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Marketing your Business During COVID-19

Ad in empty train station

Life has changed for the next several weeks, possibly even longer. COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic and we hope that this inconvenience will end soon. Schools are closing, events are getting cancelled, and businesses are asking their employees to work from home. This is a major disruption of business as usual. But it doesn’t mean that people’s needs are going away. Now is not the time to shut down operations, but to adapt to the present state of affairs. How can businesses stay engaged with clients? How can they reach new customers who would have visited their brick and mortar store? The answer may be as simple as going where their customers are.

 

At Enradius, we are specialists at reaching people, wherever they are. There are several ways to reach the people your business relies on, especially in this time of misinformation and confusion. Email addresses are the easiest way to communicate and reach your groups, customers, families, etc. What if you don’t have that email? What are some other ways to reach them?

 

Our most precise geotargeting methods involve drawing a virtual circle (Geofence) with a radius of 100 meters or more around locations where prospective customers may be gathering, and serving ads to mobile devices present within the area. These places can be tourist attractions, special events, cities, counties, offices, schools, competitor locations…any place where a person’s location is indicative of their consumer behavior.

 

Of course, for the time being we are collectively trying to avoid clustering in these types of locations, and we’re staying home instead. There are a couple of ways to reach people.

 

  1. Addressable Reach: If you have an address of an individual or business you can target display advertising with latitude and longitude.

  2. Geocookie Advertising:  Instead of serving ads to people who are currently present within the circle, we target people who had been within the Geofence in the past, but have moved along to their next location. We have the ability to target people who entered a Geofence anytime within the past 90 days, or during a specific time period. We can even set a requirement that users must have visited the location more than once, to filter out casual visitors, and instead reach people who work at an office or are frequent customers of a business.

  3. Social Media Advertising: Got a customer or prospect list with emails? We can load it for customer matchback. We can also create lookalike audiences to find new customers who would probably work with you if they knew you existed. And similarly to Geocookies, Facebook and Instagram allow us to geotarget users who live in a location, users who were recently in a location, users traveling in a location, or all of the above. We reach your customers where they are, on social media!

  4. Website Retargeting: While you are driving new traffic to your site, be sure to have retargeting pixels set up for Facebook, Google, and Display. This is a great way to remind potential customers about your business while they are being pulled in so many directions right now.

 

We are currently shifting many of the client campaigns we have in place and replacing them with other strategies to get the word out. Here are some ideas from several of the verticals we work with that can help steer your business down an altered path in this time of change.

All Business Categories

Take the time to discover what your individual state and federal government initiatives are in the upcoming weeks. This is ever changing: for example, Maryland has extended the April 15th tax deadline and there are programs that will be put in place to help ease the burden of businesses. Florida is providing business bridge loans. Look to your local counties for assistance on local developments as well. Just Google “COVID-19 business assistance” and the corresponding state and county to discover information. There are also several federal programs that will be enacted for businesses to defer tax payments. Here are some links that might be helpful:

https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danestangler/2020/03/17/how-do-we-help-small-business-during-covid-19-crisis/#40c12c371b7d

 

If you are a brick and mortar location you should send a detailed email to all of your client email addresses as well as updating your store hours and drive-in times on Google My Business. You can also check and optimize your listings across the directories with our location lookup tool.

 

Having a page on your website that can direct employees what they should do in time of concern or if they have questions. The G3 Group has created a sample COVID-19 page for businesses.

Local Banking and Financial institutions

Thanks to the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates, lending will be top of mind. We have seen that as people are shifting money from stocks to bank deposits, lending is becoming more competitive. National companies will be utilizing online advertising and now is the time for local banking to compete. If you are a Credit Union or Local Bank, we have seen the highest conversions from 5-10 miles around the bank address and 1-2 miles around a branded ATM.

 

Bank of America locations in Washington DCConquesting a national bank location is one of the tactics we use to discover mobile devices that were located near or inside competitor branches. If you are looking to shift business to your branch, we can reach the devices near the location. For example, in Washington DC, Bank of America has a considerable amount of locations and branches to raise awareness. An economical approach is capturing the device ID during daytime activity and reaching those customers when they are back home or closer to the communities they live in. Enradius can reach those that were once in DC or any other market who are now working from home.

              

Medical Facilities

Urgent Care Centers will find that there is a unique need for their services during this time when we need to keep as much space as possible in the ER for COVID-19 patients. Using Geofencing around the surrounding areas of your facility and area hospitals, you can send messages to your community that Urgent Care Centers are faster and safer than the ER, and that your facility is here for them if they have any other urgent medical needs during this time. Urgent Care Centers, doctors offices, and health departments can also utilize Geofencing and social media to keep in communication with community members by raising awareness about illness prevention, hygiene, and social distancing recommendations,  and overall health tips during this time.

