It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on our economy. We’re now at the point of losing at least $2 billion in wages per day, with hourly workers and small businesses hit the hardest. Those in the hospitality, travel and restaurant industries are facing uncertain futures, and even essential businesses with brick-and-mortar storefronts are feeling the economic slowdown. And what about consumers? With many facing stay-at-home orders, they’ve turned their attention to the web. Ecommerce has jumped nearly 30% since March.
As we anticipate life returning to normal or evolving into a new normal, the best thing we can do is prepare our businesses to hit the ground running and make up for the time we lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To make that a little less daunting, we can break that task down into two phases: what we can do now, and what we should do when it’s time to get back to business as usual.
What We Can Do Now…
These are the things we can do today to prepare for our future return to normalcy. These tasks will be especially valuable to business owners who feel like they’re stuck in a holding pattern.
First, stay in front of your clients and customers. Social media is going to be your most powerful asset for this. Post daily to remain relevant and stay in front of your customers. Let them know what you’re up to and how you’re dealing with the current situation. More than 62% of people predicted they would increase their Facebook usage in the event of a stay-at-home order—a pretty significant increase, and big opportunity to increase your visibility.
Despite that, many businesses have reined in their budget for marketing ad spend. However, paying to boost a post or two could be well worth it—even if you don’t see returns right away.
Besides social media, email is another powerful tool for communication. Send your customers updates and keep them informed about your availability. But! A word of caution: don’t be tone-deaf. Read your audience, and don’t try to profit off the pandemic. Instead, be sincere and offer tips for staying safe and healthy.
Next, continue to invest in your current marketing strategy—if you can. Abandoning your current marketing efforts could have an adverse effect you when it comes time to return to business as usual. Instead, continue to produce content, refine your SEO strategy to continue getting found in search and pursue other marketing avenues that will get you seen by more potential customers. You need to be prepared to ride out the wave with your current tactics.
This downtime is also the perfect opportunity to future-proof, and make adjustments to, your business. Can you expand your current offerings? If you run a restaurant, consider offering family-sized meals to go. If you’re a brick-and-mortar location, you might find a powerful solution in e-commerce. If you make these adjustments now, you’ll be prepared if something like this ever happens again in the future. It’ll also give you the chance to add new opportunities and improve your business overall.
Finally, work on business development and have a plan ready for when the world opens back up for business. You need to be ready to hit the ground running. Focus on your target-client lists, sales strategy and methods to increase business.
What We Can Do When We’re Back in Business
When everything opens back up and the economy gets going again, there are a few things we can do to set our businesses up for the best chance at success.
First, have your open-for-business announcement and messaging ready to go. A prerequisite to this is staying in touch with your customers and keeping them updated throughout the duration of the stay-at-home order. You’ll need to be ready with your announcements and have both emails and social posts queued up and ready to send and post.
Remember: you won’t be the only business ready to get back out there with a restarted economy. You’ll need to cut through the noise with loud-and-clear messaging that resonates with your ideal customers.
Next, have an outreach strategy ready for your existing clients. If you had to pause or postpone your services, be prepared to reach out to your clients and have a plan ready for how to resume business as usual.
Finally, be ready to make up for lost time. Get out there and market, market, market. You’ll need to be aggressive to be heard through the noise and connect with your ideal customers.
We’re in This Together
Though you might feel alone and isolated while you’re stuck at home, we’re all in this together. With luck, this will end quickly and allow us to regain a sense of normalcy. While the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, we hope everyone stays safe and healthy!