COVID-19 has taken a lot of businesses by surprise on a global scale. What this directly translated to was a loss of jobs that still persists to this current day.
For instance, many companies have decided to cut their losses and close the gates, instead of realizing that now is actually the time to invest.
In what? Online marketing. Why? Because since we’re currently confined to our own homes, as consumers, we’ve begun spending 30% more of our budget online than before quarantine. This behavior is likely to continue after the pandemic too, as habits tend to become second nature after a couple months.
As such, this habit which we’ve developed (shopping online as a response to restricting circumstances) is going to have long term effects, and businesses that want to thrive must adapt to this new reality. This is perhaps even truer for local businesses, because as this is basically a time of mutual help and understanding, a sense of community has formed between people.
Thanks to this sense of community, consumers are even more likely to support their community member’s businesses.
Adaptability is Key
Ultimately, for a lot of people, what self-isolation means is boredom. In consequence, if one business sells products that are a perfect fit for DIY projects (re-painting the bedroom, tending the garden etc), now is actually the perfect time for them to have an enhanced online presence.
Hope isn’t under any shape or form lost for other types of businesses though. We’ve already seen examples such as concerts being streamed, and restaurants switching their entire business strategy to deliveries.
However, in order for any such ideas to be successful, it is imperative that your customers know you’re making an effort to provide quality products or services both during this time, as well as moving onwards.
Moreover, this guarantees your organisation is going to have continuous cash flow, and that you aren’t going to be forced to let employees go.
Now is the time to generate leads, to create brand awareness, and to commit to those decisions which might seem riskier under normal circumstances. That’s because they’ll aid you in creating a pipeline that’ll give you a head start once things have calmed down.
Instead of rebuilding down the line, you’ll only have to improve on what’s already there.
Now Is The Time For CSR
Corporate social responsibility is a good practice by itself, and since the idea of a community is especially important now, it will prove even more valuable for your business. If possible, one of the best ways to both gather goodwill from your customers and to lend a helping hand as well is to donate to health services.
This doesn’t have to be a direct donation, mind you. You can create offers such as “for every X purchase, Y% goes to this health service”.
Create employee discounts for your products, start a fundraiser, market charity events you are part of; the choices are many.
Ensuring Constant Online Presence
Since customers are buying online even more than before, one of the key practices you should undertake is investing into improving your online ad (PPC) campaigns.
For example, many ecommerce stores have ignored that their access to potential customers is now greater. Even if the product itself isn’t perfectly suited to a “stay at home” scenario (let’s say car accessories), this doesn’t mean those products will never be used again. Or that there aren’t people that were meaning to buy the type of products you sell for a while now but didn’t get around to it.
With the right marketing approach, your products can be presented as still relevant, but care must be taken not to appear as if you’re taking advantage of COVID-19, or taking it too lightly.
Again, it’s important to realize that the current buying trends are not temporary… Once things fully return to normal, this established behavior of online shopping will likely continue. Even if you’re affected to a larger degree by the pandemic (maybe you’re providing a service not that well suited to a pandemic scenario), you should still make online marketing efforts.
Post on social media, interact online with your customers, hear their concerns and reassure them that you’ve adapted your business to current guidelines. Make use of PPC to drive traffic to your products. Etc.
At the end of the day, if you don’t make these efforts, your competition is going to.