By Deborah Corn
Imagine having to drive 45 minutes for a haircut, or to get clothing altered. Imagine no malls or shopping centers to stroll through on a rainy Sunday. Imagine no family-owned restaurants to bring out of town guests, no local bars to watch the big game, no local small businesses when you need to run and pick something up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much imagination these days, just go driving around your neighborhood.
Yelp’s Local Economic Impact Report for September 2020 shows that only 65,769 of the 163,735 businesses which have shut down in the United States since March 1st have reopened, leaving 97,966 permanently closed. With another COVID lockdown in progress or looming in cities across the country, more permanent closures are sure to come.
It’s time to make your community a top priority for your business now and as we move into 2021. Here are three ideas to get your creative juices flowing… and make no mistake, you need to create the ideas and a menu of services around each one.
Business owners are short of cash. You can help several of them at once with some clever ideas. Using this chart as a roadmap to get you started from the staying afloat column– think of a mailer that promotes the towing company and the auto repair shop, architects and contractors, landscaping and tree services. Create your own combinations that work and create all-inclusive packages with a marketing plan for the next 3 to 6 months. Show your prospects you are IN IT, with them.
Combining promotions in the struggling column can work, but I think there is a better chance of success to add-on another business that isn’t struggling to do some lifting… and maybe chip in a little more for the promotion. Think clothing stores and tailors, home décor and home cleaning, pizza, and a pay-per-view movie. Get creative and have the promotions thought out and ready to present with costs for design, copywriting file creation, and printing built-in. Show your prospects you understand they are struggling and are there to help – not sell – through your words and actions.
Are you still printing in one language? I am assuming there are several pockets of languages within your prospecting zone that you are not serving. To start, locate existing print businesses in these areas and see if you can cooperate with them by providing products and services they can’t. This is their territory, the goal is to support, partner, and make new long-term friends. If there are no print businesses in these areas, seek out a native-speaker or someone fluent to start knocking and opening new doors. Minorities and minority-owned businesses are being disproportionately affected by COVID and can use all the help they can get – help them.
It’s the holiday season, so I have one more idea to share as a bonus…
“We’re Clean” Promotion
In this presentation by Lily Harder from consumer reach company Comperemedia, she shares that the #1 fear of consumers in regard to in-store shopping is trust in cleanliness. I am still doing my TV commercial recon, and I can echo that I am seeing more ‘industrial’ cleaning services being advertised. The pic is from 2 commercials I saw, both could be franchises. See if any are popping up in your area and start helping them promote to local businesses. Once a local business has its ‘seal of cleanliness’ sticker on the door, come up with a cooperative marketing program to share the information with the community. It’s a win/win for them, and a win for you.
By Deborah Corn