The Covid-19 pandemic changed everything, particularly business.
Supply chains are disrupted, workers are changing careers, and customers are buying less. Virtually every aspect of business has been affected by the pandemic.
But there is a small ray of hope. Companies that quickly adapt to the “new normal” are seeing positive growth and prosperity. Businesses that think fast and pivot their strategies to go with, rather than against, these changes can find success.
One central area where businesses need to adapt and grow is in their digital marketing strategy. You must monitor what’s going on and change in time to continue operations and grow your customer base beyond pre-Covid levels.
Here are five ways to get more customers and adapt to the changing business landscape.
Restructure Your Referral Programs
Do you already have a referral program? If not, get one started ASAP. The importance of referral programs is often overlooked by many businesses. You might think your business is in the wrong industry or wouldn’t benefit from referrals. But you’d be wrong. Any company, from small to large and any product or service benefits from referrals.
Who wouldn’t want an army of dedicated salespeople promoting their product or service? Turning your existing and loyal customers into brand advocates is powerful. New customers are much more likely to listen to people outside the company about a product or service.
But in the post-Covid era, you must reconsider the old way of running everything, including referrals. Instead of doing things as usual, ask yourself, “how much are these referrals really worth?” Are your brand advocates willing to promote you for something besides money? What else can you offer that won’t subtract from your bottom line?
Also, don’t overlook your team. Employee referral programs can be as effective as outside customers. Plus, you can be a bit more flexible in what you offer employees. Instead of giving away goods or services, you can offer things like days off, flex time, wfh hours, or other creative motivators.
Bottom line: Get creative with your referral programs internally and externally. Find alternative options for your rewards that will keep people motivated and protect your profits.
Promote & Help Ordinary Heroes
We all know the benefits of leveraging influencers to help promote your goods or services. They have thousands or millions of followers – who wouldn’t want to tap into their resources?
But don’t overlook the Regular Joe. There are many people out there with powerful stories of surviving, pushing through difficult times, etc., that need help and assistance. They might not have millions of followers, but that doesn’t mean they are less important than significant influencers.
Think hard about what your company values. What are your core values, and what do you want to promote in your community? Once you know that, find appropriate local stories and local heroes to connect with and support. Consider making a financial contribution or going down and volunteering as a company.
Bottom line: Think of your company as a person that’s part of the local community. Try to get involved in helping and supporting local heroes and people struggling to survive or make a difference. But also have a real commitment to change and to help. If you just come across as someone looking for a bit of cheap promotion, people will pick up on that. “The internet never forgets,” as they say.
Create Value Options
No one wants their product to be viewed as cheap. But during a recession, people are on the hunt for deals wherever they can get them. So, how do you maintain your brand’s integrity while still meeting customers in the middle regarding lower costs?
Restructuring and repackaging things is an excellent way to provide better value to your customers without cheapening your brand. Creating less expensive alternatives doesn’t cheapen your brand. It simply gives your customers a more wallet-friendly option.
For example, consider splitting up your packages into individual products if you usually sell a set of services. That way, your customers can pick and pay for only the services they need now. Or, if you typically sell 1000 grams of something, try selling 500 grams instead. The goal is to lower the initial price your customers see. Often, you’ll be able to sell your goods or services for the same price. But the costs will appear lower to your customers.
Bottom line: Do whatever you can to help your customers afford your products or service. As budgets tighten, customers will be forced to make hard choices about what they continue to buy. It’s better to sell a few smaller things than nothing.
Establish Yourself as an Essential Service
We’re not saying turn your business into a food takeaway company.
Essential doesn’t always imply that your customers are physically reliant on your products or services. Your products can offer much-needed emotional support, provide valuable information, or make daily life easier.
For example, if you sell furniture, you can customize your marketing to highlight how you help solve work-from-home issues. Share how comfortable your chairs are for those sitting at home for extended periods or the greater organization your shelving and desks provide. Or, if you sell a child’s toy, highlight how well it keeps kids occupied and entertained during the day.
You’ll want to shift your marketing efforts to become a solution to something in your customer’s daily routine. Maybe your site becomes a daily check-in for some essential local updates or gives some other vital and valuable information.
Bottom line: Consider on your own or talk to your customers directly and find out what they’re struggling with now that they weren’t before. Then, look through your products or services and discover fresh, practical, and relevant applications that solve these pain points.
Don’t Neglect the Fundamentals
While everything is changing, many old habits and traditional marketing principles still apply. As more business and shopping is being done remotely, all of your company’s communication channels must be up to date, polished, and professional.
Double and triple-check your websites, social media pages, and blogs to ensure that they have accurate information and current best practices in place. As customers tighten their budgets, little details will be the difference between continuing to buy or looking elsewhere.
Beyond your digital channels, ensure all your customer communications are on point, professional, and positive. Always go the extra mile to be helpful and courteous with your customers.
Bottom line: While business is changing because of the pandemic, the baselines for customer expectations are still the same. And, if anything, the details in your website and customer service are more vital than ever. Customers weigh every decision differently, and a small dropped detail could send them to your competition.
While we’d all love it if we never heard about Covid again, the reality is that it has uprooted our lives in multiple ways. It’s unlikely we’ll return to pre-Covid levels anytime soon and will feel the ramifications of this pandemic for years to come.
Instead of sulking around wishing things were what they used to be, embracing the change is better. Businesses that will thrive post-covid look at these changes as opportunities to do things differently.
But you can’t just expect your customers to connect the dots for you. To succeed, you must change your marketing to reflect the changes you’re making internally. This might mean changing some details of your overall SEO strategy so that you can rank for these new strategies.
If you’re struggling to see the opportunities available or with implementing your new SEO strategies, please reach out to us. We love helping small businesses thrive in their digital marketing efforts.