It’s devastating – your business has been forced to shut its doors as a non-essential service and what can you do now?
I’ve compiled a list of some marketing ideas that may work for your business. These are all general ideas and work best when modified to suit your unique situation, clients, and options.
I’m also offering free business & strategy sessions to business owners that have been forced to close their doors as my way to give back, and hopefully help generate some income until you can practice again.
These are suggestions specifically for service businesses such as massage therapists, hair stylists, salons & estheticians, mechanics, dog groomers, etc. but can also be applied to other businesses.
1. Gift cards – Offer discounted gift cards now, to be used as soon as your doors are open. Yes, you will not be getting full profit for them, but it will help bring in some income now. Depending on your need and profit margin, you can do staggered sales of a limited amount of more severely discounted gift cards up to regular discounts. These could be one-offs or larger packages of services. (Space out your time so that once you are running, part of your week is for these clients and part is reserved for new business/regular prices as well.)
2. Monthly VIP client packages – Create a monthly VIP client package, again offered at discounted rates now that offer bonus services to clients in the future. If they are paying monthly, it is less upfront for them now but they get more for their money in the future, plus they know they are helping your business stay afloat. (On that note, share the reason behind your specials and discounts. People do business with you because they know, like and trust you. Share how this is a way to maintain your business and income and how it helps them).
3. Selling products – If you have products related to your services, now is the time to focus on them. Create packages/kits that help tide clients over until they can see you again.
4. Online tutorials – The challenge is there are a lot of other people doing this at the moment now, so you need to focus on the relationship you have with your customer base. They trust you and love you so they would prefer to work with and support you rather than some other random stranger (again, having the correct positive mindset).
5. Home delivery/Pickup – Helping encourage your clients to stay home by offering what would be considered VIP services, such as picking up or dropping of supplies or products. I know a mechanic who is picking up cars, taking them to his shop to work on them, and then delivering them back to the customers driveway to maintain health standards.
6. Change the way you offer service interaction – If you are still operating but clients have dropped off then share with them ways you have increased your social distancing and are taking precautions. Maybe a dog groomer has clients tie their dogs up outside the location and then the owner comes out and collects them. Or maybe it is now a pickup service to get the dog right from their door.
Share your story and journey. We are all in this together and many of your customers want to support you. Let them know that your business is closed and it has shut off your main source of income and that you appreciate them and would love to continue to service them in the future so are offering discounted packages now to help you stay afloat and they get extra value for their money in the future.
What’s in it for them? Clearly explain how this is a benefit for them as well. While they want to help you, knowing that they are getting extra services or greater savings than normal will encourage them to make the purchase now.
Maximize different media. Update your website with ways that you are supporting your clients or pivoting in order to continue to serve them. Contact your customers on your email list with an update on what you are doing and offer information how you can help them. Include your specials in here as well.
These are just a few general ideas, and may or may not work for your business. Some may need to be modified but I wanted to throw these out so that you can begin brainstorming ways to keep your business going as well.