Whoever you are, the pandemic has exposed shortcomings in the way you do business, forcing you to navigate new circumstances and change your expectations in order to stay afloat. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, there’s no reason to take steps backwards. Before the pandemic, it was easier to ignore bloat and inefficiency; now they are impossible to overlook. The pandemic forced you to innovate and restructure, and instead of undoing that hard work, it’s time to embrace a changed business world and the marketing challenges that come with it.
1. Cost efficiency
Costs should always be a priority target in your management crosshairs, but sometimes good, steady business can mask how much cost you’re incurring. Diminished profits from COVID-19’s assault on the global economy highlighted business costs, with many business owners employing harsher scrutiny in identifying and cutting extraneous expenses.
Marketing costs shouldn’t be exempt, and any effort you made in marketing thriftiness during the pandemic should be maintained going forward. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, or a hand and a foot, or even a toe to spread the word. Weekly mass emails are a great way to keep your existing clientele informed and interested. Regular social media posts don’t cost anything either, and they go a long way in reminding the local community and past customers — your most important — that you’re still kicking. If you feel you must purchase ad space or promotional posts, reduce your ad budget and focus it precisely on who, where, and when you think will be most effective.
2. Change with the consumer
Remember, you’re not the only one who’s having a hard time. Even though no one has stopped spending, we’re all a little more selective about how we spend our money these days. The purchasing power of the average consumer has been dealt a major blow, and even with recovery on the horizon, our economic future is uncertain.
If you notice a change in customer behaviour, such as ordering habits, do what you can to reorganize your products or services on offer in a way that better accommodates that change. Try to identify what you’re lacking in areas where customers demonstrate greater demand, and make sacrifices where you notice demand has decreased. If you’re a restaurant owner and nobody has ordered tater tots in six months, maybe your tater tots aren’t very good, or maybe demand for tater tots is not what it once was; if your customers constantly inquire about curly fries, you may benefit from a social media post advertising curly fries.
3. Fortify your internet presence
You probably already had a website, or at least a Facebook page, before the pandemic. It’s an undeniable requirement for the modern business owner. However, lockdowns and new operating regulations may have revealed just how inadequate and web-inaccessible your business is. Did you watch as competitors with better online reach and infrastructure swept up refugee clientele?
If you don’t have an online point-of-sale structure, or an automated system for submitting quote requests, establishing one should be your number one priority, and various forms of communication, like email, telephone number, and social media profiles, should be listed. If your particular industry is information-heavy, like IT, real estate, marketing, or finance, think about running a blog with regular posts.
Gareth Parkin, CEO of GoPromotional, a promotional products distributor, insists: “Every company big and small should be blogging. Consistent blogging increases our traffic exponentially and highlights valuable information to customers. We share not only product information, but also general marketing tips that would appeal to our base customer, which is anyone shopping for marketing logo items.” Blog content should pertain to your field, be informative, and be attractive to casual readers. If you have the time and resources, a YouTube channel will be an invaluable asset as well, with the added bonus of being able to embed your videos directly on your website or share them on social media.
4. Optimise your search ranking
You can do more to increase the number of people exposed to your business via Google search. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) should become part of your vocabulary, if it isn’t. There are a number of ways you can go about increasing your search ranking, but no SEO effort will be enough on its own.
Start by reviewing your website’s information security protocol. Gone are the days of HTTP — you need to adopt HTTPS, and quickly, to prevent your website, or parts of it, from being flagged by Google as unsecured, which will damage your visitor potential. Go over each section of your website and clean up messy formatting and broken links, which will lessen the chance that unsatisfied visitors will leave your site without meaningful engagement. Once you’ve done that, think about adding an F.A.Q. section, or other written material like the aforementioned blog posts, which will reflect common search terms and make it easier for consumers to stumble upon your business.
5. Exclusive offers
I’ll reiterate: your greatest asset may be the clients you already have. The COVID-19 gauntlet has wiped out much of your lower-tier competition, leaving only the strongest and hungriest. A return customer is your ally, and you must do what you can to keep them coming back.
Running exclusive deals, promotions, contests, giveaways, or raffles will keep you in the consumer’s field of vision, and can be targeted directly at your clientele through email or SMS. Purchasing and using bulk promotional products for giveaways or limited-time specials will draw attention to your brand and serve as a constant piece of real-world advertising.