How On Earth Do You Market Your Business During COVID-19? [Webinar]

Has COVID-19 changed your marketing? You’re not alone.

Every business is unique, but many make a common mistake when times are tough. They stop marketing, instead of changing how they are marketing. There are missteps to avoid, and opportunities that you don’t want to miss.

That’s why recently we put on a 45 minute webinar for clients and local business owners to learn tips and actionable ideas on how to market now. Whether your business is on-hold or running differently, watch our recorded webinar below to learn how to market now so you can hit the ground running when you have the all-clear.

 

 

Video Transcript:

There we go. Yes, we will be recording the event. So Dana, that is a great question. So what you need to know about today’s seminar is, yes, we are recording it. We will give you a link after the fact. And any questions that come up, we’ll try to answer those in a follow-up email. Probably the email will come out on Friday or Monday.

And we just want to let you guys know that we are here for you. Any questions you have, clients or not clients, give us a call. There is no charge to talk to Jen, Valleri, Chris, or myself for just your initial consultation, to give you free tips, free advice anytime, because every situation is completely different. And we’re all experiencing different things. There are about 200 people who are joining us on the call today. And there are agencies. There are a ton of business-to-business companies. There are professional services on the line. We have about 50 or 60 people in tourism. Some of you have had to close your businesses for the first time in over 20 years. It’s heartbreaking. We see that. And so we just want to tell you, even if you’re closed, what you can do here and how you can be successful when this is all over. So we’re just so thrilled that you’re all here.

And I see the chat’s running. It’s great. Thank you. Good morning, Tom and David. Oh, so sweet to see you guys here. I’m literally just so thrilled to have you all here.

So I’m going to stop blubbering because this is just so exciting to have 200 people come to this conference. And I’m just going to start the seminar. So how on Earth do you market your business during COVID-19?

The first thing I want you to think about is be vocal. So many people in so many businesses, especially when they closed, said goodbye on their Facebook page. We’ve closed. And well, we look forward to seeing you when this is all over. Or they’ve stopped communicating with their clients because they can’t spend any money. And how can I market to them? They don’t have the ability to pay or come or visit or do anything. And that’s a big mistake. We want you to be vocal. And even more important than be vocal, we want you to be visible because people want to see you. We are all isolated and alone and in our homes. And some people are alone in their homes with no other family members. And it is lonely. And now is a great time to physically be visible to your clients.

And some ways we recommend is what we’re doing today, this Zoom webinar. You can do Zoom meetings with your clients. You can do Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and video emails. And be in those videos. You personally are the brand for your company. So people want to see you even more than your product. They want to hear from you because it’s your expertise, it’s your strengths, it’s your passion for what you do that sells your product. And you are your brand. So go out there and share and be visible physically.

But the new marketing isn’t about selling. New marketing right now is about helping. And what you do for a living helps people. It might bring them joy. It might solve a problem. Maybe you have a product you’re selling that brings joy. So showcasing and sharing that product, if you can sell it now, or that service, is a way of helping people. And if you think of it like that, it gives you permission to market during COVID-19.

But before you go out and you start posting on Facebook and sending out email newsletters and doing Facebook Live webinars, I want you to think about your new buyer persona. A buyer persona is your client and how you identify them. For example, we have many clients because we’ve been in business for 24 years. So we have clients who are B2B. And senior living is a big client base for us. Tourism is a big client base for us. In the tourism sector, we have restaurants as clients. And whenever I write an email or a social media post for restaurants, I think of one specific client. And that is my buyer persona. And that way, when I’m talking to them, it’s my real voice talking to that person directly.

So I choose Sully. I don’t know how many of you know Sully from Longfellows. But he owns Longfellows and Olde Bryan Inn. And I think about him when I write these posts. But now when I think about him, he’s a new buyer persona because he’s no longer just Sully, the restaurant owner, doing business as usual. He is scrambling. He is racing. He’s trying to figure out how to do takeout. He is so busy he can’t answer the phones right now. So I can’t call him. That’s not the appropriate thing to do. So when you think about it, I would like you to think about, what is the position your client base is in right now? And how can you help them? So you need to speak to that customer directly with what is relevant to them. Don’t ignore the fact that we are in COVID-19 in your communications. Speak directly to it.

Here’s an example in tourism since we know about 75 people on the call who are in tourism. Puerto Rico has a campaign that says Visit Puerto Rico virtually. Stay home. We don’t really want you here yet. But we do want you when this is all over. And they’ve done a great job of sharing their culture by doing cooking classes on Instagram Live and cocktail mixing classes on Instagram Live and dance, salsa lessons. And that really engages their customer so that they can still get excited about coming when the time is right. And for those that don’t want to come yet, they’re going to really start getting interested in Puerto Rico. So even though they aren’t really open for business and people aren’t traveling to Puerto Rico, you’re telling people, we want you later. And they’re staying visible. And they’re staying vocal. And they’re going live. And that’s what I want you guys to do. Be helpful.

