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As we emerge from lockdown, can any of us be certain how things are going to ‘pan out’ in the coming months?  We guess not. 

But one thing we’ve learned at Juicy in the 20 years we’ve been trading – and from the two major recessions we’ve survived – is that your customers won’t all suddenly stop needing or wanting the products and services they used before.  But they may be more reticent to buy and more willing to check-out alternatives.

Which is why getting your marketing right is absolutely essential… making sure you reconnect with existing customers and appeal to new ones too.

Loyalty to existing suppliers is strong right now, but there’s also evidence of businesses re-assessing their operations and seeking out new suppliers.  This is expected to be a growth trend as organisations adjust to a new norm. 

For consumers, finding new sources and suppliers has been a huge trend throughout lockdown, as people adjusted their habits to cope.  It’s predicted to continue and grow, because people have become far more comfortable and familiar with looking for alternatives: it’s their new way of doing things.

So what can you do to help make sure customers buy from you rather than your competitors?

1. Be obviously active!

Are you shouting out loud about being open for business?  Have you contacted all your customers?  Put a board outside your premises?  Reached out to your local and regional press and trade media?  Posted on social media?  Updated your website to explain how you’re working now, or could a visitor mistake it for dormant?  Because people need to know you’re up and running and ready for them; if you don’t appear to be trading, it’s easy to assume you’re not and find a supplier who obviously is.

2. Address Coronavirus. 

It’s all about instilling confidence and building trust.  Many people are worried – even scared – about being ‘out and about’.  They need reassurance; they need to feel safe when they trade with you and use your products and/or services.  Which is why it’s important to explain what you’re doing to safeguard your staff, customers and visitors.  And if you can showcase any community, charity or personal initiatives you and your staff have been involved in during lockdown, then even better!  Be proud of how you’ve helped out; the goodwill factor is a powerful ally.

3. Get personal.  

People buy from people: always have, always will.  And right now, people are far more accepting of direct personal contact than they were pre-pandemic – most positively welcome it – because human contact has been at a minimum over the last few months.  Which makes this a great time to pick up the phone and call your customers!  Follow-up your calls by dropping them a quick message, and make sure you maintain regular contact: email, direct mail, social media, personal messages and calls… it’s simply good marketing practice.

4. Be positive.  

Because frankly, who wants a miserable, downbeat supplier?!  And yes, there’s a lot of uncertainty and unknowns right now, it’s tough and worrying, but it’s important to focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t!  Talk about how you can help your customers solve their problems, overcome issues, meet new and unexpected challenges.

5. Emphasis value.  

Budgets are bound to be under scrutiny; but remember: value is far more than price.  Showcase the benefits of working with your company; emphasise your customer service and/or technical support; share your knowledge and expertise.  All the experience, skills and resources you have in your company combine to create a complete package, not just a single widget or a one-off service.     

6. Develop digitally.  

Going forward, your online presence will be far more important to your business than ever before.  Your website will be the first interaction many more customers than before will have with your business.  Email will help you keep in touch with customers who no longer visit your premises.  Social media will do the same, and help you promote your business to groups and individuals who are looking for your products and services.  So… are you active online?  Is your website up-to-date and giving the right first impression?  Could your digital presence benefit from a re-think and refresh to revitalise its performance?

7. Get creative!  

Does your marketing make you stand out?  It is exciting and engaging?  Or, to be honest, are you just a little ‘stuck in a rut’; doing the same-old, same-old; hoping it will work?  Right now, your marketing needs to shout loud and set you apart from the crowd.  It pays to add creative marketing techniques into your mix, and they don’t have to cost a fortune.  Digital flip books bring your documents alive.  Animations tell your story.  Videos make it more personal.  Clever mailers engage and amuse.  The key is choosing the right technique: it needs to be right for your content and right for your audience too.

It’s tough right now, and it can seem naïve to look for positivity, but industry and commerce still need reliable suppliers to help them function, and consumers still need to buy products and services.

If you’re very lucky, you may have seen business boom through lockdown (some have!)  Perhaps the situation has presented opportunities you didn’t expect and aren’t sure exactly how to capitalise-on and sustain.  Maybe you’ll experience a pent-up backlog of demand; or maybe it will be slower and more challenging for you.  But there is still a market out there.

You just have to make sure you’re talking to the right audiences, appearing in the right places, with all the right messages to win the business you need.

And we’re bursting with ideas to help get you noticed.

Getting your marketing right matters, now more than ever before… don’t ‘make do’ with marketing which lets you down; make it count instead.

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