On April 27, Governor Greg Abbott announced the first phase of the State of Texas’ ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. By way of Executive Order (GA-18), all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls are permitted to reopen on Friday, May 1. These services must limit their capacity to 25% of their listed occupancy.
As you have taken action to manage your business operations and adapt to this new situation, GriffinWink is here to help communicate these new policies to your customers and the general public. We are also here to make sure that your online presence, social media messaging, and advertising is timely and relevant. This is achieved by consistently reviewing digital analytics, reading the marketing landscape, understanding the new regulations, and making recommendations, so your business is optimized for success.
To make things a bit easier, we have developed a blog that you can refer to, to make sure that you are taking the necessary steps to communicate your reopening plan clearly to the community.
Updating Your Website
- COVID-19 Specific Messaging
Most companies chose to communicate an initial message to the public when the shutdowns related to COVID-19 started six weeks ago. These messages commonly explained how your business is operating during the closures and how you are focusing on customer and client safety.
Now that the state is beginning to reopen, these messages should be readdressed and edited. It is now more important than ever to clearly communicate to your audience your plan for reopening. Be sure to explain the 25% occupancy rule that is still in effect. Have a plan for customers who come to your business but are forced to wait to enter in order to abide by the 25% occupancy rule. We suggest having customers remain in their vehicles, and even sending text messages to those waiting when it is their turn to enter your business.
This message should be featured on your home page. If you are uncomfortable using a pop-up to feature this updated message, you will want to feature it prominently. Also, make it clear that the statement has been updated this week, so nobody glances over it, thinking it is the old message from weeks ago.
- General Updates
The reopening of non-essential businesses also provides a unique opportunity to update your website. There are many different ways you can go about improving your website to prepare for your business’ reopening.
We recommend some general updates such as:
- Publishing New Blogs
- Expanding On Existing Content
- Updating Or Adding New Services Or Products
- Adding New Photos Or Videos
- Updating Color Schemes Or Aesthetics
We recommend updating your website at least once a month. This is because Google values websites that are regularly updated. This is because by doing so, it demonstrates to the search engine that you are actively working on improving the experience of visitors.
So, while getting your reopening plan together, consider what you would like to add to your website. That way, when you reopen, you can greet your customers with a fresh new look, while winning some brownie points with Google.
- Google My Business
Google My Business listings are incredibly important to update when beginning to reopen. Google automatically changed many restaurants to “take out only”, you will want to be sure to update this on your listing if you are now accepting in-business clients or customers.
Google My Business is also a great place to make announcements and create posts. We recommend using the same message used on your website to be featured in a post on your Google My Business listing. This assures your message is cohesive across platforms, and you are working to meet your customers and clients wherever they might be searching for information.
If your hours were affected by the shutdown, make sure to update them on your Google My Business listing. It can take up to 72 hours for changes to be published, as Google is logged down with updates as they navigate the crisis as well.
Updating Your Social Media
- Exact dates and times of reopening
After operating under business closures, your customers are excited about your reopening — so make sure they’re aware of it! Inform your followers of what day/time you will reopen. Consider creating eye-catching graphics and animations or inviting color schemes to get your audience involved and ready for your business’s doors to open again.
- Updated business hours
Avoid confusion: make sure your updated business hours are clearly posted and available. In a time with much confusion, you can never be too clear on social media. Consider adding your updated business hours to your bio or create an easy to find graphic so that your audience doesn’t have to “search” through captions for hours of operation. Also, double-check that all social media accounts’ business hours/updates match to ensure all customers see the same information across any platform.
- Capacity availabilities
Make sure customers are fully aware of and understand the 25% occupancy rule! While non-essential businesses are reopening, this doesn’t mean things will look exactly how they used to. Make sure that your followers are aware of what changes have been made and what new processes are in place to avoid any confusion on opening day.
- Address new guidelines/safety policies and procedures
Where will customers wait if at full capacity? Will there still be curbside pick-up? Delivery? How will customers receive updates? Text message? Phone calls? Ask yourself these questions and be prepared to give answers! Posting these answers ahead of time will give your audience plenty of knowledge to be well prepared for your business’ new normal.
- Ensure that new services or products are shared and explained
If your business has new services or products available, especially COVID-related, make sure that your audience is in-the-know! People want to feel safe and knowledgeable, especially in a time where things can be unclear. If your business has made changes to services or have new products for customer and employee safety, make sure you’re promoting them!
- Make sure that your photos, messaging, and information is clear, easy to follow, and easy to find
Whether you’re posting to your organic feed or placing paid spend behind your reopening updates, make sure that you are clearly communicating to customers through all social media messaging. Use this opportunity to share clear, concise, and creative messaging with your customers.
- Get creative!
After operating under different circumstances, reopening can be a fresh start in a lot of ways. Use this opportunity to get creative on social media! Celebrate this reopening with your customers and stand out among the competition: create specials, deals, giveaways, contests, and more. While being apart, social media has become a vital key in staying connected, and that includes your business.
Updating Your Traditional Marketing
- Analyze your product and service and align yourself with the proper programming
Traditional marketing continues to provide creditability that is hard to compete with. With opinion pieces running rampant and unverified information making the rounds online, traditional news sources are gleaming new appreciation from generations that had once moved on from these sources. When applying a traditional strategy, it is essential to consider what products and services you offer and align them with programming that will deliver your message to the right audience.
- Find the right balance between reach and frequency
Digital marketing is a platform that works in the delivery method of the thousands, and it is easy to allow that mindset to carry over to your traditional strategy. Frequency, which refers to the number of times an audience member is exposed to your message, does not equal exposure in traditional marketing. In the same spirit, reach, which refers to the number of potential customers that could see your message, does not equal success either. Focus your traditional strategy on positioning and deliver your message to that position multiple times. In traditional marketing, a frequency of 4 or higher and a reach of 55% or higher are acceptable measurements.
- Messaging should be relevant and positive
Right now, awareness is the greatest challenge of message creation. The world is not unaware that it is in the middle of a pandemic, so let’s focus on what we are doing to provide your service or product in a safe environment. Now is not the time to run a commercial that shows people in an environment that is no longer normal. Messaging right now needs to be relevant, and display sensitivity to the current situation. You need positive and simple messaging that plays well on social, web, and traditional marketing mediums such as commercials.
These are challenging times for everyone. At GriffinWink, we understand the importance in staying connected, especially during this time. Now more than ever, it is vital to communicate the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. If anything on this list seems overwhelming or confusing, reach out to us today. We will make sure your reopening strategy is sound, your communication is professional, and any updates are found in all the places your audience is already looking for information. Visit our website for more information at griffinwink.com.