If your business was fortunate enough to survive—or even thrive in 2020, 'consider yourself lucky' goes without saying. Whether 2021 will be focused on recovery, growth or somewhere in between, there's one word that should guide your marketing this coming year.
That word is empathy.
Shuttered businesses, lost jobs, mounting bills...the effects of this pandemic are compounding and far-reaching. And as business owners and marketers, we have a responsibility to practice empathy in the coming year.
What does that look like?
Here are a few ways you can market your business in 2021 with a little more love and understanding. Here's your opportunity to truly live your ethos of 'putting customers first'.
When people are struggling to make ends meet (businesses included) and they're buying your products and services, make it a point to say 'thank you'.
This could take the form of a post-purchase email. For example, "We understand these are trying times for so many of our customers and we appreciate you choosing BUSINESS NAME."
Giveaways and contests are another way to show appreciation.
As a family with several small businesses, my husband and I have made a point of shopping local and small this season. We're using our social media channels to shout-out a few of our favourites.
Cafe Alexandra: Organic cafe in Aurora, Ontario with lots of vegetarian & vegan options
Heavenly Bites: South American Alfjores cookies that melt in your mouth
KC Equestrian Colours: Equestrian accessories for all the horsey lovers
Wrap Werx: Vehicle wrapping services in the Greater Toronto area
Baker's Dozen Candle Co: A sweet soy candle maker specializing in baked good scents
I'm likely missing a few but you get the idea. Share the love and turn the spotlight on some of your small businesses vendors.
Hubby's new business Iannuzzi & Sons Reimagine Musical Instruments has seen a heartwarming uptick in orders this season and we're so grateful.
The Christmas season is the most obvious time for businesses to support local charities. However, it's the first few months after the holidays when food banks and other not-for-profits need the most help.
A few years ago, I recommended a social media client begin a food drive in January. This car dealership collected employee and community donations for a local food bank at the time when their supply was typically at its lowest. It was a great success for all involved.
Make it a point to throw your support behind a charity in the new year. Be sure to let your customers know of your plans and activities through your newsletter and social media channels. You'll build positive brand awareness and most importantly, inspire others to give.
Consider Flexible Payment Options
If your business model (and bottom line) allow it, consider implementing flexible payment options. Whether you provide monthly instalments or spread payments out across a longer period, make it easier for customers to do business with you.
For product-based businesses, consider implementing additional temporary loyalty or volume-based discounts as a 'thank you'.
As I sit on the couch with my feet up typing this post, Christmas Vacation is flashing in the background for the 10th time this season. Playing holiday favourites on repeat is bringing me some much needed joy. It's a reminder that in the midst of a crappy year, we have our health, a place to call home and the blessings of our customers.
If you consider yourself 'lucky' this year, here's (y)our reminder to practice some empathy in 2021. Your customers will appreciate it. And after 2020 especially, we could all use more of it.
Wishing you all the happiest of holidays and a 2021 filled with hope.
Yours in gratitude,
Ps. If you're a client reading this, a heartfelt 'thank you' for your business this year.