So when I think about Sully, I think about, there’s really not a lot I can do for him right now. So we talked about it as a company. And we really wanted to give a big push for takeout and tell everybody about takeout. So we gave all of our employees, for the last three weeks, a stipend every week to go out to a restaurant, promote it on their own social media accounts, promote it on Mannix Marketing media accounts, and promote it on, say, saratoga.com or lakegeorge.com or our Glens Falls Community Helps or Saratoga Community Helps Facebook pages. And so our employees went out and took pictures of the food they were getting and took pictures of the takeout and shared it to let everybody know that these restaurants are doing takeout now. And that was the way we can help.

Is it selling? No. We’re not making any money off that. But it is marketing. It is helping our clients so that they can be successful and work with us in the future.

So how can you help your client? Here’s another example. Lanette Akerson from Plant Doctor, she’s an interior plant designer, and she does maintenance. So she goes into corporate offices and puts the plants in all the right places and takes into consideration the traffic and maintains them every week. But all of her corporate offices are closed, so she can’t do her job. So she sent home all the business owners with their plants with instructions on how to care for those. And hopefully they won’t die in the meantime. But then she called me up and said, I want to start a blog for gardening. I said, gardening? You don’t do consumers. You’re not really for the everyday person. She said, no, but my business owners want to start gardens. And I want to help them learn how to do it so they can do this with their kids while they’re home. And that’s, like, the true essence of marketing and being in business, is about helping. And she’s going to get a lot of mileage from really caring about them. And I think that’s what it’s all about.

This is our client State Tel. Mark Evans is the president of State Tel. And they do fast internet. And they went to the schools in their district and offered free internet for all of the students in their region so that they could do remote learning. And it’s smart business. These people are going to get used to fast internet. months, when school’s over, they might stay on. And he’s going to grow a lot. So what can you do to be helpful now that may benefit your business in the future? Again, be human. Your face is the face of your business.

And one of the things I like about Morgan & Company is that Rebecca always takes pictures of herself with her food. And they get much more engagement because people want to see her. So don’t just show your product. Don’t just talk about your product, but be in your social media posts, in your Facebook Lives and your Facebook stories and in your blogs and all your photos.

And lastly, this is definitely a time to recognize and not be afraid to address head-on what is happening with COVID-19 and alleviate your customers’ fears. Every customer has a different concern. And so you have to think about, what is my customer’s concern and how can I address that specific concern? For the hotel industry, Tom Wysocki and Sam Luciano are the brainchilds behind Fort William Henry. And immediately, literally the day after this really exploded, Sam called me up and said, I want to get a safety statement on my site right away to let everybody know how we are handling the cleaning and the sanitization of Fort William Henry. We had a big company meeting. And we decided we’re following all these protocols. And we want to get that out there. And then the next day he said, we’ve also changed our cancellation policy so that people can cancel up to two days before. And so that way we can send out emails to everyone and tell them, book ahead. No problem. You can cancel anytime up to two days before you arrive. That’s their way of alleviating their customers’ fears.

So think about your customers. What are they concerned about? How can you address that head-on and be helpful?

I’m going to pass the ball over to Chris.

Good morning. I’m Chris Archibee. And I’m a senior marketing strategist at Mannix Marketing. I’ve been on the team here for almost 19 years. And it’s my job to work with existing and potential clients to plan their website architecture and graphic design and marketing messaging.

I’ve got a couple of tips I want to share with the group today. The first one is try to break out of your comfort zone and try something new. People are really craving connection right now. And Sara touched on this while she was talking. If you’ve historically focused on Facebook, don’t stop. But if you haven’t tried Instagram, maybe it’s time to try to create your Instagram presence for you and your company, especially if your product or services are a visual one. Or even if they’re not, you could be the new persona of your product or service by putting yourself out there. Instagram and Facebook stories, even if you’re already on Instagram or Facebook but you haven’t tried stories yet, it’s a cool tool to get out there and post warm, funny, quipy videos or commentary or photos that only stay up for a day. So you can really kind of take some chances and put things out there and see how people react to those. I have several Instagram followers who I’ve noticed don’t post anything on their Instagram photos anymore. They don’t post anything other than stories. So it seems like there might be a shift happening there. So embrace stories, and take advantage of them.

If you’re really going after a younger market, even try TikTok. That’s a great tool to get out there and put fun– don’t be afraid to be goofy. Put some stuff out there. Take a shot. I know it’s scary. But people will really respond to it. Give it a shot.

