Do you have an advertising re-entry plan post-pandemic? Businesses are reopening and expanding their options for customers, so it’s good to have new ideas and messaging for your clients.
The competition among businesses to reach consumers with re-entry campaigns is fierce in most industries. Restaurants, car dealerships and hotels are just a few examples of companies that took a hit during the pandemic. Advertisers across all industries are racing to regain sales in the coming months. While attempting to re-enter the marketplace and connect with customers, advertisers should consider messaging that includes four key components:
- We are open and able to meet your needs.
- We are complying with COVID-19 guidelines.
- We hold a competitive advantage over the competition.
- We are offering deals.
We Are Open and Able to Meet Your Needs
Use various wide-reach tactics to alert consumers that a business is open, reopening or expanding options. Scaling back on advertising was the norm for some time, but these businesses now need to attract customers.
To reinforce critical messages that a business is open and operating in a more normalized capacity, you should consider offering bundled ad packages of radio and digital ads. Both radio and online content consumption actually rose in 2020. Consumers are reachable in these channels, and advertisers should act.
When pairing radio with digital advertising, sales teams and advertisers should predict where the campaign will be most effective in reaching people.
Remember that despite the easing of social interaction mandates, most consumers still spend more time at home. Here are a few digital ad tactics that, when combined with radio, get the “open for business” message across to consumers:
- Targeted display: Banner ads can serve as a reminder to new and existing customers. You can target people based on online behavior, demographics and location. A well-designed display ad can reinforce messaging heard on the radio by relaying it in the creative and having an easy-to-digest landing page.
- Video and Over-the-Top (OTT): Both free and subscription video witnessed increased consumption during the pandemic. Advertisers would be wise to take advantage of a captive audience. Show people the new cars at the local dealership available to test drive or the homes ready to be toured with a real estate agent. Present to them the inside of a local restaurant with people walking through the door.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Consumers will predictably turn to search to get information on nearby businesses. As more operate in a fuller capacity, the demand will increase and lead consumers to SEM ads.
- Geofencing: Continue to target people in their neighborhoods while incorporating locations where qualified customers will increasingly spend more time as the social climate slowly returns to normal.
Consult with advertisers on various ad tactics. It’s still an uncertain time for advertisers with little to no experience of emerging from an economic crisis. The more knowledgeable a salesperson is about available ad tactics, the more an advertiser will trust him or her to help their business forge ahead.
We Are Complying with COVID-19 Guidelines
An essential component to an advertising re-entry plan is letting consumers know the location is sanitary and safe. Consumers will be wary of where they go and what they encounter, so it’s important to convey a message of safety.
Brand reputation is vital to long-term success as the country wades through the recovery period. If a business doesn’t appear to be taking the virus seriously, it may turn consumers off, and a permanent dip in revenue could follow. Sales professionals should recommend that campaigns stress the business’ adoption of new cleaning habits to ensure that the storefront and point-of-sale systems are hygienic and that consumers are safe.
Sales teams should work with advertisers to create radio and digital campaigns that show and tell people that safety is a top priority. Incorporate visual advertising tactics like video and OTT into ad campaigns. Give consumers a first-hand look at the freshly sanitized kitchens at local restaurants or the steps taken at retail outlets to ensure door handles and surfaces are clean. Compliance with public health guidelines is now a major part of customer service and should be part of marketing efforts.
We Hold a Competitive Advantage Over the Competition
Remind new and existing customers why they should choose to give their business to a specific advertiser. Price is certainly on consumers’ minds, but it isn’t necessarily the most critical factor when deciding where to spend money.
Like the pre-COVID-19 business climate, the quality of goods and unique offerings and services can be the biggest sales triggers for consumers. The messaging incorporated into an advertising campaign should directly hit on these selling points.
Advertisers need to continue to remind people why they should buy from them and not the competition. For example, you may have a client that installs hardwood flooring. While other businesses in town offer this, they can’t match the selection, quality and lifetime guarantee that this particular advertiser can. This messaging was the foundation for businesses trying to attract customers before the virus. It will continue to be critical.
The advertising climate is certainly different in the age of COVID-19. However, consumers are still looking for products and services with increased value. Merging a message that maps out an advertiser’s competitive advantage while remaining sympathetic to consumer hardships is a winning combination. Using one without the other can endanger an advertising campaign in the current social climate. Consumers hope to hear and see both messages when deciding where to shop.
Visual elements are necessary for an advertiser to include in a campaign when relaying their competitive advantage. Use video advertising to let consumers see and hear about the one place in town where the highest-quality meat and seafood is available. Show people through OTT that the store with the best selection of trees, shrubs and flowers for spring and summer gardening is open and just a short drive away. Let customers know through display advertising that same-day service on air conditioning units is available from the company with over 50 years of experience, with minimal contact.
Advertisers should continue to reinforce their value proposition and unique selling proposition (USP).
We Are Offering Deals
The pent-up demand for consumers to go out and shop for items is prevalent. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t be looking for great deals. Consumers know advertisers need their business right now. This urgency makes it vital for advertisers to tell customers about any price incentives available.
Here are some ideas:
- Email marketing and SMS mobile messaging are easy ways for an advertiser to offer coupons for immediate use. Promote the deal on the airwaves, and then deliver the discount to people who opted in to receive digital offers.
- Targeted display ads can promote brand awareness or even an immediate online sale, so include messaging directing people to act right now.
- Examples include:
- Book a vacation package within 72 hours at a beautiful five-star resort with a target date of next year and no blackout dates, and take a guest along for free.
- Sign up for a fully refundable gym membership with the most experienced personal trainers in the area, and get the first three months free.
- Examples include:
- Video and OTT can visually show consumers shelves at the local specialty grocery store stocked with in-demand organic products. Let consumers see that buying a vehicle is still hassle-free at the local dealership with online purchasing, and back that up with a 0% financing deal. Couple the sales message with visual confirmation that shows customers a friendly staff, working in a sanitary space, waiting to greet them.
- Geofencing can help advertisers target people in neighborhoods. For many businesses, it’s imperative to convince people to leave their homes and visit a storefront to make a purchase. Work with advertisers to use geofencing with display and video to showcase that the same great service consumers remember is back and better than ever.
Put the Plan into Action
Incorporating these four messages into an advertising re-entry plan can support your advertisers across many verticals. Advising consumers through radio and digital advertising that a business is back up and running in a normalized capacity, is COVID-19 compliant, has a competitive advantage and offers great deals can help them see bumps in revenue. That’s good for their business and for you.
Additional Tips for Sales Teams
- Offer ad packages that include both radio and digital.
- Explain the advantages of different ad products.
- Consider giving discounts on future buys.
- Extend deferred payment options.
- Focus on advertisers in industries that are continuing to spend ad dollars.
- Propose pricing options that build as the climate normalizes.
Additional Tips for Advertisers
- Target loyal customers first.
- Incorporate broad-reach ad tactics such as TV, radio and digital with wide demographics.
- Add video to the business’ website to show off a fully functional, sanitary operation, and use it in digital ad campaigns.
- Tell consumers how the business fits into their lives as they deal with COVID-19.
- Collect positive customer reviews, and place them in highly visible areas on the company website.