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Are you ready to reopen?

Some businesses across the country have been closed, open, closed again, and so on…throughout this pandemic.

Diane Hall


Open white sign in a shop window

And now, hopefully, the end is in sight, as the dates of different restrictions lifting (apparently, on an irreversible basis this time, according to Bo-Jo) remain in the mix as we head further into the year.

From today, non-essential shops can open, gyms, hairdressers and the hospitality industry, such as pubs. The latter can only serve people outside at this point; however, it’s only a few weeks before they should be able to welcome customers inside and under their roof once again.

Some of these businesses will have received a grant to help them open in this vein…money to provide seating, outdoor heating, shelter or other equipment, as well as the necessary Covid signage, i.e. to enforce the track and trace app and social distancing regulations.

No doubt, in the first few weeks after reopening, every pub will be overflowing with people desperate to experience something they used to enjoy and which they’ve been deprived of for many months. Once they’ve got that out of their system, however, and if the things we enjoy in life continue to stay open, venues may need to return to their marketing strategies to get customers to walk over their threshold as opposed to their competitors’. The same could apply to clothes shops and other non-essential retail brands.

If you have a hospitality venue/retail outlet how does your website and other marketing collateral look at the moment? Is it sharp, up-to-date and ready to compete?

Pubs and fast-food venues: Does your website allow people to book your outside space and/or order food and drinks to their table…features that have come into their own over the last year?

Retailers: Are your advertised opening hours accurate? And on Google, too—as this is where people will look for the information and become a tad naffed off if it’s unreliable.

Does your website/app/other form of marketing reassure the customers you’re hoping to welcome that you’re adhering to everything you should re. Covid? That their safety is paramount?

Waitress stood at door with mask welcoming people back in

Waitress stood at door with mask welcoming people back in

If today’s reopening measures and those forecast during the upcoming months all go ahead, and these actions really are irreversible, then this is a fresh start. Time to bring your website’s design, as well as its functionality, into 2021.

If you’ve never optimised your website to look good and work well when accessed on a mobile phone, it’s a task that’s long overdue. Despite the fact that the vast majority of us search for sites first via a smartphone, bear in mind also that Google now uses mobile-indexed sites when determining the ranking of search results. Maybe your site looks okay, but it takes forever to load, whether on a laptop, tablet or mobile. Why risk people clicking away when they’re fed up of a forever-rotating ‘loading’ circle icon, when you could find out the root cause of the problem quite easily?

Does your website carry tools to measure and analyse the traffic it receives? When trade begins to slacken off, this information could prove quite valuable. Where do your customers come from, i.e. which locality? When is the busiest time for enquiries/visitors to your site? How do they prefer to book/connect with you?

There’s likely to be a crazy period ahead, with longed-for revenue sailing through your tills; however, keeping up this momentum when all other avenues of enjoyment begin again, may be a little more difficult. Marketing is something you always need to think about.

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