Life right now feels pretty bleak. Daily I’m watching friends and members of my community lay off staff, close their doors and make some really tough business decisions. Ones that may impact them long-term. It is hard out there right now – and I feel it with a heavy heart. Over the past year, I have gotten very close with my local community via my secondary business page, @blaksands. Today, I want to share ideas I’ve come up with (and seen others do as well) to help bring you and your business hope during these dark times. With a bit of creativity and ingenuity – we can try to make the best of what we’ve got!
But really – feel free to join me over at @blaksands – where I give daily doses of up-lifting messages and positivity. We could all do without the news for a few minutes 🙂
Whether you are a small business owner, or creative freelancer you can find a way to use any and all of these tips! In the coming weeks and months give them a try, mix them up and adjust. While yes, I am aware that many small businesses with employees have an additional burden and choices to make – I hope you can find inspiration in these fun and creative ways to spread the word about your business.
let’s jump right in…!
Open an online store / virtual storefront
First and foremost – you need to have an online storefront to meet your customers. Whether that is a website where you sell product, your Instagram or Facebook page – now is the time to get your products online ASAP. With store and event closures – people are going to turn to online shopping. Give them a reason to continue to shop small! We recommend Shopify as an easy and straightforward online tool to get a website up and running quickly.
This is something very specific to Instagram. (One I see used mainly by shops selling vintage – but you can get creative and apply it to other types of businesses). In essence, it is a really easy and fun way to sell your product, especially if you want to hype something up! You can make up your own rules, but typically they go something like this:
Create a slide that first announces your story sale with buying “rules”
Typically the seller asks for your email address so they can send you an invoice
Each item is listed slide by slide with information, pricing etc.
Your buyer DMs you to “claim” what they want
The seller sends an invoice
Once the buyer has paid – you ship them the item!
The benefit to a Story Sale is that your slide “disappears” after 24 hours, urging your customer to buy when they first see it! Things can sell out quickly – so buyers want to act fast.
Virtual Pop-ups and/or FaceTime appointments
Immediately I announced I would offer FaceTime appointments for my curated vintage shop the moment all of my in-person markets were canceled. I wanted to offer a visual way to reach my customers during Self Quarantine and Social Distancing. Just today I saw Jamie Slye (local hat maker) posting about her Virtual Pop-up this coming Thursday via Instagram. How clever!
Offer Door-step delivery & other alternative shipping options
One unique way I have seen a lot of small businesses offer to get their product to you – is through free local pick-up or doorstep delivery. I understand not everyone can offer this, so consider offering free shipping, or amend your shipping and return policies (even if it’s just temporary).
Now is the time to create as much content as possible! If you are stuck at home – staring at the product you want to sell, why not create some content to post. If you don’t already – you’re going to need some stellar images to use for your online website and social media.
Run a Promo or offer Gift Cards
If you need to create some cash flow / income to get you through the next few weeks, consider running a promo – or offering gift cards that people can use towards a future purchase. Many people are happy to buy gift cards to their favorite restaurant or coffee-shop to help them get through the closures. If you are a store with physical product – try and move as much inventory you can – as that’s just money sitting in your stock room (or closet).
have another creative marketing tip? Please email me or leave a comment below and we’ll add it to our post!
I hope these tips leave you inspired and gets you started on some new ways to market your business. As always – we love our community and look forward to connecting with you via social media (or in person in the near future!) Wishing you all the best – I truly believe we will come out the other side. XO – Michelle