Globally, more than 80% of small businesses are already directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Add those who are indirectly affected by it and you’ll see we’re all in the same boat – sailing in the dark.
Every statistic and report you read now will make your skin crawl. The worst of it is, perhaps, the fact that we have no certainty. We don’t know exactly when the crisis will be over and when we will return to normal.
Even more, we don’t know what the new normal will look like. For now, the only certainty we have is uncertainty.
I’m not writing all this to add to your concerns. I’m sure you already knew most of these things. I’m laying them down to emphasize that the time to prepare is now.
In one way or another, your business has been hit by the current health crisis. Most likely, you are not working at full capacity and wondering how you’re going to be able to get back into shape after the crisis is over.
I’m here to answer that question. Let’s see what you can do NOW to help your business thrive as soon as the lockdown is over.
1. Remember that social distancing is not for brands
You may be tempted to shut down every social media channel and email communication. Why bother if no one is going to buy from you right now?
Don’t do that!
Keep on communicating every time you have something relevant to say. Speak to your followers and your subscribers and explain how your business is changing right now.
Mention any special measures you have taken to ensure safety (if you’re still operating). Ask for their support – local businesses can make ends meet by selling vouchers redeemable within a year or offer impressive discounts, for instance.
Whatever you do, don’t shut down. People forget brands easily and you want to stay top of mind for when the crisis is over.
2. Focus on your existing customers
Reach out to existing clients even if you can’t sell them anything right now. Be transparent about how you can support them – now and in the future. They are the people to keep close right now.
Make sure they hear from you at least once every two weeks. You can still help them, even if only with a list of free streaming services or a good article about coping with the lockdown.
Key takeaway: show that you care.
3. Time to cross things off that old to-do list
When it comes to digital marketing, we all have a new idea or tool we’ve been wanting to try or a new tactic that we’ve been wanting to vet but kept putting off due to lack of time. NOW we have all that time. So why not do what you normally can’t do?
Here are some ideas to look into during lockdown:
- New marketing automation software: a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) or an all-in-one Intranet platform are all things you can start studying now and asking questions about. By the time the lockdown is over, you may have even implemented a few of them throughout your business.
- New remote working tools. I’ve been conducting remote businesses for years now. We have team members working on projects remotely at any given time. I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that you can always improve on how you conduct business remotely. Go ahead and test project management, video conferencing, tracking or messaging solutions while you have the time. Perhaps you’ll end up deciding that part of your operations will remain remote even after the crisis is over.
- Competitor analysis. Be honest – you’ve always wanted to dig deeper into competitor analysis. But you’ve never had the hours to spend studying their website, search engine performance, their blog and their social media accounts. Now you’ve got them. Run a complete analysis of what they’re doing better than you and where you’ve already beaten them.
4. Invest in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
However your business is doing right now (whether you’ve shut down operations almost completely or you’re in one of those industries that’s still running at full speed), my advice is to invest part of your budget in SEO.
Any investment you make right now will peak within 4 to 6 weeks, just in time to thrive in the post-pandemic world.
Better yet, your competitors will most likely refrain from SEO investments. This is your chance to get ahead.
Wrapping things up
Fear that people don’t want to hear anything that’s not related to the day’s grim news? They do, actually.
People still care about the industries they work in, their supply routines routines, their markets and even their travel plans (albeit they are on hold). So talk about what you know best.
Lastly, remember one thing that hasn’t changed: businesses are about people. Or at least they should be. If you’ve neglected to really make your audience the star of your marketing campaigns, now is the time to do so.
Now more than ever people want to do business with companies that show they care about their clients. This will not change when the lockdown is over. Show that you care by tailoring your products or services to deliver exactly what your clients want.