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How Local Businesses Can Effectively Adjust Their Messaging to be More Community Focused

How Local Businesses Can Effectively Tweak Their Messaging to be More Community Focused

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses are trying to keep up with current regulations to meet the needs of their consumers. Some businesses have been forced to dramatically change their business practices. Your community members are facing unprecedented challenges--and you want to show that your business is there for them. As a local business, there are several strategies you can utilize to tailor your messaging for the community.

Address the Current State of Your Local Community

It's important to stay up to date on what's happening in your community. Your business needs to know the critical information so you are able to serve your consumers’ current needs. Your consumers are looking to you to provide timely, relevant updates. 

What are the latest rules and regulations that are impacting your community? California and the Bay Area specifically, have handled the pandemic in a very different way than other parts of the country. Several counties issued Shelter in Place regulations much earlier than other places in an effort to help control the spread of COVID-19. It's critical to keep up with the latest information and how it impacts the entire community so you can relay how those changes have affected your regular business operations. 

How are those regulations impacting your business? California’s early stay at home directive  resulted in overall foot traffic quickly slowing down. These regulations may have substantially impacted your business, such as modified hours and/or suspended services.

How can you include this information in your ads? Using this information will keep your marketing timely and updated. If you're still open but have changed the way you are delivering services, products, or food, does the community know their current options? Share how you’re adjusting your business to accommodate the current state of your local community.

Speak Directly to Those in the Community Who Can Benefit From Your Business 

It’s important to tailor your messaging to address how your business can serve the community right now. Your customized marketing can tell the community  your products and services are still available.

Who are you trying to reach? While you want to continue to speak to your existing consumers, you also want to reach those in the community who might not be familiar with your business. As options are limited, your business may be offering a service or product that a larger audience now needs or wants.

What are you offering that those individuals could benefit from under the current circumstances? As your business operations shift, your messaging should change as well. While you might normally address how your business helps in everyday life, your current messaging should acknowledge what’s happening now, how your business has changed, and clearly demonstrate empathy. 

Represent Your Community in Your Marketing

Your ads should represent your target audience within the local community. Viewers are able to connect on a deeper level when they feel represented in a businesses’ marketing efforts.

Incorporate the voice of local on-air talent in your radio ads. Align your marketing with an on-air influencer that has a trusted relationship with your target audience. Incorporating a voice that your audience recognizes and trusts allows you to better represent your community.

Use a visual representation of your target audience in your ads. Marketing materials should showcase people who represent the demographics of your target audience and highlight the community itself.  Incorporating appropriate photos and images helps your audience feel more connected with your brand on a personal level.  

Repurpose marketing materials from past campaigns or events. This will help you put ads together more quickly, while still reflecting your brand as community-focused. Auto manufacturers like Ford are repurposing past footage with new messages related to the crisis. 

Representing those in the community who can benefit from your business right now, allows you to continue or begin a relationship with them during a time when consumers are seeking personal connections.

Tell Your Audience What You're Doing to Make Changes in the Community

People want to know what their favorite local businesses are doing to help right now. Share the actions your business is taking to keep employees and consumers safe. For example, real estate agents are doing virtual tours to help their buyers continue to look for new homes while adhering to social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. 

Let consumers know about specific deals, promotions, packages, and services you are offering throughout the pandemic to make life easier for your community. Now, more than ever, it's critical that you speak to your audience with an empathetic tone that shows how your company is making a difference. When you effectively adjust your messaging to be more community-focused, you will see stronger connections with your customers. Strong connections are critical for local businesses trying to sustain momentum while facing uncertainty.

Bay Area COVID-19 Business Marketing Guide

Barry Rose
Barry Rose
Barry Rose has been the General Sales Manager of KBLX-FM, San Francisco for over 3 decades. During this time he has helped to address and define, for numerous local and national advertisers, the importance of multi-cultural marketing in the very diverse 9 County Bay Area MSA.

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