505 E Main Ave, Bismarck ND  |  1408 20th Ave SW, Minot ND

You’ve reopened. Now what?

Your business was closed or severely limited for a couple of months, and now you’re open again. So, from a marketing perspective, what is the best path forward? Here are some basic items to keep in mind.

1. Have a well thought out plan. Some small personal services type firms will be able to open the door, implement new safety standards and they will be back in business pretty quickly. But if your business deals with large numbers of guests, events, ticket sales or promotions, you need to be well prepared for a whole new way of doing business and a whole new way of marketing.

2. Budget planning is critical. Your numbers are down and will most likely be that way for quite a while. Now is a great time to get in there and cut out the fat. Every business has the sponsorships, support pieces and memberships that you always wondered if they actually contributed to your bottom line or not. As for media, stick with your primaries and do a good job with them. You’re better off cutting out some completely than running a watered-down campaign.

3. Communication is the key to the customer. People have more questions than ever, and they want to know exactly what your business is doing. Be as detailed as you can with everything from safety procedures to hours of operation and if you change anything make sure your customers are aware.

4. Check your messaging. Thinking you can just fire up the campaign you were running before the pandemic is probably not realistic. From minor tweaks to complete overhauls, be prepared to adjust your messaging to fit the market and the mood. Now I’m not saying you have to have one of those sappy “we’re all in this together’ campaigns, just make sure the messaging is clear and is sensitive to the current situation.

5. Polish your online presence. Take the time to review your entire online inventory to make sure it’s performing at peak level and that your content and details are accurate and well represented. Your website, SEO, SEM, social media, etc. are a lifeline to communicating with your regulars as well getting new business. When those are neglected, it can do you a lot of harm. Also, if you rely on sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor make sure they get your attention.