Weathering the COVID-19 storm is going to require unprecedented levels of trust and authenticity between client and business. Survival requires an eye on the future, especially in terms of what moves businesses can make today to come out on the other side posed to strike. A digital coronavirus survival guide is critical.
Maintaining a digital presence is THE ONLY OPTION. You can be seen, heard, and promoted, especially if what you’re promoting are products and services that will help your own customers recover in the aftermath.
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Survey the Current Landscape
It’s true that things look pretty hairy right now. The paradigm shift, especially for small businesses, of taking their brick and mortar online feels overwhelming. We get it. The good news, though, is that you’ve probably already been taking steps to offer digital services. Do you have a business website? Facebook page? Online ordering system? You’re already halfway there! The new “stay-at-home” economy is your chance to truly transition to what we believe the future of business-consumer interactions are going to look like, while the businesses that drag their feet get left behind.
Be Real with Your Employees
At a time like this, you’re going to want to keep your employees in the loop on every move you make. One of your first priorities is making sure that they’re still getting paid. For many of you, that means creating some kind of digital service that they can help you provide.They can also be an amazing source of ideas and talent that can help you make this critical shift.
Create Your Own Version of “Essential”
We see you, little boutique store on the corner. You’re wondering how in the world you’re supposed to make your fancy French candles and your hand-milled soap into an essential product when it seems like the world is more focused on toilet paper and bottled water. In times of crisis, though, people seek out the familiar. They seek out new methods of self-care and stress relief. They seek out ways to improve their lives. Surely, selling a stress-relief kit complete with bath salts, candles, soaps, and a bar of dark chocolate would make a stressed out mom’s heart sing. Be creative about what makes you essential.
Stay in Touch with Every Client & Customer
In the days following the news about COVID-19 coming to America, we all got emails from every single company that we’d ever even thought about buying something from. To be honest, it was a little obnoxious and a lot impersonal. Do better. For many small businesses, you have a customer base that is intimate enough to make things a little special. Pull customer data about recent purchases, compose a warm letter letting them know that you’re eager to see them again, assign a few employees to start crafting emails, and offer coupons tailored to their shopping habits. Voila!
Unlock Hidden Value
It can be a tough call to make, especially when the financial future of your business feels so uncertain, but now is the time to start offering more than your customers pay for. Whether that’s in the form of a “buy one now, get one free” or giving them more of your time than you normally would, customers that feel like you support them are going to support you today and later down the road.
Keep the Content Fresh and Relevant
Entertainment and information are two very, very hot commodities right now. For a lot of folks, there’s more free time in the day than we know what to do with… and that includes endlessly scrolling through social media. Make your content stand out amongst the bad news, fear mongering, and false information by keeping things optimistic and enjoyable. Use bright colors, catchy taglines, and multimedia to catch customers’ eye, then use a big ol’ dose of knowledge of your field to sell yourself.
Offer Future Deliverables Today
Pre-orders are big business. If you can create enough real hype around your product or service, people may be willing to shell out the cash now if you can make good on the promise later. With movements suggesting that we support local businesses by purchasing gift cards, you have a particularly sympathetic audience to work with. If there’s a way for you to get a little cash in your pocket today, you’ll have more success weathering the storm.
Keep On Keepin’ On
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you are in control of how much love and time you pour into your business, your customers, and your online presence. Isolation, fear, and uncertainty can sap us of our ability to look on the bright side of things. Don’t let those temporary feelings create permanent problems. Be a solution seeker, do what you can when you can, and let the things that you can’t control slip on by.