There was a collective cheer of relief as the first re-opening dates were announced here in Ireland last week, even though not everybody knows exactly when they get to throw open the doors again we all know that it’s on the way.

We’ve been through unusual times so re-opening after what’s been months of closure for most businesses will be a lot different from a typical break such as over the festive season. So, in this week’s post, we’re going to do a checklist of what you need to look at now as you get to set to welcome back your customers whether that’s next week or a little further down the line.

And for this post there’s a video as well as a blog post so you can decide which one works best for you 🙂

Marketing Strategy – even the best of strategies or plans took more than a few detours over the past twelve months. If you have a strategy now would be a good time to review it in order to make the most of the remainder of this year. If you don’t have one now would be a good time to look at what you can do to ensure you take advantage of every opportunity possible.

Social Media – whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat or TikTok now’s the time to start sharing what’s new. Cover photos are great places to announced re-opening dates, posts are the place to announce plans for taking bookings or what’s new since you were last open for business. Depending on the business for many it will be a gradual build-up of activity online until the date arrives but start using those channels again sooner rather than just the day before you open – already I’m seeing activity on accounts that have been quiet for months.

Website – re-opening plans with dates or hours, details of arrangements to cater for covid such as capacity or whether all activities will be available. If you’ve changed a product line or updated your menu make sure that’s all in place now before you start to get busier as the re-opening date approaches. Review any products or services for sale on your site and if you’ve got a range that didn’t sell as well as it would have had you been trading as normal, a sale if it’s practical might be a convenient way of clearing stock while at the same time helping people to see what’s new.

Your Offering – most businesses will have to work around covid restrictions so whether that’s reduced seating for a restaurant, the fact you can’t offer a walk-in service for a hairdresser or a garage that can only facilitate a tyre change if you call in advance, now is the time to get the procedures in place and start communicating with your clients.

Google – if you’re on Google My Business (and you should be!) make sure to update your listing and ensure people can see you’re opening up again. Adjust the hours, share a couple of posts or photos/videos but put some life back into that profile so Google can see you mean business.

Paid ads – if you regularly advertise on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, or indeed any other platform start planning your campaign. As soon as booking is available would be a good time in most cases and you might increase spend as you get closer to the date. In some cases, you might run a lower-cost campaign to remind people of your business – remember you haven’t appeared on their feed for months. Don’t advertise too early though, keep your cash until people are ready to buy from you. If you advertise on radio or in print now would also be a good time to look at your options because there will be a scramble for space as everybody wants their share of the pent-up demand that’s out there.

Blog Posts – if you have the ability now would be a good time to start adding a few blog posts. Many of us will google phrases such as ‘re-opening date for restaurants’ – answer questions like this for your customers by getting that information on your site now.

Offline – posters, sandwich boards, or anything that might show the world you’re physically open again should be considered now. Along with this do a check for floor stickers, hand sanitisers, screens, signage, and give yourself plenty of time to organise as demand will increase dramatically in the weeks ahead for these products.

Local Marketing – flyers are a simple but effective way of delivering a message to the local community, ads on anything from the side of a building to a bus stop often don’t cost as much as you might expect either. If your business relies on footfall explore options now because amazing as social media and the online world is it’s not the only way you can communicate with your customers.

Email Marketing – if you’ve got a list and it’s been dormant for some time now this would be the time to announce that you’re re-opening on a specific date, start generating some interest. You might also offer people an incentive to book early where it’s an early booking discount if they’re confirmed with you by a certain date or the option to get in first if they’re a regular customer – this last one is a big hit with hair salons. Depending on how active your email marketing is there might be an opportunity to send several email campaigns e.g. announce the opening date, share what’s happening as the date approaches, celebrate the re-opening with a quick overview of what’s happening.

Your Team – some businesses are super are getting their team involved on their social media and where yours might have been home for some months now they’ll probably be all too excited to get the call to tell them you’re making plans. If they’re open to photos use them, even mention them by name. And, if you’re adding to the team now is the time to start advertising as the jobs ads are springing up everywhere over the past few days.

Behind The Scenes – have you brought in the painters or extended your dining area with some super new outdoor heaters? Maybe you’ve rearranged the layout of tables or tills, even how you display products for sale. Take photos as this happens, share a little of your re-opening story on your social media to whet the appetite of those customers who are looking forward to getting through your door.

There’s lots you can do to get set for re-opening your business and hopefully once final dates are available you’ll be so busy with the last minute organisation that you’ll be glad we reminded you what to think of now before you got to that stage.

If you’re in need of assistance in areas such as Marketing Strategy, Paid Ads, Social Media, Blogging, Local Marketing – or anything relating to raising the visibility of your business, get in touch with us at The Marketing Shop to schedule an initial call at this link which may then progress to a meeting to discuss the specifics related to your business.

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