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South Salt Lake Journal

Companies offer marketing services to local businesses impacted by COVID-19 to bolster customer base, unify community

Jul 08, 2020 03:29PM ● By Drew Crawford

By Drew Crawford | [email protected]

A change in consumer behavior as a result of COVID-19 has caused many businesses to change their strategies on how they attract and retain their customers.

To address these concerns, marketing companies operating in the valley have been promoting their services to impacted business in an attempt to help them maintain and attract a customer base.

“We decided that small businesses need [results] as well, and we wanted to develop an affordable solution to do that,” said Meghan Trapp of Hurrdat, a marketing group that has an office in Holladay.  

Hurrdat released Local Search Fuel at the beginning of the year, a SAAS (software as a service) product that provides local search engine optimization (SEO) services to help companies get views from Google My Business listings, Facebook and Apple Maps.

“We are able to offer it for free for 90 days to our local customers, because we know with COVID, with their businesses being closed, or reopening but not reopening in the same hours or same methods as before, that it’s really important that they optimize their information now,” Trapp said, explaining that the company had originally planned to release the service at the end of Fiscal Year 2020.

Trapp emphasizes that businesses can utilize this software to communicate information that still makes them relevant and addresses COVID-19.

“A lot of local businesses right now have either a facemask policy or an amended return policy or are talking about specific products that they have available or not available, or restaurants for curbside delivery, takeout, dine in, it’s different for different industries.”

Through using Local Search Fuel companies can manage their online listings to make sure that their information is consistently displayed.

“That’s a trust signal that Google values when it decides who it’s going to show for its search results,” Trapp noted. “And we know that because we’ve pared it down to the core tactics that are required for local search success, we’re able to offer at an affordable price point.”

The services provided by Hurrdat which cost $125 monthly, include the SEO application where businesses can provide their information as well as a live customer support team that is available for help with using the software.

In addition to accessible SEO technology that can enable businesses to elevate their listings, Nate Gibby, the marketing director of Serfwerks, has begun to offer free marketing consultations on a first come, first served basis to help businesses get market share during COVID-19.

Gibby’s main goal during COVID-19 is to spur businesses to think freshly about their marketing strategies and positioning.

“We try to help clients understand this and then develop a position that will make a salient differentiation in the mind of their audience, such that it will drive behaviors,” Gibby said using an example about how people think about Target and Walmart. “We do mostly consulting, we help develop a campaign, and help them execute on that.”

Gibby feels that COVID-19 offers a unique time for companies to reflect on what they do well and to think about what they offer their customers.

“Most of the time, particularly with small- to medium-sized business, marketing is not viewed as strategically at all. It’s looked at as I’ve got this widget to sell so let’s just put up a website, let’s get a brochure out there, and let’s sell our stuff,” Gibby said. “There’s not really thought given to how to sell it, what the messaging should be, and how you’re going to effectively be thinking of your target audience.”

Gibby said that the greatest difference that COVID-19 has made for business is that it has changed consumer’s lifestyles as they shop from home a lot more and are cautious about going out.

“What we’ve tried to do is view this as an opportunity to make a difference in our community, because a lot of these businesses who are shut down have a unique time where they can sit back and really evaluate what they’re doing and we can help them do it better and strategically,” Gibby said. “I think we all have an obligation to be of assistance where we can to help people come out of this.”

Gibby says that businesses wondering what they should be doing to recover from a marketing standpoint should be thinking in a couple different tiers.

“One is to say, ‘Hey, we’re open, come back,’ and ‘Here’s what we’re doing to keep you safe,’” Gibby said.

According to Gibby, a more in-depth option is a tier two approach, where businesses offer innovative problem solving.

“I think that you can elevate it to tier two if you find ways to be part of the solution and find unique ways to engage your customers. People need to approach their marketing in such a way that they give their clientele a way to come back.”

Gibby has also come up with other marketing strategies to address the pandemic that include developing thought leadership and forming community partnerships.

“Being open for business doesn’t compel a consumer to do business. Businesses need to provide real value to their audience to get them to come back, which you can accomplish by communicating real and meaningful value and communicating your efforts to be a part of the solution,” Gibby said.

 

 

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