The COVID-19 outbreak is a serious global health crisis. It’s resulted in mandated school and business closures across North America and the rest of the globe. In a world where social distancing seems to be the new norm to slow down the spread of the disease, small businesses are carrying the burden of stressful and scary times.
The economic impact of the pandemic has left small businesses thinking about the impact on global supply chain and markets worldwide. Many will survive the tide, and many will drown. As a marketing agency, there’s not one solution we can provide to resolve the crisis. The best way we know to support small businesses is by providing you with creative ideas to make the most out of the current conditions:
Customer Relationships and Loyalty
Invest in building deeper, more meaningful relationships. This means it’s best to spend a little bit more time speaking to your customers to understand the changing demands of their business and their end consumer’s expectations. While you may be in a state of panic, so are your customers. Building trust, listening to their needs, working with them to find the best solution to keep them afloat is what you must do.
Communicate Often and With Transparency
Take a moment to understand your customer demands and their changing business. Strategize clearly and with transparency. Have more touchpoints than usual with your consumers and rally your troops to support and guide them as best as you can.
Keep the momentum going while staying agile and flexible to the growing demands and changing needs of your end consumers. Things are changing on a daily basis at this stage and therefore it’s important to stay agile with your marketing campaigns and continue to create relevant content and be more active on social media.
Diversify and Think Outside the Box
Crisis can bring us strength and the ability to be creative. Perhaps this is the time to shift your focus and pivot and develop strategies to keep things going while staying futuristic and optimistic. If you are a brick and mortar business, is ecommerce the next step in your business model?
If you’ve been providing one to one services, this is a time to build a membership program. Or if you are in a business, but there is a gap to build an app or a web portal, should you take that leap to develop something unique in your industry and build a separate niche. As a small business, we can sometimes lose our passion in the minutia of daily operations. It’s time to reignite the passion, reinvent ourselves, and become more resilient and responsive to the demands of the market.
Continue to Market:
Sales and budgets continue to shrink while there’s uncertainty. Marketing seems like an expense and not necessity to some businesses in times like this. However, cutting down your marketing that you have spent a lot of time and resources in building a momentum for may not be the right solution.
- Invest in Paid Ads: While consumer behaviour will shift to meet the current situation, your paid advertising campaigns will continue to drive high quality traffic. While competitors are slashing their marketing budgets, you must take advantage of the lower cost per click and show up more often in Google searches. During these uncertain times the first step should be to listen to your end consumers and adjust your marketing and your paid advertising campaigns to meet those needs. For example, a sign business could possibly focus on social distancing signs and COVID safety signs for essential businesses. Or business to business companies can create content in social media templates to communicate with their consumers more effectively.
- Content is Still King: Another way to make the most of things during these challenging times could be to amp up your content marketing and up your game. This is a perfect time for providing valuable relevant information for your target audience and gaining a larger “mindshare” than “marketshare”. Please make sure that the message tone and voice are appropriate given the situation. It is your time as a company to showcase your human side. Be more empathetic and have a conversation with your audience. Most people aren’t interested in a sales pitch right now.
- Repurpose and Build for SEO: It’s time to boost your search engine optimization plan by adding more relevant content to already ranking webpages and blogs. Some business owners get so buried under the operations workload that they never look back at their website testimonials, gallery, and images. Maybe this is the time to work on uplifting your overall brand image and sprucing up your web presence.
- Enhance Relevancy and Increase Brand Visibility on Social media: More people are glued to their sofas and computers as well as social channels during isolation. Take advantage of this and run low budget social ads and become more active with your social media presence. Get more exposure and build your brand visibility. Remember it’s the time to build share of mind rather than share of market because if you get share of mind you will eventually get share of market. In general people aren’t as open to sales messages right now.
Lastly, use the resources made available in your local communities by your federal and local government to help support local businesses.
As a small business, you have the ownership and responsibility to keep the economy fluid and hence do whatever you can in your power to keep yourself afloat and create enormous value for your customers and shareholders. Find a like-minded group of small business owners to brainstorm new ideas and reach out to your marketing agency to develop a plan that’s futuristic, optimistic, and growth centric.