As a progressive business, you’re not alone in wondering about those “worst-case” scenarios you always said you’d plan for. What if the clients all go away? What if the customers disappear? Depending on your financial situation, these are difficult questions. For business owners, it’s one that may come with tough decisions, like letting go of some of the best talent on their staff — not because they were terrible at their job, but simply because your financial situation couldn’t support keeping them.
In the time of COVID-19, none of this is comfortable to talk about. Nobody is unaffected. Not to mention, that no one can predict what the rest of 2020 holds. We also have to acknowledge that not every crisis situation lasts forever. The sun will come out again and we will regrow our economy and communities, perhaps even stronger than they’ve ever been. That’s why it’s important to be ready today to help position your business in a more positive place tomorrow.
Prepare For Your Time to Shine
If everyone had the time to pause and reflect on challenges in their business and industry, the world would be a much more brilliant place. What if you were told you could use this time outside of the office to build upon your best ideas and bring them to life?
Despite popular sayings that “idle time makes for the devil’s workshop”, there are some pretty significant contributions to our existence that seem to prove the opposite. In 1665, when the University of Cambridge temporarily closed due to the bubonic plague, a young Isaac Newton used his time at home to develop what would become modern-day calculus and sat beneath that apple tree to ultimately discover the theory of gravity.
Now could be your time to shine. To make lemonade out of lemons. After we all find our own form of zen and reluctantly accept that we’re living in “the new normal”, the most positive thing we can do is take a step back and figure out what’s actually important.
Before we dive in, there’s one important disclaimer. Now’s not the time to operate like the Wolf of Wall Street (let’s be honest; that whole thing didn’t end well, anyway). Often the best and most impactful ideas are small and scrappy. They are ideas brought to life creatively with the resources that you have. So with that in mind, let’s get started.
Get Ready to Bounce Back After Losing Customers
A significant reduction in sales or an empty store is not only bad for your bottom line, but can be deflating as a business owner. When your physical location is dependent on being open to the public to generate revenue, you’ll need to find creative ways to attract your audience and keep customer attention.
- Rebuild or update your website, ASAP. Have you not touched your website in a while? At least for the foreseeable future, your website may be the only way people can buy your offering. The investment made in your website today will still continue to pay dividends once things return to “normal”. If budget is an issue, even a few small tweaks to your website can make an impact. Consider what is the most important for your customers and focus your website efforts there.
- Shift to digital marketing materials. Prior to this situation, your best marketing materials may have been postcards, flyers, or event creative. Regardless if you are selling a product or a service, the digital transformation across all industries is well underway. If you do not have an eCommerce platform (Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.) set up, it might be time to invest. If your eCommerce platform is present, you’ll want to spend your time optimizing how your customers can purchase your offerings online versus investing in printed materials. At the very least, invent new ways to get your content online via email, blog posts, or social media until you can interact safely with your customers.
- Invest in a way to track your customers. A Marketing Automation Platform, or MAP, allows you to build full marketing campaign strategies across your email, social media, and website programs. Hubspot is one platform that does it all and is offering some of their services at a reduced cost or free for the first 90 days of signup.
Rebuilding Your Foundation of Customers
Let’s assume that most grappling with this issue are going to be in the professional service industry, affected by people staying home or not buying into additional subscriptions, fees, or conveniences. Get yourself set up for the best way to stand out against the competition once the economy gets back into full gear again.
- Rethink your offering. This is easier said than done. However, if your current offering won’t sell or isn’t as attractive as it once was, find ways to fill the gap. Build on-demand content, move events to an online format, or other ways to acquire customers without needing to meet in person.
- Refresh your creative. In a matter of months, people are going to want to reconnect with the brands that struck a chord with them. Make sure you’re as buttoned up as possible. Is it time to get a new logo? Were you waiting for that website refresh? Now might be the best time you have to dive in and think about those things that you feel were holding you down.
- Consider passion projects and internal initiatives. If you’re still cash-positive, but have team members with available bandwidth, consider other areas they can work on besides client projects. Brainstorm the ways you can help your community, build your own proprietary software, or educate your staff on innovative programs and trends. Take the downtime to learn something new that ends up benefiting your team in the long run. The growth and development makes your team feel more valuable, which nurtures the employees who are more loyal to your company.
Being There for Customers Who Have Avoided Your Brand
If you work in an industry that became a ghost town, like airlines or hotels, it’s important to remember that this is (hopefully) a temporary thing. As people venture out again, it’s likely that your product will become more marketable again. You’ll want to invest your dollars in the smartest way possible over the next few months.
- Think into the future. Airlines and hotels will eventually start getting used again. People will crave the experience of dining out in a restaurant when it’s safe again. Neighbors and relatives will want to reconnect and have dinners together. Where will your product be in the new normal? Whatever that strategy is for your business, start making that vision happen now.
- Offer loyalty incentives. When things return to normal (or even sooner), thank those who stuck with your product through the tough times. Offer them a special promotion, coupon, or freebie in thanks.
- Don’t go silent. In the current environment, people aren’t connecting with your business just because they don’t want to hear from you; they’re overwhelmed and need a breather from “all the things.” Aspects of life are being reprioritized. Be selective, thoughtful, and intentional with your communications, but don’t stop the conversation.
Unphased and Still Thriving in this New World?
? But like all successful businesses, we still aspire to be stronger and learn how to improve our craft. All of these ideas still can benefit your business.
It All Starts With One Step
Sometimes, you know you want to start, but the biggest challenge is figuring out how and when. The Label Collective is an experienced brand and marketing partner for businesses of all sizes. To ensure you are set up for what happens next, our team is offering a complimentary one-hour advisory call about your business brand and marketing strategy with no additional commitment necessary. If you’re looking for a new perspective, or just another voice to hear on a Zoom call during this time out of the office, let’s find some time to talk.Let's Get Creative