If you’re a retail business, try Pinterest. If you’re not putting pictures of your photos on Pinterest, that’s a no-brainer because you put your photos out there, and other people find them. And they put them on their boards. And they share with their friends. Let them do the work for you. So put your pictures out there.

Especially for B2B people, LinkedIn is a great place to be out promoting yourself right now. Post articles on LinkedIn to grow your network. What a great way to share your stories with your clients or your colleagues in your industry. Any way to share your experience could help someone else. And it never hurts to grow your network. So give it a shot. Try something new.

Now, there’s a complete flip side to that coin, too. I’m going to throw it in reverse and also recommend, don’t be afraid to be a little old-fashioned. Write a letter or send an email with no other purpose but to encourage the person on the other end to stay strong and do their thing. I recently received two notes from clients in the mail. And they had nothing to do with business. They were just asking how I am and how Mannix Marketing is and if everything’s A-OK and wishing us all well. And I’ll never forget those notes. It really hit me. So I recommend that. Be old-fashioned. People need to hear from you now. Don’t be afraid to do it in an old-school way. Pick up the phone and call people. A lot of us don’t do that anymore. We just text everything, or email. People like to hear voices at this time. So I promise doing any one of these things will make you feel good, too. So everybody wins in the end.

And if any of you know me, you knew this was coming. I want to encourage you all to take a look at your own website. How long has it been since you’ve done that? I hear it from clients all the time, that my website’s the one website I never look at. So if you have some downtime right now, it’s time to do that. Look at every page. Read every word. Look at every photo. And make sure that you are putting out the image and the message that you want to portray to your clientele. And if you need to make some changes, if you can’t do it yourself, call your webmaster. If that’s me, call me. And I’ll help you strategize how to make changes to the site. Look at your analytics on your website. Get in there to see what pages are people looking at the most. And are those pages saying what you want them to say? Or what pages are people bouncing the most? If they’re coming in and there’s one page on your website where people are consistently leaving you and going somewhere else, there’s a problem on that page. So review it and see what’s going on with it. And again, if you want me to help you with that, call me. I can help you look at some things and see what the numbers are. And we can help strategize. But it’s a great time to just hold the mirror up and see how things look. How does your site work on a mobile phone? Try it out for yourself. And make sure that that experience, you can navigate through all the pages and everything looks OK. Maybe a blog would be useful on your website. If you don’t have a blog now but you need some way to post very time-sensitive announcements or news or new information on your site, a blog would be an easy way to allow you to do that. So just think about those things. Take a look at the websites. Again, see if you like what you see when you take a look through. And if you need help, you can call me for that, too.

So those are my tips. I think my colleague Jennifer Manz has some things she wants to talk to you about, too.

Hey, everybody. So Chris kind of gave me a layup with blogging. But I have a couple of tips to share, as well. I’ve been at Mannix Marketing for quite a few years now.

And actually, my first tip is something that I learned almost the very first day that I got to Mannix Marketing. And it was, Sara came to say, content is king online. Content is king with SEO. And the same holds true today. It actually is probably even more necessary to think about your content that you’re producing if you’re producing it. Some of us have a little bit more time on our hands. We have a little bit more downtime. So it’s a really good opportunity to think about building a content calendar. We’re going to get really busy in a couple of months when this is all over. So let’s really try to think about the content that we can be producing for the future. And not only that, let’s look at the content that we’re producing now. And to Sara and Chris’ point that kind of touched on this, too, let’s be helpful.

It was really relevant for Sara to post about 10 ways to help a restaurant out right now. So this isn’t just great for marketing companies, but it’s also great for business to business. We actually have a client that’s in manufacturing. We wrote a blog post for them. And that one blog post actually landed a $150,000 sale for that client. So it might not feel like you’re always getting your messaging out, but it really does work. It’s really great for non-profits, too. I was trying to think of an example of what would be really relevant today for a non-profit. And it could be how someone can volunteer without being harmful. But thinking of the future, what could we be talking about that’s really relevant when this is all over? People are going to want to get outside. People are going to want to reconnect. People are going to want to help their communities again. So maybe giving some ideas of ways to help outside with growing gardening and that kind of volunteerism. So think about your non-profit and what would be really relevant for them today, too.

