generating reviews.

Review funnel for review collection:

You can use email and text messages to ask customers for reviews and send them to the review funnel landing page. On the landing page, reviewers can choose the review site that’s easiest for them to leave the review.

Generating a steady stream of online reviews on Google is going to increase your search visibility for when people use a keyword search term that’s relevant to your business.

Grade.us review funnel landing page

Text-back functionality for review collection

Text message marketing has become more popular and offers an effective way to get in front of your customers. But if you want to provide a more passive method of feedback engagement, you can add a phone number on your receipts and flyers to encourage people to leave feedback. When they text the number, you can have a call to action like ‘Text us the word FEEDBACK to xxx-xxx-xxxx’ which would text them back with a link to your review funnel.

text feedback poster

QR codes and email signature snippets

email signature and QR code widget

Since smart phones photo apps now have an ability to automatically scan QR codes, they have become more effective ‘in the wild’ print marketing strategies. Having your QR code up on your store front window provides another passive strategy for driving customers to your review funnel landing page.

Email signature snippets with a CTA for writing a review can add a visual element to your emails and provide an opportunity for customers to write a review based on every email you send. This is effective for both automated emails (from your newsletters) or any personalized emails that we see more often in service based industries.

Review marketing your positive reviews as social proof

When you are getting those great reviews from happy customers, boosting those positive reviews on social can be a great way to get the word out that you’ve pivoted your business and are available to customers in a way that’s COVID-friendly. 

If you’ve come up with a unique way to pivot your business and it grabs the attention of your customers, these five star reviews can potentially go viral on social media. Sharing your positive reviews on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others can generate a ton of buzz about your business.

gatherup review marketing

Goods for good campaigns

goods for good campaign

Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19. People have lost loved ones, jobs, or security. Essential business workers are putting their lives at risk every single day. Businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. One way to help your own business survive while helping your community is by creating campaigns driven by supporting the people who are suffering or the people who are protecting us.

One amazing example of this type of campaign comes from East Brunswick, New Jersey, where Giddy’s pizza started to match donations to EMS workers at their local hospital. With 5 local hospitals in the area, Giddy’s team has been able to deliver amazing pizza and positivity throughout their community and generate buzz about their own business via social media.

So how do you organize a campaign like this for your business?

  1. Identify organizations in your local community that could benefit from your support.  
  2. Determine a free, discounted, incentivize service that you can offer.
  3. Tie the promotion to your financial or product donation.
  4. Plan out the logistics of your donation process.
  5. Share the experience on social media from customers and beneficiaries.

How does this benefit your business in addition to the community?

benefits of goods for good

What are the logistics for implementing this campaign?

When you’re putting together the promotion, there are a few processes and tools you’ll want to put in place to ensure that your customers are informed about the promotion.

implementation of campaign

While you can use word of mouth and track your offers manually via an excel spreadsheet. You can also tie your offer to a promo code using a SaaS marketing tool. Design and create offer codes using tools like Mobivity, Punchh, or even Grade.us.

Laser Focused Advertising

laser focused advertising

When the economy grinds to a halt and revenue is down, all businesses focus on cutting costs and increasing efficiency. The instinct for most businesses can be to cut all advertising, but continuing your advertising can be a major opportunity right now for two main reasons.

But to make the most of your advertising budget, it’s essential that you’re targeting the right keywords. If you’re a local business, you also should be targeting precise locations.

In order to identify where you want to advertise, you first need to understand where your website and Google listings are already appearing. When you perform keyword research and identify how you’re performing on your targeted keywords that are driving traffic to your business, you can start making data-backed decisions on where to spend your ad budget.

If you haven’t invested in content marketing, don’t have a website, and haven’t ranked for local keywords, there’s going to be a lot of options which can feel overwhelming. There’s a lot of long term value in investing in a website that offers information about your business that includes your products and service descriptions, amenities offered, and ways to contact you. All of that information will contribute to showing up on your customer’s Google searches. Your SEO strategies can be used to improve the content on your site and in turn your keyword rankings.

When you’ve invested in SEO and rank for many of your targeted keywords, you can measure your keywords ranking performance to identify whether it makes sense to advertise on Google ads for specific keywords where your business may not be ranking well.

SEO and Ad Campaigns

Focus on local advertising

For local businesses with a brick and mortar location, focusing on your local keyword performance will save you money and your business. 

If you’re not familiar, searches with local intent (when the keyword term is tied to a local geographic location) can vary significantly based on the location of the searcher. If someone is on their phone searching for a restaurant, they’re going to see Google results that are different from their desktop at home. 

Search engine results will also offer different featured snippets for different types of queries. Some local searches that are looking for a business might return a local 3 pack with 3 businesses and a map. 

Try it out when you’re performing your keyword research. 

See what types of results you see for different variations on your focus keywords. Are you seeing news results? Social media profiles? Another business listing? The search results will impact your SEO and advertising strategy.

local SEO keyword rank tracking

You can use various SaaS tools to monitor keyword performance. SEMRush, Moz, Google Search Console or AuthorityLabs for keyword rankings. Cyfe, or Domo for metrics dashboard monitoring.

Tying it all together

One of the most common themes you’ll hear among digital marketers since the start of the pandemic is the need to diversify your marketing efforts. If you’re only depending on ads, organic, social media, referrals and affiliates for your marketing efforts, a hit to that channel could crush your business. 

Right now, the businesses that can adapt their strategy quickly are most likely to survive the pandemic and potentially ensuing recession. It’s not too late to get creative and try out any of these strategies to help keep your business afloat. The hope is that these challenges that we’re all facing will only make our businesses stronger when we come out the other side.

If there’s one key takeaway from this webinar, it’s be human. Invest in your own business and in your community. We are all in this together. If there’s anything we can do to help, please contact us at [email protected] We’re doing our best to give back too.

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