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Who'll Be Buying As Southwest Florida Small Businesses Reopen?

May 19, 2020 7:16:00 AM / by Larry Julius

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the Governor of Florida shut down all but the most essential businesses in the state on April 3. This public safety measure inflicted a severe disruption to the Fort Myers-Naples' $22.5 billion retail economy.

As local small business owners begin to reopen, each must concentrate on supercharging their cash flows to compensate for weeks of consumer abstinence. Turning the lights back on and hanging out a welcome sign might not be enough, though, to bring even the most loyal customers back.

Some customers may not return because of personal safety concerns. Other customers may have discovered alternative sources to purchase goods and services.

But, there is one thing every Southwest Florida small business owner can be assured of. Consumers will not return if they aren't aware that a business has reopened.

Advertising is a potent tactic for any Southwest Florida small business that needs to reintroduce itself to local consumers.

“Think you have a great product?” asks the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Unfortunately, no one’s going to know about it unless you advertise.”

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Topics best way to advertise, retail, store traffic, radio advertising, small business owner, small business, retail sales, retail store, retailer, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing, reopening

Should Your Fort Myers Small Business Continue To Advertise?

May 16, 2020 7:21:00 AM / by Larry Julius

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on cash register receipts in Southwest Florida. Every day small business owners from Marco Island to Cape Coral are being challenged by the pandemic induced recession.

Just yesterday, for instance, the US Commerce Department announced that April retail sales were down by 20% vs. the same month last year. This is sure to take a massive bite out of the $22.5 billion in annual consumer spending in The Fort Myers-Naples area businesses had been expecting in 2020.

“April was the cruelest month,” Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, told the Wall Street Journal. "Retail spending likely bottomed out in the first week of May with spending picking up due to Mother’s Day and gradual state reopenings.

“It’s going to be less worse with each month,” said Mr. Johnson, “as people slowly come out of the foxhole and enter the mainstream of American consumerism.”

The ability of an SWFL small business to survive past the lockdowns will depend on the steps it takes now.

WARC, a company that collaborates with more than 50 respected marketing organizations, including the Advertising Research Foundation and the Association of National Advertisers, has identified ten tactics that businesses should implement immediately. The #2 step on this list: Keep advertising if you can.

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Topics best way to advertise, small business owner, recession, small business, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing, WARC

Reclaim 'Top Of Mind' When Your SWFL Small Business Re-Opens

May 1, 2020 2:32:44 PM / by Larry Julius

Business was booming in Southwest Florida. Then it was not.

Before the chaos brought on by Coronavirus, it had been predicted, based on estimates from the National Retail Federation, SWFL consumers would spend 4.1% more in 2020 than they did in 2019. On April 3, however, when Florida's Governor shut down the state, the expectations of growth for many small business owners were replaced with fights for survival.

As the state prepares to reopen, Fort Myers-Naples area small businesses will learn that turning the lights back on and hanging out the welcome sign might not be enough to bring even the most loyal customers back.

Some customers will not return because of personal safety concerns. Other customers may have discovered alternative sources to purchase goods and services.

More likely, though, customers will not come back because a business has lost a valued parcel of real estate: the position at the top of a customer's mind. This is the place where purchase decisions are made.

There is a way to regain top-of-mind status. First, though, it's important to understand why a business can be forgotten so quickly. 

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Topics Frequency, Awareness, top of mind, best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business owner, small business, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, recall, recency

Who Do Southwest Florida Consumers Trust During A Crisis?

Apr 28, 2020 6:46:48 AM / by Larry Julius

For Fort Myers-Naples area small business owners, marketing and advertising are crucial to surviving any crisis, including Coronavirus. The business literature has an abundance of case studies from depressions, recessions, natural disasters, and, yes, pandemics that affirm this existential conclusion.

Advertising, however, may seem extravagant right now to Southwest Florida businesses that are struggling to make rent, purchase inventory, and meet payroll. Henry Ford, though, is often quoted as saying, "Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping a clock to save time."

Therefore, as business owners from Marco Island to Port Charlotte (and every point in between) are cinching their belts tighter-than-ever to stay alive, the dollars invested in advertising must be spent in the most effective manner possible.

During periods of uncertainty, advertising works the hardest when placed in within media that consumers trust.  During the time of COVID-19, advertising on Fort Myers radio has earned that trust among local consumers.

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Topics Reach, best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business owner, small business, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, trust, context, recall

Web Traffic Is Soaring For Fort Myers Small Business Owners

Apr 24, 2020 2:12:39 PM / by Larry Julius

Since the onset of the Coronavirus crisis, consumers are not flocking into the showrooms, storefronts, offices, or dining rooms of Southwest Florida small business owners. It turns out, though, social distancing has not proven to be an impediment to shopping.

Fort Myers-Naples consumers are still spending money despite the chaos imposed by the pandemic, according to Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell & Associates. His company specializes in the collection of marketing data from business owners across the country.