Next slide, please. Reputation management. Now is also a really good time to look at what your business looks like online. Do you have reviews for your business? A really good way to do this is just simply googling yourself, seeing what kind of websites come up that have reviews on them, looking at your Google My Business. Now is a perfect time to be asking your clients to review you because they want to help. They want to be supportive. And that’s a really super easy way for you to do that. This slide is actually– it’s called pleper.com It’s a really easy tool. You can put in your Google My Business link. And it pops out this magical link that you can send to your clients. And what it will do is it just makes it super easy when you email them. Say, hey, here’s the link. Can you review me? It’ll automatically pop up with your Google My Business Review section. And it’s super easy for them to do that. So we’re going to share this around at the end when we send the webinar around. But it’s a super easy tool. There’s also a short link within Google My Business that you can use. But you know, ask for reviews on Facebook. Ask for reviews on some of your organizational or association sites that have reviews. But really take a good, hard look at that.

Reputation management is also good for if you’re trying to reach a big consumer base. There are reputation management software that you can use to do more of an automated way of handling that. So you can send out mass texts that ask for reviews or emails that will just automate that for you so you can really generate those reviews a lot faster.

All right, and there are quite a few grants that are happening right now that you can take advantage of. Mailchimp has a grant that you can take advantage of if you are using their email marketing. There’s a small business relief initiative that Yelp partnered with GoFundMe to look at. And then, also, Facebook has a small business grant program that you can take a look at, too. It’s a little bit limited right now as far as what businesses can apply for it. But I believe that will be opening up. So definitely take a look at that. And we’ll send around those links, as well.

OK, and I am a huge, huge fan of Google My Business and Bing Places. I harp on this all the time. But it’s definitely the time to be looking at your Google My Business and Bing Places and making sure you’ve got them claimed. There’s a COVID-19 button right in Google My Business where you can update your hours. You can update if you’ve got delivery or takeout attributes that you should be adding to it. It’s totally free. You can update posts. You can update your images. You can reply to reviews. There’s questions and answers that you can put in there. It’s a bit limited right now. But it will be opening up. Google did actually restrict that during this time because of their employees. They were trying to actually have less work for them to do. But that will be opening up. So it’s definitely something that we see huge value in. It helps you get better placements on the Google Maps. We’ve seen it actually, when our businesses are updating this frequently, that they’re getting better positioning in Google search results, in their natural search results. And just having these listings will actually be better for the people actually clicking on your website within Google My Business itself. So it’s definitely something to be taking advantage of and making sure that you’ve got that up to date.

And then the last piece is something that I get asked quite a bit with our clients, even. Should I back out of paid search? Should I reinvest more in SEO? Should I be spending more with social media? And the answer is it totally depends. It depends on your business. It depends on what you can do. We’ve got a client right now that he sells Adirondack land. And he realized that by the end of this pandemic that we’re going to have a lot of people that are going to want to go out into the great outdoors and get out of the city. If they’ve been in their apartments this whole time in New York City, they’re going to be wanting to buy some land in the Adirondacks. So he, instead of backing out because people can’t come to him right now, he’s actually investing double the SEO.

Paid search, historically, CPC, cost per click, for social ads, for paid search ads, typically go way down because people are pulling their money out. So there’s less competition in there. So it might be a really opportune time to take advantage of those lower rates and the less noise in your particular industry. So it really depends. Let the analytics drive you, like Chris said. Either he or I would be happy to go over your Google Analytics, see where your positive ROI is and help make that decision for you and with you. And that’s all I got. So I’m going to pass the reins to Valleri James.

I’m not staying unmuted. I am Valleri James. I am the director of sales at Mannix Marketing. I have been with the company for over 12 years. My specialty is helping local businesses with their marketing and advertising.

So I’m going to jump in with some ideas for you. I’ve had a lot of our clients ask us what they should be doing to market their business right now and what they should be doing to get ready when the stay-at-home order has been lifted. So we thought you might be interested in hearing some of those things.

The first thing you need to do is define your messaging. Then you can share it with your clients. And then you can share it with your prospective clients. So knowing what you’re going to tell people– if you’re open, do you have new hours of operation? Is there something you’re doing differently? We all know restaurants are doing takeout. And that’s really different for them. So they have to figure out how to navigate that.

As in my example, are you taking online appointments for your business? Are you doing any online classes? Have you started offering virtual tours of your attraction? If you are a retail business, are you doing online sales with curbside pickup? If you’re a lodging property, do you now have a new cancellation policy? Are you putting out any incentives for people to maybe even visit all the way into the fall and really looking ahead for what you’re doing? I can assure you people are definitely looking for deals right now. So that would be good. If you’re not open, it doesn’t mean you should stop. You still need a plan for what you’re going to do in the future. And you should do things now, as Sara said. People still need your advice. They still want to know what your products are. They still want to know what your services are. So don’t stop marketing. Just make sure you have a plan.

I do have one tip. If you are doing new things, make sure you have taken photos of your new products and services. Once you have all that figured out, update your information on your website, your social media. And as Jen said, make sure you get your Google business hours updated, as well, if you’re open.

