The pandemic of 2020 hit businesses hard. Many of them, especially those that relied on brick-and-mortar stores, had to close either temporarily or permanently. There were no customers to serve because most people quarantined to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. Or if there were customers to serve, they were too small a number, and catering to them proved impractical cost-wise.
If your business is still up and running, consider yourself lucky. And consider yourself quite excellent at what you do too. After all, it takes both boldness and ingenuity to continue to thrive in this business landscape. Yes, you deserve a pat on the back.
However, you cannot afford to be complacent. Sure, vaccines have rolled out, and in no time, things will go back to the old normal thanks to what medical experts call herd immunity. But how we conduct business has changed. And those changes will carry on even post-pandemic. You must adapt like a pro. Here are some recommendations to bolster business beyond pandemic.
Listen to your customers
Widen your perspective. Keep in mind that everyone has been affected by the pandemic. Not just your business. Most likely, a considerable chunk of your customers lost their jobs or had to contend with having their salaries reduced by employers. Let them know that you empathize with their situation.
You can ask walk-in customers to accomplish printed surveys. Or, if you already have an existing directory, reach out to your customers via email or SMS. Ask them how you can better conduct business with their needs in mind.
Tailor-fit your messaging
After listening to what your customers have to say, don’t let the information you get go to waste. Use them to tailor-fit your messaging into something palatable and digestible to your target audience. Gone are the days when you can send out broad messages, hoping that they somehow resonate with any market demographic. These days, it’s more cost-efficient to have a recipient in mind before even composing what you have to say.
More importantly, you cannot ignore the current state of things. Your customers want to hear from you. But they do not want to hear from you reaching out as if things are business as usual. Another aspect of tailored messaging is recognizing what’s happening now. There’s a pandemic that has changed virtually all aspects of our lives, which should be reflected in what you say.
If you haven’t yet, it’s time to explore e-commerce as a supplemental sales platform, if not a replacement for your brick-and-mortar shop. Pandemic or no pandemic, businesses – especially those selling consumer goods – have so much growth potential online.
Among all industries, e-commerce is the only one that grew in the past year. People self-isolating and needing to shop fueled its exponential growth, and experts predict it will continue for years to come. Do not deprive yourself of a piece of that humongous pie.
Exhaust different online marketing channels
Now is the time to establish an online presence. And it’s in your best interest to expand that online presence beyond your official website. Doing so will enable you to benefit from the digital marketing opportunities available at your disposal.
Regardless of your marketing budget, you can exhaust a variety of online marketing platforms—for instance, social media. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have free analytics tools that will help you assess the effectiveness of your marketing efforts on those sites.
Other options to explore include pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and content marketing.
Engage with your customers online
It’s not enough that you’re on Facebook or Twitter posting content that’s on-point with your branding. You must go out of your way to keep your customers, or followers, for that matter, engaged. So do not ignore those likes or shares or comments. Make it a habit to respond whenever you can. Stay in conversation with your target market, so your brand never leaves its realm of consciousness.
Also, maximize customer-generated marketing. This strategy refers to any type of content your loyal customers create for you for free. An unboxing video falls under this content category.
Speaking of unboxing videos, get creative with your product packaging. While in the past a product’s box was only meant to keep it safe, these days, a product’s package adds value to the customer experience. That’s most true if you get the bulk of your sales online, and there’s limited chance for your customers to derive joy and excitement from walking into your shop and basking in its unique layout.
At the least, make your product packaging interesting. If it’s interesting enough, your customers might be inspired to capture unboxing videos, post them on social media, and have your brand go viral without you investing a single centavo.
Come up with exclusive deals and offers
Once people regain the confidence to go out and shop from brick-and-mortar shops, make sure you have something exciting to offer. Make sure that those customers will come back. One way to pull that off is by offering exclusive deals and promos.
For example, give vouchers to online customers who spend a certain amount on your products and services. That voucher can be exchanged for freebies. Offer loyalty discounts to customers who visit and spend in your shop X times a month. Anything that will communicate your appreciation for your customer’s loyalty, so long as it does not compromise your target profit, do it.
During the pandemic, only the fittest businesses survived. And you have so much to celebrate if you are one of the few who did. But after you popped open a bottle of champagne and toasted to your having defeated what’s probably one of the biggest challenges an entrepreneur could face, it should be back to the drawing board for you. No, this is not the time to rest on your laurels.
Reevaluate your marketing plans. Explore new and relevant marketing channels. Focus on your existing customers without missing opportunities to tap new markets. Once the pandemic is over, many will get back in the game. New ones will join. There will be a fiercer competition. So make sure you level up your play.
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