Now is the time to stop worrying and start adapting your small business to take advantage of available marketing resources. 

Learn how to build your brand during a crisis with small business COVID-19 tips and tricks from Bruce Turkel, author and branding expert. The key to the brave new world rests at your fingertips. 

TL;DR: Three Steps To Adapting Your Small Business Marketing To Thrive In The Face Of Change

  • Consider different consumer attitudes
  • Take the time to stabilize your business
  • Remember the seven principles of marketing
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Adapting Your Small Business While Considering Consumer Attitudes

As an opening exercise to the #BizHackLive “What Now? How You Can Thrive in the Brave New World” webinar, Turkel drew a picture of an ostrich with its head in the ground. The clever depiction was meant to represent consumer behavior. 

“You could probably try to convince it to come out, but the truth is the ostrich doesn’t really care very much about you or what you do,” Turkel said. “Let the ostrich come out when it’s ready.” 

Understanding audience psychology is the first step to marketing during a crisis, Turkel added. 

Here are tips on how to communicate with four different types of consumer attitudes: 

TIP: Watch Out For The Brake Slammers

“Slam-on-the-brake consumers, you all know them,” Turkel said. “Their heads metaphorically plunk into the ground and then they slam on the brakes.”

With slam-on-the-brake consumers, small businesses face the challenging task of persuading consumers who don’t want to be persuaded. 

TIP: You-Only-Live-Once Consumers Are Temporary

Similar to the brake slammers, the you-only-live-once or YOLO consumers are hard to influence and small businesses shouldn’t expect major attitude changes. 

“Those are the people who are making believe that nothing has happened,” Turkel said. “You have to stop caring about the consumers who are not going to buy from you.” 

TIP: The Pained But Patiently Are Waiting For A Solution 

As consumers suffer in different ways, the pained but patient consumers tend to be optimistic about different perspectives. Most of the time, these are the people looking for a solution to better their quality of life. 

“They understand that life goes on,” Turkel said. “They economize in all areas but much less aggressively than slam-on-the-break consumers.”

TIP: Comfortable Consumers Help You Be More Comfortable

Consumers who are comfortable are more likely to make purchasing decisions. These consumers feel confident in their ability to survive economic downturns because they don’t have debt or are in a higher-income bracket. However, they will still watch their spending to keep up with appearances.

“They realize that they need to purchase more selectively,” Turkel said. “They want to be less conspicuous about their purchasing because nobody wants to be the person on the street buying the big things that no one else can afford.”

While adapting your small business strategies during COVID-19, you should focus on communicating with pained but patient and comfortable consumers, Turkel advised. 

“They’re the people who are going to be helping us move into the brave new world,” Turkel said. “They are the people who are going to continue to purchase and continue to look for goods and services.” 

The next step to adapting your small business during COVID-19 is considering what consumers want to buy. 

Know What Products You Offer 

Turkel suggested dividing products and services into four main categories:

  • Essentials are needed for basic survival or overall well-being 
  • Treats can be justified with an immediate purchase 
  • Postponables are desirable but can be reasonably put off
  • Expendables are considered unjustifiable or unnecessary

As all consumers consider food, clothing, and shelter essential, small businesses should look at what products they offer will benefit the consumers’ well-being.

“Essentials are clearly the things that people are going to keep buying,” Turkel said. “But be careful because essentials mean different things to different people.” 

As toilet paper hoarding became one of the biggest trends in 2020, it may be easier for small businesses to focus on selling products that can be justifiable. 

“If we understand who our buyers are then we have to talk about what it is we’re selling them,” Turkel said. 

Just as slam-on-the-brake and live for today, people are not worth marketing to, postponable and expendable products are not worth promoting. At the end of the day, consumers will only want products that are considered essential or justifiable. 

Take The Time To Stabilize Your Business

If your business is considered nonessential, there are some creative ways you can stabilize your product or service to become more essential. 

“Business as usual is now going to be business as unusual,” Turkel said. 

As a renowned author and speaker, Turkel shared how he had to adjust his business during COVID-19. Instead of traveling around the world to speak at conferences, he uses Zoom and WebEx to connect with audience members. 

“Will it be as profitable and as valuable as it was before? I don’t think so, but it can be stabilized,” Turkel said. 

Now is the time to build recognition and value around your brand, Turkel said. He shared how one of his clients in hospitality is building their brand value by offering services to the community. 

With these small business COVID-19 tips, you can keep your small business core attributes while adapting to the current market. 

Remember The Seven Principles Of Marketing

Communicating with consumers so that they can understand is one of the most important things you can remember. In the end, small businesses that strive to make an emotional connection with buyers will flourish. 

Turkel shared the seven principles of marketing:

  1. All About Them
  2. Hearts Then Minds
  3. Make It Simple
  4. Make It Quick
  5. Make It Yours
  6. All Five Senses
  7. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

“A good brand makes people feel good, but a great brand makes people feel good about themselves,” Turkel said. 

If you follow the seven marketing principles, adapting your small business in the brave new world can be painless. It will take some new product offerings, tactics, and strategies, but it will all be worth it in the end. 

Want more tips? On Wednesdays, join BizHack Academy for our FREE #Bizhacklive Webinars and hear experts discuss the latest and best small business marketing strategies. For a list of upcoming events, click here.