Right now people are spending more time than ever on social media. And they’re actually reading all their emails. So you do want to use email marketing to reach your customers. It’s very affordable. It’s really easy to do. And if you’re not currently doing email marketing, this is a really good time to get it set up because people are going to be vying for everybody’s business when this is over. So if you can have a head start and have a good email list, you’ll get a head start on marketing to people.

The example that I have here was American Airlines. They sent me an email telling me to have peace of mind. I can book my travel now if I want to go visit my mom later in the summer. And if I have to cancel, it’s no big deal. And they’re also sending me some pictures to entice me and make me daydream about that really nice vacation I’d like to be going on. So don’t think people don’t need you for the future.

I’m going to talk about using your social media. Sara talked a lot about being helpful and things like that. I’m going to talk to you about a little bit more of the mechanics. Make sure you’re telling people your hours and if you’re open and telling them what you have to offer. I mean, I specifically speak to restaurants right now in that there’s a lot of restaurants that are open that haven’t posted anything for two or three weeks. So people think they’re closed. I would suggest if you’re on Facebook that you do a pinned post with your hours and your menu. And if that changes, you just replace it with a new pinned post so that people can see if you’re open. There’s a lot of chambers and business organizations that are also wanting to be supportive and share your information. And if they don’t see something that’s current, they’re not going to share it.

Let people know how COVID has changed your business. Do you have a new safety plan in place? Do you have teleclasses or something like that that you want to open? And if you’re open or not, you still need to be sharing things and letting people know about your product or service. People are dreaming, and they are planning. So there is no reason to stop what you’re doing. You can do behind-the-scenes photos of what you’re doing now to prepare for the future. Or if you’re open, just behind-the-scene photos of what you’re doing. Jenny told you to create content. That’s a great thing to throw out there on your social media, anything that talks about what you’re doing. You can share photos that evoke nostalgia. So if you’re a lodging property, maybe some people that had visited you before or beautiful scenery of the location that you’re in– Lake George sunsets, things like that, hiking in the Adirondacks. Ask other people to share their memories with you. Get them dreaming about what they want to do in the future. Say you have a home improvement business that you can’t do anything. People want to build a pool or put in landscaping. Have them share pictures with you of what their dream home looks like or their dream backyard looks like. You can do throwback posts.

And you could also go live. As Sara said, people want to make that face-to-face connection. Go live. Tell your customers that you miss them. Tell them that you can’t wait to be able to service them again. Or tell them what you can do for them now or in the future. So get out there and make that face-to-face connection. This example of Palette is where they took their normal events that they have in the cafe every night, and they brought as many of them as they can online so they can still have that face-to-face connection with their guests.

I want you to build your email marketing list now. You want to have the biggest and the best email marketing list possible so that when that stay-at-home order is lifted, you can hit the ground running. We have a killer giveaway program that we use to help people build their email list. But I know there’s a lot of other companies that do them, as well. I’m going to talk to you specifically about ours, but others would probably do very similar things for you.

When we do a giveaway, we do all the work for you. We set it up. We promote it in our newsletters. And we do it on our social media. The example you’re seeing here is a giveaway that we currently have running on lakegeorge.com. It is Elms Cottages doing two different two-night giveaways. It is doing so well. I can’t tell you how well giveaways are doing right now. It’s not even been alive a week, and he already has 500 email addresses to market to. He’ll be able to use this when the stay-at-home order is lifted. So he can get his specials out and invite people to come and show off how peaceful his property is. But he can use it again in the fall to get some fall getaways. So there’s a lot of different ways you can use that e-list. But I suggest that you start building that up now and have that planned.

So now I’m going to talk to you a little bit more about marketing opportunities with the Mannix Marketing portals. But again, there are other industry websites and local websites that have very similar opportunities. So I’m going to talk about our sites from Albany to the Adirondacks. We’ve had these sites for many, many years and have built up quite a local following and also a following of people looking to visit the area. Millions of people visit our sites each year. Hundreds of thousands follow us on social media. And tens of thousands subscribe to our newsletter. So we have a pretty good reach.

I’d like you to think about using our social media or other influencers’ social media to your advantage. We are considered influencers in the market. So you can have us promote that you’re open now, what you’re offering, what your specials are. We can work with you on giveaways. We can work with you to do things that evoke the feeling of getting people to come visit you when the time is right. Let us do the work and tell people what you’re offering, especially if it’s something new.

