In today’s world, the happy photos of puppies and memes we usually see fill our social media feeds are commonly replaced by heart-wrenching tales from all our favorite local businesses about how they’ve been negatively affected by the pandemic and need our support to survive.
Let’s be real: COVID-19 has been hard on all of us.
In fact, 80 percent of businesses reported that they’re concerned about financial hardships due to prolonged closures, and more than half said they might need to close permanently if things don’t improve.
Data from a recent Yelp study shows that 60 percent of business closures due to COVID are now permanent. The areas that show the most closures are restaurants, bars, nightlife venues, clothing stores, and home-decor businesses, whereas professional services like contractors and lawyers report lower rates of closure.
These numbers are simply too high to be taken lightly — but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
What We’ve Learned
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, our team at OpticTour has helped tons of businesses understand the power of marketing in a changing world, and we’ve found that it’s absolutely vital for them to do what they can to keep their brand top of mind.
The biggest takeaway?
Those who have spent the necessary funds to put their name out there by advertising on Yelp, Facebook, and using other digital marketing tactics have been able to stay open, provide their customers with what they need, and continue to increase their revenue in a world that’s got “business as normal” in a chokehold.
As a second wave looms ominously on the horizon, you might be thinking it’s better to save all the money you can by only spending on essentials that directly relate to your business — but generating brand awareness is the most essential thing you can do if you want to ride that wave to its completion.
Think about it this way: If you don’t spend the necessary funds to get your name out there, you’re going to be surpassed by those who did — or by those who already have brand awareness, like larger companies and chains.
Word of mouth is seemingly becoming more and more silent. We can’t walk around downtown areas and check out all those awesome new businesses like we used to. The organic ways people learn about your company are starting to change. Competition is up, too — compared to six months ago, nearly one in three small businesses report facing more competition from surrounding companies.
That’s why it’s increasingly important to spend the necessary time and money to effectively market your business — especially since one thing that’s gone up over the course of COVID has been the amount of time we spend scrolling through our phones.
For example, let’s take a look at what we did for one of our clients, Teriyaki Madness. After running a series of Yelp advertisements for them, they received more page visits than they ever had before — in the middle of a pandemic, no less.
Once we started running the ads, from August to October, the owner reported a 166 percent increase in user views and 161 percent more customer leads than he did from the 7-month span of January to July — where he didn’t run any ads at all.
So yes, you need to spend money to make money. Perhaps now more than ever.
But while it all starts with you, you don’t have to figure things out all by yourself.
At OpticTour, we seek to guide our clients through any marketing endeavours they’re trying to undertake, building them a strong digital foundation and teaching them how to effectively share their products and services with the world, create authentic connections with their audience, and grow their company to new heights.
Whether you’re ready to run Yelp advertisements or still don’t even really know what they are, we’re here to guide you along the path of digital marketing and out through to the other end. We can run personalized advertisements, take care of all your social media and review platforms, shoot promotional videos, create a Google 360 tour to give people an authentic feel of your space — the possibilities are endless, and they’ll all serve to help you not only survive but grow your business for years to come.
Let us help you the way we’ve helped so many others. Whenever you’re ready, you can fill out this form to schedule your free audit.