"During depressions, recessions, floods, hurricane, earthquakes, fires, and, now, pandemics, commerce goes on," Mr. Borrell told members of SWFL's small business community during a recent teleconference.

To prove his point, he shared research from IBISworld  which, indicates spending continues despite a plunge in consumer confidence.

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Topics best way to advertise, web traffic, attribution, radio advertising, small business owner, online advertising, consumer spending, small business, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, website visitors, e-commerce

Advertising On Fort Myers Radio Still Best Option During Corona Chaos

Apr 16, 2020 8:31:52 AM / by Larry Julius

The chaos created in Southwest Florida by the onset of Coronavirus has been a disruptive force among consumers. 

Work routines, buying habits, family life, and media consumption have all been palpably affected. These are all factors that need to be considered by small business owners who continue to advertise their goods and services during the crisis.

Before the current chaos, advertising on Fort Myers radio, by any metric, was the best way a local small business could advertise.

For instance, pre-Coronavirus, 807,000 adult consumers tuned-in to a Fort Myers radio station every week. This is significantly more than watched local TV, read a newspaper, accessed social media, or streamed audio from sites like Pandora and Spotify.

New research released from Nielsen indicates that amidst the current crisis, listening to local radio remains little changed. This is great news for those SWFL small business owners who are depending on advertising for their long-term survival.

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Topics pandora, best way to advertise, spotifty, streaming audio, radio advertising, online advertising, digital advertising, social media advertising, newspaper advertising, television advertising, facebook advertising, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing

Fort Myers Small Business Advice: Marketing During The Corona Crisis

Apr 8, 2020 7:07:27 AM / by Larry Julius

In 'normal' times, Southwest Florida consumers would be expected to rack up $22.5 billion in annual retail sales. Of course, since the onset of the Coronavirus crisis, nothing has been normal.

But as Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, explained to Fort Myers-Naples area small business community via teleconference, consumers are still spending. This, it turns out, is normal.

Mr. Borrell shared research from Ibis that demonstrates during every type of crisis, including depressions, recessions, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and, now, pandemics, consumers still spend.

The business literature contains an abundance of examples of how continuing to market and advertise during an economic crisis can help a company survive and emerge from the episode even stronger than before.

SWFL small business owners who do continue to advertise and market, however, should consider modifying their pre-crisis strategy.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business owner, small business, retail sales, retail store, retailer, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing, Borrell Associates

Crisis Marketing: What SWFL Small Business Owners Should Know

Mar 31, 2020 12:57:21 PM / by Larry Julius

Last week, Gordon Borell, CEO of Borrell Associates, shared insights with Southwest Florida small business owners on the value of marketing to consumers during a crisis. A video replay of the teleconference is available by clicking here.

Mr. Borrell is the CEO of Borrell Associates. His company is one of the most trusted sources of trends and forecasts for local media today.

According to Mr. Borrell, despite social distancing and economic jitters induced by the Coronavirus chaos, consumers are still spending money.

He points to research from Ibis that consumer consumption continues in almost every crisis including, depressions, recessions, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and, now, pandemic.

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Topics best way to advertise, retail, small business advertising, radio advertising, small business owner, small business, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing, Borrell Associates

Fort Myers Radio: Who's Listening During The Coronavirus Crisis

Mar 27, 2020 3:32:59 PM / by Larry Julius

In a typical week, 800,000 adult consumers tune-in to Fort Myers radio stations.  But, since the onset of the Coronavirus, the weeks have not been typical.

Before social-distancing and work-from-home orders, 454,000 Southwest Florida consumers would drive to-and-from work each day. More than 94% of these commuters could be reached by radio.  

SWFL small business owners who depend on radio advertising to market their goods and services, therefore, might be concerned that the disruption in commuting patterns could depress the amount of time consumers spend with local radio.

According to market research, however, radio listening remains an important part of the daily life of consumers. Even amid the current chaos.

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Topics best way to advertise, retail, radio advertising, small business owner, small business, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing

Coronavirus: Advertising In SWFL For Small Business Survival

Mar 25, 2020 3:00:44 PM / by Larry Julius

Southwest Florida small business owners are fighting the coronavirus battles on multiple fronts.  Their first objective is to keep their families and employees safe. Then, of course, there are the concerns of keeping their businesses healthy enough to survive current disruptions.

The business literature has an abundance of case studies showing how survival is often connected to a thoughtful communications and marketing strategy during challenging times.  

Business owners need to let Fort Myers-Naples area consumers know if they are still open. If their hours have changed. Or if they are providing alternative shopping methods (e.g., delivery, curbside pick-up).

Most importantly, it is imperative consumers know that a business will still be there for them when the crisis is over.

For those owners who are depending on communication to preserve their business, the best option may be to advertise on Fort Myers radio.

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Topics restaurant, roi, best way to advertise, streaming audio, radio advertising, small business owner, return on investment, social media advertising, facebook, newspaper advertising, television advertising, small business, retail sales, retail store, retailer, facebook advertising, corona, coronavirus, covid 19

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