This example is Cookies To Decorate. She decided that there was a whole bunch of kids at home. And parents needed things for them to do. So she wanted to try to figure out how to capitalize on that. So she did posts on albany.com, cliftonpark.com, and saratoga.com for these cookie kits that she decorated. I have talked to her twice since she did these. And she said business is absolutely booming. She has never, ever done so well with the kits. In fact, she actually had to stop taking orders for a while because she couldn’t produce them fast enough. So if you’ve got something new or exciting that you’re doing, this is a great way to get the word out.

We also have great email marketing lists. We have built a following of over 75,000 subscribers for people who love the area, whether they live here or they’re visiting here. So we can send emails out to them on your behalf. This example that you’re seeing now is Ellms Farm. We did a post for them on when they were opening last fall. And we were able to also include an incentive coupon for that because they don’t typically have a really huge opening weekend because it’s earlier in the season. So we announced when they’re opening and offered an incentive for that. We also do some group emails. The next example is a lodging email. We get lodging deals or talk about lodging in specific locations. So it’s another great way to utilize our list to promote your business. So you know, we might do one with private beaches or things that are located off the beaten path in the Adirondacks. So there’s a lot of different ways you can use someone else’s email list to promote your business.

As Jenny said earlier, content is king. So it’s really great if you don’t have to write it yourself. And it’s really awesome if somebody else gets to brag about you. So you could work with us to do a content piece. We do a whole package around it where we work with you to write the article. We then promote it on our home page, in our newsletters, and on our social media. And the great thing is it lives on our site forever, so it’s good for your SEO.

The example you’re seeing here is Trout House Village. We worked with them last year, actually, on four seasonal pieces on why you would visit them in each season. This particular one is for the fall season. They wanted to have people get romantic getaways. So we described what you could do when you were there and showcased it with some beautiful photos of their property. So most of you know about display ads. And they act like online billboards to keep your business top of mind. That works great for whether you’re not in business right now or if you are in business right now. If you’re not in business and not open right now, you need to keep your business top of mind so that when people are ready, they will be able to call you. There’s a whole bunch of people looking at home landscaping projects and buying new houses and getting a new car and all kinds of stuff. So keep them dreaming. But also, in this example, takeout is a big thing right now. So everybody’s looking to see who’s open, what they’re offering, who has a family meal deal. So why not have your business displayed right next to all that information to keep your restaurant top of mind for people who are ordering? So that’s a good example on how to use that piece.

My last advertising and marketing tip is to be listed. If you’re not already listed on one of our sites where locals are looking for things to do, do that. But also look at industry websites, publications, other local websites that cater to your audience. And make sure that you’re out there and visible so that when people are trying to find businesses like yours, you are easy to find. And you’re going to get a lot of results when people can easily find you.

And lastly, I just want to say again and reiterate what Sara said at the beginning, we are here to help you. Every one of us loves talking about marketing. We love brainstorming new ideas. At least that’s one of my favorite things to do, is talk with my clients and try to come up with new ideas or talk to prospects and come up with new ideas of how to make what you’re doing now work for you. So please take down our numbers and email addresses. And don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us if you need some help. And thank you.

All right, well, I just want to say thank you to everybody who joined us today. I see in the Q&A, we’ve got some really interesting questions and things going on– phone calls, reaching out to your customers.

Jenny, you asked on the luxury brand, what would I do if I were you? I think it’s that personal. So Jenny [INAUDIBLE] is from Zobel Kitchens. And they do luxury kitchens. And she said, what would you do to engage the luxury buyer who is not looking to spend now and might not be for a long time? They’re already active on their social media platforms, so they have that covered. And we’ve emailed prospects and customers about projects in place. I would send out tips on how to make your kitchens beautiful. And keep emailing. And keep sending out to that prospect list. And I think that personal touch, because birds of a feather flock together. Reaching out to past clients and thanking them for being clients and asking them how their kitchens are and things like that, because people will talk. And people refer people. And now is just a great time to be in touch with those people. Does anybody else have anything to add for Jenny? Just keep posting pictures of your work, I think, Jenny. You want to stay top of mind so when they are ready, you’ll be the first person they think about calling when that time comes. So just keep putting out as many great pictures of your kitchens as you can. And I know that’s pretty easy to do. Yeah.

CHRIS ARCHIBEE: Your work’s pretty good. Yeah, upgrade. Look at every inch of your website. How can I make those calls to action stronger? Call to action is, do you want them to call you? Do you want them to email you? Do you want them to chat with you on your website? Now that you have time, maybe try a live chat on your site so people who aren’t really ready and just want to ask a few questions can kind of dip their toe in. But just be as accessible as possible. And definitely take advantage of every option on social media for you. Especially, I mean, if you haven’t built a huge Pinterest board and really become active there, that would be good. So I don’t know. Does anybody else have anything for that? Nope, we’re good.

