Right now it’s hard to imagine what’s happening this afternoon, let alone next month or next year but it’s something you need to be aware of and prepare for as a business. When restrictions are lifted you need to be ready for customers returning to you and a push as you reach out to them. What can you do? From a PR and comms perspective, there are some key things you can do to effectively prepare for what happens after the coronavirus shutdown while it's quiet. Are you Ready? There is a silent army ready and waiting for you, and they’ll value the call – writers, photographers, web designers, SEO experts, videographers and illustrators. Right now, their regular business has disappeared. They have resources, skills and time that could be working for you. While it doesn’t mean they’ll work for peanuts as we’ve all got to eat, deals can be done so their business - and yours - keeps moving. Everyone has a price, and you’ll be surprised as to how affordable some services can be. Take time to look at your product line, website, product photography, retail space, brand and point of sales areas. Are they tired and need refreshing? Can you cost-effectively update them while the business is quiet? Look at the marcoms jobs you've been putting off. Photography studios are quiet, so why not update your product images. If you deliver product to their door, they can work for you without meeting face-to-face, and will email you a package of new digital images. If you use them wisely, new photography can be used on everything from social media posts to sales brochures or PDFs, web blasts, advertising, packaging or as point of sales material. It’s amazing how far €200 will go if you use your imagination. It’s Good to Talk Call around your local network to see if there is a freelance copywriter or small marketing company that could update the text of your website to reflect the current situation, sales offer or push for new business. Have you considered doing a webmail blast with a quick message to customers who might be able to order online? Spend 10 minutes looking at your stockroom and inventory to see if you can create a product that can be delivered or sold via Amazon in the short-term. Put together an offer they can’t refuse, then go into your Outlook address book and send it to everyone you can think of, you might be surprised.
The Revolution will be Televised There are some amazing examples of small businesses and organisations using Facebook Live and harnessing the power of YouTube right now.
Musicians have streamed concerts from their living rooms, terraces of hotels and even barns. Zoos have held virtual open days and wine shops have offered expert tours shown what goes into that Chablis... with a deal. Not only are they lifting the spirits but they’re showing their talents and what’s possible in difficult times. A little behind the scenes show and tell goes a long way. Treat every element in your PR and marketing toolbox as a customer hamper. Lift the lid, show them a little of what’s possible and tease them so they want more.
Got a hotel? Get the chef to create a meal you can cook at home with what’s in your larder or fridge. Highlight the local suppliers you work with whether it’s the farmer who provides the eggs for the omelette, or fisherman who supplies the line caught salmon and shrimp. Own an event space that’s sitting empty and has sound equipment or work as a plumber and have time? Ask a musician to stage a short concert you can stream to folks from a great location that shows off the space, or your plumbing friend can create a video with five tips on how you can fix a dripping tap, prevent limescale in a dishwasher, or unblock a sink. Story Time Make the story powerful, introduce the people in your team who work for you and create a compelling story that sells an enticing product. If you do, people will come to you after we all return to normal. The only limit is your imagination. And if your kids are at home with you, get them involved. They’ll gain valuable insights and discover how hard you work for them. Nick is Director of Zea-Smith Associates PR, Digital Comms and Content Agency www.zeasmithassociates.com