Chicago Small Business Strategies Post COVID

Chicago Small Business Strategies Post COVID

2020 has been a busy year, turning businesses upside down and testing them with the worst of the worst-case scenarios. The year brought about significant changes to how business is conducted. One of the biggest impacts was the major economic shock, with studies reporting that 43% of small businesses had to close temporarily, and active employment was reduced by 39%.

As the pandemic begins to wind down and vaccinations are distributed, Chicago businesses need to plan for the near future. This means preparing your small business for a post-COVID era.

What does life after COVID-19 look like? It means:

  • More foot traffic in stores.
  • People outside more, so more time spent on mobile.
  • More spending as people get their jobs back and hiring picks back up.
  • Outside events with crowds.

Chicago Small Business Strategies Post-COVID

As Mark Twain once referenced about Chicago, “She is always a novelty; for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time.” Meaning, Chicago and its businesses will always find a way to adapt, innovate, and move forward. Here’s how to do it flawlessly:

Ignore the Social Media Downtick

COVID-19 led to an uptick in social media use as many people found themselves stuck at home and relying on social media platforms as a way of staying in contact with friends and family. Social media became an important component of socializing, finding & sharing COVID-related information, spreading messages of being ‘in this together,’ among other things, during the pandemic. In fact, Insider Intelligence reports that up to 51% of US adults are using social media at higher rates during the pandemic. 

However, this increase in usage is not expected to continue in the years to come. Instead, you can expect a slight downtick in social media use and a return to how social media was used in pre-COVID-19 times. An April 2020 GlobalWebIndex poll found that only 9% of US internet users ages 16 to 64 said they expected to continue spending more time on social media after the pandemic eases.

With that in mind, you still need to maintain a social media presence to keep brand awareness even if it looks like interest in your brand is lowering. Social media still plays a vital role in marketing and remains one of the most effective ways to reach, engage, and build relationships with your target audience.

Find Opportunities for Event Sponsorship

People will flock to events once they are allowed to be outside in crowds again. All the events people were restricted from going to are going to fill up with eager faces, ready to get back into a more normal groove away from 2020 and the pandemic. The positive impact of event sponsorship from pre-COVID-19 times will be much greater, and consumers will appreciate your brand supporting their newly reinvigorated social life. Consider finding a media partner that does events and can promote yours on the radio.

Appeal to Consumers During their Drive

Now that fewer jobs will be done virtually, car traffic will increase. As car traffic increases, so does the reliability and need for radio to entertain drivers during their commute. This makes radio ads a great investment.

Radio already has a 90% weekly reach among adults. It always evolves with technology and trends. It’s a source of comfort for music, news, personalities, and more for many Chicagoans. In fact, radio is more trusted than any other medium. According to BBC, 66% of people considered radio to be reliable and accurate, compared with 58% for online, 54% for TV, and just 34% for newspapers.

Consider these three tactics when partnering with a Chicago radio station:

  • Radio Personality Endorsements 
  • Mention Chicago 
  • Sponsor Radio-Covered Events

In-store Promotions Will Be “In” Again

Considering the undeniable support given to physical stores during the pandemic, it’s unlikely consumers will transition to online shopping completely. Foot traffic will increase overall, but people will be unused to shopping in stores when they’ve spent so much time shopping online. To get them in the store, use in-store promotions so that they get back into the habit of visiting your brick and mortar establishment. These can be advertised on the radio.

In-store promotion ideas:

  • Partner with a local company that has a similar target audience.
  • Bundle discounts.
  • Giveaways and contests.
  • Discounts, sales, and “freebies” will always appeal to consumers.

Make Sure Your Business is Ready

It’s important to be ready to take advantage of the world once COVID-19 no longer threatens economies. People are more than ready to get out of their houses and back into gathering, going to work, attending events, and shopping brick-n-mortar. Your Chicago small business needs to be prepared with a clear post-COVID strategy that includes social media, event sponsorships, radio ads, and in-store promotions to meet these growing needs.

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