 

Restaurants/Bars/Casinos

Great challenges lie ahead for businesses in the restaurant and bar category. The margins are razor thin even in a good economy, so proprietors should plan on acting quickly in order to keep their businesses alive through the crisis. From a lending standpoint (many will need bridge loans, SBA or other, to help stay afloat), the business needs to remain active, which at the very least means providing take-away and/or delivery service. Getting the word out to an audience within a reasonable delivery radius is essential. Look at previous delivery clients and see how far they are to get an idea of your perfect radius. Consider promoting a family meal special at a fixed price. Similarly, a gift card program that appeals to those most likely to help should be initiated. Ask your customers with email, display targeting, and social media to spread the word or promote happy hours when a bar reopens.

 

There is extensive behavioral data that Enradius can help provide. Finding the right blend of foodies and those most likely to support the “cause” is paramount here. The target geography for that audience can be substantially broader. Local restaurants are for-profit operations, and most of the time are not big corporations. But for those of us who can’t imagine life without them, they act more like cultural institutions. If you’d give money to keep the opera going, why not pay a little to keep the restaurant workers afloat? David Chang of Momofuku has a slogan to help sell America on the big fix we need: “Restaurants are too small to fail. Please act quickly. Thank you.”

 

Higher Education

University, college, and high school campuses have shut down across the country to minimize crowding. Students have now turned to at home e-learning until at least April 1st or possibly longer. Higher education institutions haven’t slowed down their advertising efforts to promote fall semester enrollment, when hopefully campuses will reopen. With students discovering the ease of remote learning, this is also an opportunity for universities to grow and promote their online degree programs. But the way that colleges reach their prospects will change now that most consumers are staying home and large gatherings such as sporting events and student college and career fairs are cancelled.

 

The “Interest in Education,” “College Intender,” and “E-Learning” behavioral and contextual categories online are always full of a robust audience and effective targets. Local and regional geotargeting allows advertisers to focus on their key target locations, which is especially helpful for community colleges and universities targeting in-state students.

 

This is also a great time to advertise on social media. Promoting continuing education or graduate programs to older students on Facebook will go farther than usual during this time of lower demand. For younger students, use this time to explore Snapchat or TikTok, one of the fastest growing apps and a space where there are not many advertisers yet.

 

Lawyers, Real Estate Agents, Accountants

Our communities are facing more than just a health risk; their jobs and finances are at risk as well. If you and your organization have extensive knowledge in your field, utilize digital media to become a beacon for your community.

 

Develop a webinar, provide answers to frequently asked questions, and reach your community with social media targeting and geofencing. You can also reach members of the workforce by targeting where they were prior to telework policies or layoff/furloughs being put into effect.

 

Should they file for unemployment? Are they entitled to any benefits? What is their Region and State doing to protect their livelihood in the days to come? Be the hero to answer their questions and calm their nerves in this stressful and difficult time. When the dust settles, they will remember who was there to ease this transition of how we function day to day. Fisher Phillips is a great example of a site that does this for employers.

 

Retailers

Hopefully you have collected customer email addresses. Make sure you are alerting them to your hours, and use several of the tactics we recommended above. If you are in a shopping mall that was forced to close, you can still sell products and gift cards online to shoppers. We can help you pull the device ID data of any mobile phone that was in the mall within the past 90 days.

 

Make personal videos and put them on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. You’ll want to be in contact with people and let them know your situation.

 

Hospitality

With the travel ban, cruise lines and airlines have cut their ports and routes. Many nations have banned certain arrivals, closed borders, or suspended visas. Restrictions on domestic travel in the USA are under consideration. Across the country, hotels, motels, events, attractions, and destinations have been severely impacted, as we work from home and shelter in place.

 

We can help you promote your new travel season, and reschedule their reservations while showcasing your location. You could Geofence neighborhoods, business locations, and even competitors’ locations. We can place your ads on travel, tourism, culinary, and attraction websites or apps. You can also use a Geocookie to target former guests/patrons and remind them that you’re glad to reschedule their reservation, and showcase your scenic location, new décor, beautiful views, and amenities.

 

Performing Arts, Entertainment, Museums, Attractions

Deborah L. Birx, MD, virus response coordinator for The White House, on why millennials are the core group that will stop the coronavirus:

“Public health people, like myself, don’t always come out with compelling and exciting messages that a 25- to 35-year-old may find interesting and something they will take to heart. But millennials can speak to one another about how important it is, in this moment, to protect all of the people. . .There’s more millennials now than any other cohort, and they can help us at this moment.”

As an arts, entertainment, or after-hours venue, what can you do to encourage millennials to encourage other millennials to get the word out to stay home?

Speak to them on social media. Dr. Birx (as a mother of young adult children) understands millennials are amazing communicators and they listen to and share with each other. This is already your audience! If you would like to maximize the messaging, Enradius can help. We have our own GenY social media manager, who lives and breathes the intricacies of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.

The Show Must Go On…Later. Your venue will reopen. With Device ID Look Back, Enradius can identify the mobile devices that were present in locations or at specific events and shows up to 90 days ago. The 90 day time frame is rolling. . .To capture the full time frame and provide you with the largest possible audience for future messaging, we need to look back now to start looking forward.

Feel free to reach out to anyone of the Enradius team members to help you devise a strategic plan or generate more ideas for your business – free of charge. Call us at 1-800-838-1184 or email us at [email protected] for a consultation.

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