COVID-19 has impacted drastically retailers and manufacturers, threatening small businesses to shut down. While there is a sense of uncertainty and consumption has declined, business owners can make adjustments according to current consumers behaviour to keep afloat during this crisis.
These times call for digital options, innovations and new approaches in marketing strategies. For small businesses this could seem overwhelming and the need of big budgets. However, you just requiere to make the right moves to keep your brand and store overcome these difficult times.
According to a survey by Numerator, “1 in 3 consumers indicate news of Coronavirus has already impacted their shopping behavior [… ] purchasing products they wouldn’t otherwise have purchased, shopping online when they would usually shop in store, and shopping in new stores”. The same study also affirms that “1 in 4 consumers were replacing in-store shopping trips with online”.
A poll by Coresight Research revealed that 47.2% of US internet users are currently avoiding shopping centers and malls, whilst 74.6% said they will steer away from shopping centers if the outbreak worsens.
As bad as things might look, even with shortages and unemployment rates rising, this represents great opportunities for online business presence.
The Forrester’s Consumer Energy Index has made three important conclusions that can be applied to small and local businesses: (1) Don’t expect consumers to be eager to buy your next big thing; (2) Craft messages that match the emotional tenor of your customers in this moment (3) Earning trust is your metric for success during this time.
As we mentioned before, this is a call for digital moves. To tackle customer behaviours and feelings, small businesses can apply digital marketing strategies that cultivate loyalty within their community or expand and diversify their market. In spite of shortages or unemployment rates rising, people are using the internet more than ever.
Here are some useful recommendations that you as a business owner can implement with the help of a digital agency:
Be useful to your community
How your brand or your business can be useful to your target audience? Provide some guidance on how your products or services are useful in this time. Share your knowledge. Demonstrate that your business is trustworthy and cultivate loyalty among your customers. Think about a content strategy that focuses on the needs and sentiments of your customers right now, making use of all your digital channels.
Diversify your audience
If you’re a well known local store in your community passing through hard times, maybe it’s time to expand your business beyond your local customers. This doesn’t mean an investment in branches, it’s about broad online visibility. As people are searching on the internet more than ever, you can run SEO and PPC campaigns that target other counties or states audiences looking for the kind of products or services you offer.
SEO is a long term investment that will positionate your brand organically as consumers use the internet to make searches, even after the pandemic. In addition to the previous tip, businesses can use SEO content to educate and inform their customers while ranking higher in search engines.
On the other hand, PPC has a short term result, promoting your products or services right in front of internet users. Whilst many companies are setting back from their PPC campaigns, bidding and ads are turning cheaper during this time of pandemic. Give it a try!
Diversify your payment methods
Your customers are having a hard time as well as you. Consider using payment plans, methods and discounts that reduce their financial burden. This would increase your conversion rate.
In conclusion, we’re all this together. Build an empathetic brand that understands your customers and cultivates loyalty. Maybe you won’t see as many transactions as before, but people will remember you. Innovate in simple ways that make your business thrive. No need to be greedy, just creative. Instead of promoting “Hot COVID-19 sales”, you can communicate with your customers and broaden your constituency beyond your local area or usual buyers.