5 Ways Your Agency Can Help Your Local Clients During COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the United States, more and more local businesses are becoming victims of state-wide lockdowns being issued by state officials.

At first, California, Washington, and New York residents were directed to ‘Shelter-in-place’, but now 24 state governors have issued the same warning to their residents.

Although these orders are proving effective in ‘flattening the curve’, the same orders are also inflicting considerable pain on local businesses.

Despite these widespread ‘Shelter-in-place’ orders, there is still room for advertising and there is still room for ad agencies to provide value to their clients.

Here are 5 helpful tips that your agency can implement with your local clients, which will provide value even during this pandemic.

1. Help Client’s Build A Strategy That Maximizes The Opportunity That Is Still Out There

Believe it or not, there is still opportunity out there; you just need to help your clients see it and get creative.

One great piece of branding, intentional or not, that we saw in Conduit’s home state of New Jersey came from a local Pizzeria.

The owner of the Pizzeria made it known that he had taken out a $50,000 loan so that he could keep his staff employed during the pandemic.

This gesture of goodwill was so unique and impactful that it was picked up by several major news outlets within the state and was even trending on Facebook.

What happened next was several Facebook users tagging their friends and asking them to buy pizzas from the restaurant.

Over the past week, three Conduit employees have shared the story in our company Slack channel, encouraging employees that live nearby to purchase food from the Pizzeria.

Although it may have been subconscious, this gesture appears to have had a positive impact on the owner's brand.

Now, we’re certainly not suggesting that you recommend your client take out a loan to pay employees, but helping your client develop a goodwill gesture could help put their brand in a positive light even in these dark times.

Other examples of this have included companies helping with the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help frontline healthcare workers.

Help your client become the positive news article in the sea of negative articles that are currently circulating.

You can help your clients position their brand in an empathetic way that will benefit them long after the pandemic has subsided. Help your brand become the NJ Pizzeria.

pizza nj

2. Help Your Client Harness The Power Of Social Media (Both Organic And Paid)

The lockdown of the majority of Americans has led to a dramatic increase in social media activity. In one study, one agency saw a 50% increase in engagement across social media platforms over the last two weeks.

With social distancing now in full effect across the country, social media platforms are the easiest and safest way for many of us to keep in contact with friends and family members. This presents a huge opportunity for local businesses.

Now is the time for local businesses to step up their social media efforts because that is where the eyeballs are.

Helping your clients construct an organic social media strategy across the most popular social media platforms is an effective way of ensuring that your clients continue to communicate with their customer base.

More specifically, posting within local community groups, such as ‘township chatter’ groups, has shown to produce high engagement for brands.

Often these groups are a collection of local customers that utilize your client’s services regularly, so this is a great place to speak directly to them.

If your client is still looking to spend marketing dollars on social media platforms, there is no better time than now, with several people reporting significant drops in CPCs. You can help them develop a social media targeting campaign aimed at their custom audience.

Now could be the perfect time to keep your client’s message out there for a fraction of the cost.

social media during covid-19

3. Optimize Your Client’s Google My Business Listing

Not every business has been instructed to close due to pandemic. Here in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has made exceptions for the following business types:

  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Medical supply stores
  • Gas stations
  • Convenience stores
  • Hardware and home improvement
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Laundromats and dry-cleaning services
  • Pet stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Auto maintenance
  • Printing
  • Delivery services
  • Nurseries and garden centers
  • Restaurants (takeout only)

If any of your clients’ businesses have remained open, having a fully-optimized Google My Business listing is a quick and easy way to guarantee that searchers can still find their business when searching locally.

A simple act of adding your client’s business category to their Google My Business listing can greatly increase their chances of ranking in the local three-pack for non-branded, local searches.

For restaurants specifically, a Google My Business listing offers considerable opportunity. Restaurant owners can optimize their listing by uploading their menu to the platform, making it easy for searchers to see exactly what food items they offer without having to call or visit a website.

Enabling the delivery option within the platform can allow searchers to order food from a restaurant in less than two clicks of a button.

If set-up properly, a fully-optimized Google My Business listing can be a virtual storefront for a business and greatly increase the number of sales or leads that a business receives.

businesses closed during covid-19

4. Help Your Clients By Building A Support Community

There is one thing that is certain during these times: we’re all in this together and we will get through this together.

Applying this attitude to managing your clients could help them greatly.

Now is the time to bring your clients, help them share marketing and advertising strategies with one another, and help them get through this together!

An easy way of doing this is by starting a Facebook or LinkedIn group of your clients that provides marketing resources and encourages collaboration.

You should apply the same level of thinking to the clients that you work with.

Right now, nearly all of our clients are going to bed at night anxious. The anxiety of the unknown that agencies are currently experiencing are also being experienced by our clients.

An easy way of doing this is by starting a Facebook or LinkedIn group of your clients that provides marketing resources and encourages collaboration.

Being seen as the leader and the instigator of this community could position you in a positive light both right now and in the future.

A sign of a great partnership is being there for someone through the good times and the bad. Be the partner that offers help and guidance during these very uncertain times.

5. Help Your Client Master The Art Of Video

As discussed earlier, social media engagement is exploding and it will continue to grow until ‘Stay-At-Home’ orders are lifted. Now is the perfect time to educate your client and help them build a winning video strategy.

Several studies have shown that engagement with video content far exceeds that of static images. In 2020, nearly every American has access to a smartphone with powerful video-capturing capabilities.

If you have access to video editing tools, help your client stay in contact with their customer base using the most engaging form of content available.

Furthermore, helping your client master video can increase the reach of their marketing message by introducing them to marketing channels that they otherwise would not have utilized, such as YouTube, Snapchat, Tik Tok plus many more.

Don’t Allow Your Clients To Stop Advertising

As agency owners, now is the most important time to be a resource for your clients.

The actions that are taken over the next few weeks and months could have significant impacts, both positive and negative, for your agency and your clients for years to come.

One thing you must prevent right now is your clients putting their advertising efforts on the back burner.

It has been written about in several articles the negative impact that no advertising had on businesses during the 2008 Great Recession.

Not all advertising has to involve spending marketing dollars on platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook. If you do choose to continue running ads, use these helpful tips to maximize delivery on your Facebook and Google campaigns.

There are several ways that businesses can advertise on platforms without spending a single dollar.

Conclusion

As agencies, we owe a duty of care to our clients to help them maximize these opportunities and keep their brand name top of mind and conversions and sales rolling in.

By implementing these 5 essential tips, you will ensure that your local clients are well taken care of during this worldwide crisis.

Conduit Digital understands the struggles that agency owners are facing during this time.

We invite you to join us at #AgenciesUnited to begin a dialogue with agency owners around the world. Together we can stand by each other and get through this crisis stronger as an industry.

For More Tips On Helping Your Local Clients, Speak To Our Expert Paid Search Team

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