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Quarter 3, 2020

Opening up: A guide for business

Opening up: A guide for business

As the U.S. economy begins to reopen, businesses must start looking at ways to craft new marketing initiatives. For any business to welcome customers through their doors, they must find a way to communicate safety and health information to customers and employees. Consider this a guide and checklist of how to do just that.

Plan and Lead by Example
Consumer behavior shifted in recent months. There was no more browsing aisles. It was a quick in and back for necessities. Consumer relationships are often formed during the times when we have less stress and more time for leisure. Now we're starting to see an opportunity to return to something akin to normal.

But it's a phased approach. We're easing back into this, often with shorter hours, and fewer employees. And it's not an across-the-board return, even to limited capacity. Some locations can't offer as much for as long.

It can become a challenge to maintain accurate information online. You can address these concerns by maintaining your local listings and using your local pages for more detailed communications.

6 Tips to Maintain Accurate Listings
Your business is likely operating in a different capacity depending on how far along your state is in COVID-19 recovery. To reflect your business's progress, try making these updates to your local listings:

1. Attributes
Google My Business (GMB) makes it a priority to highlight attributes that showcase unique services. You can display this on your listing in both mobile and desktop giving you a chance to share safety measures you're providing. These attributes vary by businesses such as restaurants, retail and healthcare, including:

• In-store pickup
• In-store shopping
• Dine-in
• Curbside pickup
• Takeout and delivery
• Same day delivery
• No-contact delivery
• Virtual care

Make sure these attributes are correct across all your locations.

2. Hours

Your business probably employed special hours, limited capacity or temporary closures during the shutdown. If you utilized the Temporarily Closed feature, now you can use it for the Reopening Date in GMB. Remember, this only works if you have a set to Temporarily Closed in Google. If you had locations with special hours, just make sure you change hours to reflect your new schedule.

3. Local URLs
Your business listing can include links for specific actions you want your customers to take directly in Google Search or maps. While searching for convenience from the safety of their homes, you need to give simple ways to communicate, which could include:

• Offering COVID-19-related resources
• Viewing your menu
• Booking an appointment
• Placing an online order
• Listing services you offer
• Searching for items

4. Phone Numbers
With your business reopening at a different capacity, you also need a phone number on your business page that routes to the right spot. You should expect "clicks-to-call" to increase with phase one of reopening, as customers look for new hours, information and safety protocols.

5. Google Posts
Google Posts communicate even more information about your business. Recently, Google introduced COVID-19 Posts, which can show prominently on your business page. These types of posts will appear for 28 days, but you may need to adjust as you see fit. Posts are free and allow you to use a call-to-action button if you have a GMB profile.

6. Messaging
Customers can find you in real-time on your GMB profile. They can ask questions about your business's reopening, or just to chat. They probably have more questions than ever right now, so you turn on messaging as an additional way to communicate.

Social Media Marketing in the COVID age

Social Media Marketing in the COVID age

As people around the world adjust to the new normal of social distancing and reopening of businesses, staying connected is now more important than ever. Social media has become a primary form of marketing communication in this time of uncertainty. Social media marketing offers a simple, effective way to connect with customers when in person visits are limited.

Did you know that more than 3 billion people around the world use social media every month? While many turn to social networks like Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with friends and family, almost 40 percent of users follow their favorite brands on social media. Now that more and more consumers are learning about businesses and interacting with them on social media, you have to be active on social to connect with your audience.

Whether you're running an ad on Facebook, posting an eye-catching photo on Instagram or responding to followers on Twitter, you can use social media to attract new customers, increase revenue and create buzz about your brand. However, to experience these benefits, you need to know how to make the most of every post.

Our free eBook, Guide to Social Media Marketing, will give you the information you need to expand your following and grow your business with social. This eBook takes a detailed look at social media basics and offers tips on how to make the most of social in a way that works for your business. As your social media playbook, it's a resource to turn to when looking for ideas on what to post, understanding which social networks to use and how to make sense of the entire social media landscape.

Get the easy-to-follow tips and advice you need to join the conversation.

• Learn how to choose the right social networks for your business
• Get the secrets to creating engaging content
• Find out how to build your audience
• Measure your social media performance

Download the Guide to Social Media Marketing for free today.

