Local businesses are facing a unique set of challenges during the COVID-19 crisis, but the adverse economic conditions don’t have to be a death sentence. To help businesses find ways to engage with customers, the Daniel Island Town Association, the Daniel Island Business Association, along with The Daniel Island News, hosted a free online Survival Marketing Workshop on April 23. The seminar focused on generating revenue and creating customer support, even for businesses that temporarily closed their doors.
The webinar was led by Mike Blinder — author, international marketing consultant, and the publisher of Editor & Publisher. An expert in digital marketing, Blinder spent an hour teaching attendees how to market effectively in a tough economy and build their local brand. He focused on creating TOMA (top of mind awareness) to make sure your brand comes to a customer’s mind before the competition.
Even during a crumbling economy, small businesses won’t get buried in the rubble if they strategically market their product or service with traditional media like newspapers or digital media outlets. Blinder explained ways for local businesses to maintain market share during tough times by building trust and loyalty.
Angie Johnson of Island Park Properties appreciated the online seminar and said she is following Blinder’s advice to “keep marketing and help one another.”
Attendee Claire Law, a certified educational planner, was inspired by Blinder’s presentation to advertise during the pandemic.
“He [Blinder] says you need to advertise in good times and even more so in bad times. I never advertise, as my business is all word-of-mouth and I am limited as to the number of students I can serve,” Law said, adding that following the webinar, she decided to explore potential advertising.
Terry Haas of Century 21 Properties Plus is currently using Blinder’s advice to stay competitive. “We are currently doing many of the techniques that were discussed because staying top of mind is key. I want our clients to know that we are keeping up with current trends, ever-changing information and technology.”
Steve Salomon of Mission Essentials just added hand sanitizer into his local brand of earth-friendly personal care products and has ramped up his advertising efforts. “Customer service is huge, more so in a virtual environment. Even though brand loyalty is not as strong as it used to be, outstanding customer service, great products, industry knowledge (being the expert) helps us to stand out from the crowd,” explained Salomon.
Blinder’s No. 1 piece of advice is to keep marketing. “There will be a back end to this crisis and history has proven, those that market through tough economies do better than competition after the downturn.”
“We are thankful for what our local businesses provide to our community,” said Suzanne Detar, publisher of The Daniel Island News. “It was so encouraging after the seminar to see participants take to social media to share ideas on how they can help each other through these challenging times.”