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Governor Pritzker recently released a plan to safely reopen the state of Illinois consisting of 5 steps. According to Governor Pritzker, Illinois is currently in the second phase of reopening. Although there wasn’t a specific date announced for Phase 3 to begin, it’s necessary for business owners, managers and employees to be prepared for what Phase 3 brings. During this phase, manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons will be allowed to reopen to the public. However, there will be capacity and other limits put in place as safety precautions. Gatherings of 10 people or less will be allowed during this phase.
This upcoming phase brings change, which means that businesses will need to make updates, especially those that will be reopening. It’s especially vital for these types of businesses to plan ahead and have a marketing strategy in place before Phase 3 begins, so that they are ready to easily and effectively share information with the general public.
We’ve put together a list of action items to help your business prepare your marketing efforts for Phase 3.
Update your website
Before Phase 3 begins, plan out the parts of your website that you’ll need to update. Make sure that all the information on your website is up-to-date. Most likely, when Phase 3 begins, your business hours and information about the products and services that you offer will change. Businesses and organizations might also want to add a message about operations, such as any health and safety measures being taken. For example, a salon might update its website with information about any mandatory health precautions, such as the requirement to wear a face covering when entering their shop. When people look for updates about your business, they will often check your website to answer their questions. People will be more likely to trust you when they see your efforts to keep them healthy and safe.
Check online listings
When someone looks up a company on a search engine, they see important information, like business hours, on the search engine results page. Most businesses show their hours of operation on their online listings so that people can see what time the business is open. It’s important that the information displayed on your business’s online listings is revised when Phase 3 begins. When you edit your online listings, consider adding any relevant updates, such as new store hours. A salon that is reopening may list new store hours on its online listings, as well as the days during the week that it is open. Your online listings can also provide a great place for your business to add a description of what you are doing to adjust to the new normal.
Revise digital ads
Due to the stay-at-home order, your business may have paused or changed your digital ad strategy. When Phase 3 begins, you’ll want to reevaluate your ads. First, assess the situation by looking at your past ad results. Then, you’ll want to start testing how people will react to ads in the new environment while also considering the past results as a baseline. A salon may want to first examine past ads, and then create a new ad campaign based off of those results. The new digital ad campaign could feature the safety precautions that the hairstylists are taking to make sure their clients stay safe and healthy during and after their appointments. Ads can share a strong message with an audience, so make sure your company’s ads are appropriate for the current state of affairs.
Adjust email campaigns
To prepare for Phase 3, you’ll want to start drafting content for upcoming emails, including any messages with information about how your business will be adjusting to it. The information you should communicate with people about your business over email should be beneficial and informative. Include facts like the reopening of store locations or how your business is helping keep people healthy and safe. If a salon plans to reopen, it could create an email campaign announcing which day it is reopening on. Emails can also contain information about what customers can expect from your business after Phase 2 has ended.
Edit social media calendar
During this time, many businesses have chosen to either pause their social media posts or change their content strategy. Now, with Phase 3 coming up, you’ll need to reexamine your social media calendar and make sure that the posts you have planned contain appropriate messaging. You may also want to create posts with information about updated hours, as well as respond to any messages. For instance, if a salon is planning to reopen, the social media manager should draft a post announcing the reopening date, hours of operation, and any other necessary information. Your social media accounts provide easy ways for people to access updated news about your business, in addition to giving you a convenient way to communicate with the public.
Adjusting to upcoming phases
Even though we are only in Phase 2 of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, it can still be beneficial to plan ahead for upcoming phases. After you’ve updated your marketing plan for Phase 3, look ahead to see how you can plan for Phases 4 and 5. Phase 4 allows larger gatherings of 50 people or less, along with the reopening of restaurants and bars. Travel will resume, and childcare and schools will reopen under guidance from the Illinois Department of Health. During Phase 5, the economy will be fully reopened with safety precautions continuing. Although it may seem like these phases are a long ways off, if you start planning your marketing efforts now, your business will be ready for the new normal.
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