Five print marketing trends to bolster sales

Five print marketing trends to bolster sales

Digital marketing is everywhere. That's why, if you're seeking a competitive edge in 2020, print marketing could prove your best ally. New innovations in print technology allow you to build deeper connections with customers. Grow your business in 2020 with these five print marketing trends.

1. A complete print marketing experience
Postcards, flyers and banners are all cost-effective marketing tools, but companies that want to endear themselves to customers are trending toward print marketing tools that offer a more immersive experience, such as booklets, newsletters and multi-page brochures. It's the information era. Your customers want helpful advice and to identify with the brands they buy from. Booklets, brochures and newsletters afford you the space to share that information with customers. They're tangible, too, which carries greater meaning to a younger customer base that's used to ignoring the barrage of digital advertisements. Recent studies have shown that millennials have a stronger emotional connection to messages delivered on paper.

2. Adding that personal touch
Personalization is nothing new, but it's a step many companies skip on their print marketing initiatives. However, personalization is no longer a luxury. It's expected in an age when nearly every email salutation kicks off with customers' first names.

Variable data printing makes it easy to include customers' names and other personalized information such as city, job title and even hobbies on direct-mail marketing tools. All you need is a mailing list with each variable defined, and you can ask your printing company to apply variable data to postcards, brochures, booklets, catalogs, envelopes and other mailers.

For example, let's say a landscaping company wants to send postcards to every resident in a targeted neighborhood called Rolling Hills. Rather than read "Save 20%," the postcard copy could be: "Hey John, take advantage of 20% off, exclusively for Rolling Hills customers."

The company could even get creative by including neighbors' names: "Hey John, want your lawn to look better than the Wilsons'? Enjoy 20% off, exclusively for Rolling Hills customers!"

3. Print and digital marketing work together
Advancements in print-to-digital marketing make it easy for customers to instantly respond to your print marketing materials. For example, they can scan codes with their mobile phones to immediately purchase an advertised product, fill out a landing page form or "like" a social media page.

Other ideas include links to videos, interactive product demonstrations and even augmented reality. For example, a tourism bureau might print a booklet with a map of the city. Travelers can scan the map, then follow directions on their phones to local hotspots. They could even take interactive tours complete with visual overlays when they hold their phones up to historical buildings and other attractions. Sponsored partners could insert location-based ads to nearby coffee shops, restaurants and gift shops.

Online tools offer additional possibilities. If a local salon wants to promote the hottest hairstyles. It could send a postcard with a discount coupon and a scannable code that links to an app that allows customers to upload their photos, try out different hairstyles, then instantly schedule an appointment at the discount price.

4. Track your results
We've discussed how print marketing can be used to deliver special codes and coupons. This type of technology also allows for advanced tracking - that is, an improved ability to see how effective your campaigns are. This information can then be used to inform future marketing efforts.

For example, you can employ unique coupon codes that, when scanned, link to personalized landing pages that greet customers by name and make product suggestions based on their purchase and browsing histories. We already know personalization influences sales, after all.

In addition, advanced tracking can automatically detect which customers respond to your special offers. That data can then be used for future campaigns. For example, you'll know which neighborhoods have the best response rates or which combination of shared demographics converts.

5. Foster trust, authority and credibility
Today's customers are constantly bombarded by digital ads. They're savvier than ever, and they can cut through the noise to ignore irrelevant and sales-y pitches. They want to have long-term relationships with trusted, credible brands that cater to their needs just as much as brands want to have relationships with them.

Don't focus exclusively on making sales, but rather on helping customers achieve their goals. To do this, try the following when creating content for your print materials:

• Focus on your customers' needs - rather than talking about how great your products or services are, explain how your offerings help solve a problem
• Share tips - offer advice on how to use your products or services
• Use social proof - share real customer images or testimonials

Print marketing in 2020 will trend toward more personalization, immersive experiences, customer relationships and integrating print with digital technologies. Use these trends to your advantage to attract more customers and grow your business in 2020.

Contact your Safeguard advisor today for ideas, advice and help with these and many more print marketing and business solutions.