Ever wonder how to help small local businesses during a Pandemic?
1) Re-evaluate your role as a marketer in this Pandemic
Marketers often have a bad reputation of people who just want to sell. That’s a myth. There are various roles in marketing. While sales is the second to the last step in the marketing funnel (last step is to delight your customers), that’s not it. I may sound bias, but the role of a marketer is to bring awareness to their target audience. Regardless of whether it is for a for-profit brand (e.g. Contigo) or not-for-profit brand (e.g CDC), or for a brand that practices corporate social responsibility (e.g. Pentagonia), brands need to go back to basics. This basic refers to the “why” they start their business. For example, if you are a brand that wanted to help improve females and their self-esteem about their body, then think about ways that you can encourage confidence. This is not to suggest that we should sell materialistic products such as clothes to cover up your body, rather be happy and confident about what you can do to have a “happy” body image. Perhaps providing information about what health living is, what it means to be confident, and how to ignore unnecessary comments from strangers.
2) Offer free educational sessions to fellow businesses (especially small businesses)
With this lock-down and stay-at-home orders, some state have are limited in how they can deliver their products and services to their target audience. For small businesses, resources might be limited and thus restrict them in reaching their target audience. Filing for bankruptcy may or may not be the last thing on business owners mind because they still have mouths to feed and livelihood to support. These businesses will do all they can to stay afloat.
For small businesses, it is not unusual that they don’t have online brand presence nor do they have knowledge on how to deliver their products and services online. Offer a helping hand and reach out to those businesses that need help with establishing their online presence. I have been practicing what I preach with helping small businesses all over the United States with their social media marketing plan. I coach students to work with small businesses to identify their goal and their challenges, and then to come up with a plan to address those challenges.
As marketers, there are many platforms that we can host webinars. If you have Facebook, Instagram or even YouTube, you can organize a live session. Alternatively, if you have Zoom, GoToMeeting or WebEx (web conferencing) platform, you can opt to host a webinar. If you don’t have the capacity to host any live session, you can always pre-record your videos and upload it to YouTube and post them on your website or cross-promote to other social media platforms (e.g. Facebook).
3) Reach out not only in good times but also in hard times
I learn this from an entrepreneur, Mr. Imada, who has a long history of running a successful business. Businesses often see fellow businesses as rival. However, in this unprecedented times, it is good to reach out to businesses to see how they are doing. Some may need help, some may not. I strongly believe that when we do any good deed for others, it needs to be out of pure altruism. Avoid having the mindset of “oh, I hope they will repay us one day”. I think doing good is part of being a good citizen of the community. People will always remember you when you help them in a crisis, because the impact is stronger. Our world don’t need any more anxiety, stress and negativity. What we need is a “How are you doing? Do you need help? How can I help you”? Of course, as marketers, we have to work within our own limits and not over stretch because you will not only harm your fellow business owners, you will also harm our own business brands.
Three simple and straightforward thoughts to consider. Help within your own means. Helping starts from your family, friends and your community. It will go a long way. If you find this blog helpful, share it and spread some kindness in our world!
Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Healthy