(By Paul Weyland) Business owners are nervous. Some are panicking. Many are still in shock. After all, it’s only been a month or so since their world was upended. Many local business owners aren’t sure they’ll reopen. And, some are canceling their broadcast schedules because they don’t see the point in advertising at all right now.
We’ll get some of that business back as states relax some of the harsher rules imposed on them since the virus darkened our lives. But in the meantime, here are some of the things we should be telling local business owners as we emerge from a situation that no one has ever been through before.
- Consumers are still in shock as well. Local businesses could help soothe a still wary and nervous public by communicating precisely what they can do right now to make people’s lives safer, more convenient or more fun/luxurious. In other words, businesses must disrupt the viral disruption by sharing good talking points in language that consumers absolutely understand. Well-communicated commercials have one job. To convince a portion of the buying public beyond a shadow of a doubt that the client’s plan for their success is better than the consumer’s own plan. Left to their own plans hatched out of panic and chaos, who knows what consumers will do with their money?
- Tell small business owners, like the movie Meet the Parents made clear, consumers have “circles of trust.’ The first circle includes their close friends and relatives. The other circle contains those businesses that consumers already know and trust and still frequent, even though the business might have had big price increases over the years. Why do we keep these businesses in our “circle”? Because we think they’ve got our backs. Tell business owners that your stations could be their bully pulpits and that your job is to get their business into your listener’s/viewer’s “Circles of Trust” as quickly as humanly possible. That’s what we do. We help build long-term relationships between consumers and our advertisers by teaching them value. We’re uniquely suited for this job…even in a pandemic.
- Remind business owners that when they’re not communicating with our loyal listeners and viewers, even now in a crisis, that they’re allowing their competitors and perhaps false rumors to define their futures for them. Consumers have a lot on their minds right now. As a business, you must remind then frequently who you are, what you do, how to get in touch with you and most of all, specifically why you should matter to them right now. It’s a fact that many entrepreneurs know things and have things right now that would make people’s lives easier. Safer. More convenient. In fact, they may hold the key that would allow nervous, stressed consumers get a better night’s sleep. If, in a spot you could identify and solve a problem that has literally been keeping awake at night, that’s more of a Public Service Announcement than just another “commercial.”
As restrictions ease up, savvy local business owners have the opportunity to develop long-lasting relationships with our audiences. So that when it’s appropriate for them to spend money, they don’t have to go to Google or Amazon. They already know where they can get what they need locally. And they feel like they already know the business before they even walk in the door or call.
Paul Weyland can be reached at 512-236-1222 or visit paulweyland.com.