I love that Maddie chimed in that she’s been doing phone calls. She’s encouraging clients to call her. And people seem to refuse to call. But email, DM message act, that’s what people want to do. They like that typing in. That live chat is really, really helpful for a lot of businesses. Maybe doing a virtual tour.

Jenny– back to you– of your place now that it’s empty. And you’ve got this beautiful showroom that you can go in and do just a virtual tour of our showroom. Things like that could be a lot of fun.

Sara, speaking of that, that might be a cool idea for Maddie and Mayor, too, just to get your faces out there. If you want people to call you but they’re not calling, then for some reason they just don’t feel comfortable enough. And you got to feel like they’re friends. So maybe some stories or some video content to make yourselves feel so approachable that they’ll want to call you. So there’s some options out there.

Yeah, yeah. Justin asked, is now a good time to ask for reviews? And it is true that Google suspended reviews during COVID-19. But they are now starting to slowly roll that back. So let us give you a definitive answer on Friday because there’s a little bit of bobbling. Yesterday it was, yes, we can start doing reviews now. And I want to just confirm with the community and make sure that now is a good time to ask for reviews. It’s a rollout. So some clients you can review, and other clients you can’t. So it’s one of those gradual rollouts where it’s going to hit some people and some others not. There is a link that we can probably share with you guys that has some of the COVID-19 limitations, too, for Google My Business that I can send when we send out the webinar, too.

Jenny asks, I got an email to say update our hours. And when I researched Google My Business, I found out that changing our hours to being closed by COVID-19 won’t hurt rankings. I did that, and I’m having a hard time determining if it has hurt our rankings or not. Is there a way to check accurately? Should I put our regular hours back up knowing that folks understand businesses are really shut down? What is your advice there, Jenny? I would say keep your hours updated as they are. I would not say it would hurt rankings. If anything, if you did have your hours wrong and someone flagged it as them being wrong, then that would actually hurt you. So I would definitely say to make sure that that information is accurate and not worry about it hurting rankings. OK.

Kelly asks, what data do we have for webinars? And what content is working? What time of day is best? And keys to successful webinars. Well, we are not experts at this. very first webinar. So we just picked a random time that worked for us. And we hope it works for you. And we’ll have to Google that answer and get you a better response, maybe, in our follow-up email. So let’s see. What are your thoughts on drone footage? I’ve seen this be very successful for the real estate industry. I love drone footage when it’s well done and when it’s not too high. Personally, I think sometimes people think that everybody wants to see their whole property from way up high. And drone footage can be, really, really, a great way to visually showcase a physical property. And don’t make it look like it’s from a helicopter. Rather, use the drone in a clever way. Look at what’s legal, if you can do drone where you are. But I think any video, any photography improvements that you can add are fantastic. When you’re adding it to your website, be very careful to make it ADA compliant. If there’s a voiceover or even if there’s no voiceover, send it out to get made ADA compliant so it’s accessible to the blind or the hearing impaired, which means it would have video descriptions if somebody was blind. And if they’re hearing impaired and there was words, it would be very well-captioned– not YouTubed captioned, but well-captioned. But now is a great time to get photography if the buildings are free. For landscapers, now might be a good time where somebody could go out and take pictures of some of the landscaping you’ve done. Well, it’s not a great time in upstate New York. But we have people here from all over the country. So those in the southern states, those landscapers, now’s a good time. I tried to boost a post on Facebook and received a message that it would be delayed. Is this still worth boosting? I think I’d have to see the post to see why. Jenny, do you have any suggestions or thoughts? I’m in the same boat. I think I’d have to see what the post is. We haven’t had any delays with our boosted posts, so I’m curious. So I’d really want to take a look at that. I have some information on that. Facebook is really busy, believe it or not. So they are just delaying them because it’s taking longer, and they have less employees in the office. So it’s nothing to do with your post in particular. It is more to do with their employee count. So I’ve done quite a few boosted posts. And it is taking a slightly longer amount of time. But it’s not anything that I’ve found to be significant. So unless you’re boosting something that you need seen that particular day, I would still boost your post.

How often do you think we should touch base with our clients during this time? It really depends on your business and how you’re touching base. You don’t want to be interruptive. There is a lot of stress. So one phone call to check in is welcome. Probably two or three is not. And really, you have to know your client and what they want. But I would say stay visible through email and Facebook and social. There’s a lot of noise out there. And you’d be surprised how often you can post and not be overwhelming to your clients and especially if your posts are helpful and fun and your communication is helpful and fun and you use different forms. Go back to the old-fashioned and send that card. I think Impressions of Saratoga said they sent out over 100 cards at one point. Just handwritten notes, it just says we really care about you. We really care about this. So I think it really depends on the kinds of touch points you’re doing. Just be real, and be you, and be empathetic. And just be who you are, and do what’s true to you and what you feel is right between you and that specific client.

Do you have any good tips for best positioning your business for reopening? How can we best combat that unknown with our customers? I wish I knew what your business was, Pam. But it really depends on your business. I think what we have seen is contesting is so hot right now. So if you have anything you can do as a contest to gain emails, whether you’re doing a photo contest that could go viral on social or you’re working with your industry to do a contest and push that out, that’s a great way to get emails for new prospects that you can remarket to. You can retarget them on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on any kind of social. You can email them later. That is a great way to be ready to really push forward and reach new clients. And of course, you know how to get your clients when you’re reopening. We’re recommending, and we’re setting up right now, email newsletters that are going to go out. We usually only do a couple e-newsletters a month. We’re looking at two a week for our tourism clients. Once this opens up and we are really inviting people back to the area, we’re looking at twice-a-week emails. And we’re preparing them now. We’re setting them up in Mailchimp, getting them ready to go because once things change, we’re not going to have a lot of time to do marketing. So now is a great time to plan that marketing and get ahead of the curve.

OK, we have even more questions. And we said this would be 45 minutes. And this is 49. But I’ll just look at the last question here. Even though there’s so much unknown for seasonal openings, we’re supposed to open in June. Do you still recommend keeping positive that you’re opening as planned? Doreen, yes, that is a tough question. I don’t know that we can really answer that question as when we’re opening. But Doreen runs Wiawaka in Lake George, which is a resort for women. And I think Warren County has tried to shut down Lake George, so no one can book rooms. But they don’t have that authority. And lodging properties are open. And that’s a big controversy because some say it’s good to get people down here now and spread the virus a little bit so that it slowly dissipates to the rural areas. And a lot of people, of course, are very concerned. I think you just have to wait and see where things go politically and with the climate and what you feel is the right thing to do and when is the right time to open and when is the right time to be positive. Right now I would do more dreaming and showcasing and wish you were here. You have a beautiful place on the water. Every morning I would probably get up at sunrise and put my iPhone right at the lapping water and do a Facebook Live every morning and just say, I wish you were here. Can’t wait for you to come this summer. And when you know it’s going to be a beautiful sunset because it’s clear, get out there and do sunset lives. And just keep telling people, we can’t wait till you come back. We can’t wait to see you. But I wouldn’t say a specific day until you’re absolutely sure you want them coming. But I’d be ready with all your email campaigns to say, we’re open, and this first week is a deal. rules for staying and staying healthy and all of that. So that would be my advice to you.

I would just want to add onto that. For everyone, I think it’s a time to just be transparent. Everybody gets it. Every single person is in the same boat. Just be honest and transparent about where you are and what you think the future holds. And of course, no one wants to mislead anyone else. But everyone gets it. Just put it out there, I think.

Daniella asks, how do you feel about direct mail for nonprofits? Should they be asking for money at this time? How do you– –suggest to stay relevant– mute, sorry– and on message? I really think that for nonprofits what I would do is show how you’re helping more than anything at this time. I am not an expert at direct mail and when is the best time. But I would say really show what you are doing during this time and be as active as possible and put all your energy into sharing how you’re helping. And people will naturally want to donate. And they’re online right now. So I do believe a better use of your spend would not be on the cost of a direct mail but with online programs because everyone is on social like never before. And it’s a very strong way. But I am not an expert. It’s all about testing– testing a little bit of direct mail versus an online campaign and seeing what’s working better. But with so many people suffering right now, I would focus more on showing how you’re helping. And people will actually want to help you back. Does anybody else have anything to add?

All right. Well, we thank you all. If any other questions came in that we didn’t answer, we’ll answer them in our email. And we’re just so grateful that you joined us today. And we hope you got something out of this that you can take away and can make your business more successful. So have a great day. CHRIS ARCHIBEE: Thank you. And we’ll do more of these and hope you’ll join us again. Bye, everyone. Thank you. CHRIS ARCHIBEE: Bye. SARA MANNIX: Bye.

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix is the CEO of Mannix Marketing, Inc., a Digital Marketing Agency headquartered in Glens Falls, NY. She founded Mannix Marketing in 1996 with a goal to get clients "found" on the web through organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of nearly 30 specialists, still operating under the tagline "We Get You Found On The Web." This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization, SEO-friendly Website Design, Online Advertising, Social Media and more. Mannix Marketing also has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, which include Albany.com, Saratoga.com, LakeGeorge.com, GlensFallsRegion.com, CliftonPark.com and Adirondack.net, reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions more on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and more.