Chances are your small business may have been adversely affected whilst the country has been in lockdown. Especially those who own face-to-face businesses such as plumbers, hairdressers, and electricians. Before COVID-19, most of your time may have been spent with your customers and it’s likely your marketing was done this way too. Now lockdown is easing, you may be looking at adapting your business model, growing your business further, or simply just getting back out there to get back on your feet. Whichever situation you find yourself in post lockdown, there are a number of ways to take control, get back in the driver’s seat and make sure your business can survive and thrive after lockdown.
Getting extra funds for your business
In response to COVID-19 a number of response funds and help for small businesses have been made widely available. Grants and loans are coming to an end during August 2020 but further details of their availability can be found here.
Adapting your customer touchpoints
Firstly, let’s look at your existing business practices when it comes to interacting with customers. Are there any ways you contact your existing customers that work well; such as using email newsletters or social media? Next, have you made any changes during lockdown that have worked well and you want to keep? Perhaps you’ve been able to offer socially distanced or online consultations, or offering free local delivery of your products. Asking your customers for feedback will allow you to implement changes to your business model as you move forward, to ensure you’re fulfilling their new needs.
Methods of advertising
The way you market and promote your business is another customer touchpoint as this includes advertisements and content promoting your products or services. Before lockdown, you may have been using traditional methods of advertising including paid search ads or posting information on social media. However post lockdown, how you advertise your business may need to change to reflect changing customer needs and demographics. Think about whether your customers are now more likely to order online for local delivery or collection. Or whether footfall has increased as people start to stay and buy locally due to cautiousness or travel restrictions.
Free online tools
Another way to reach out to new potential clients is to use the abundance of free online tools that have been developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes:
- YouTube’s Video Builder Tool, which allows users to create and share a video ad free of charge
- Pinterest’s virtual shopping platform using its new Verified Merchant Program so customers can find and buy from vetted brands
- Instagram’s Gift Card Stickers, where users can add food delivery, gift card and fundraising stickers to their Instagram stories
- Facebook’s new Business Resource Hub, helping users to post effective content
Utilise social media platforms
Social media is a great tool to use to interact with existing and potential customers. Not only is it the place to showcase your brand and products but it’s the perfect way to show off your personality. As the majority of social media sites are free to sign up to, they make for a fantastic marketing tool and can help to build networks and communities. Take care to help customers explore new products, and hone your customer service skills to ensure you keep your existing clientele happy. Places like Twitter and Facebook also offer polls so you can get feedback on products and services, or even about new ideas you’re thinking of implementing. Communication at this time is key, with many people who used to shop on the high street, now shopping online.
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To fulfill the needs of a new emerging customer base, you can look at taking your business fully online using virtual reality or implementing new services such as personal Virtual Shopping. Consultations and client meetings that are typically done face to face can be done over video conferencing. Or you could show your customers around your showroom or shop, walking and talking as they pick out items they’d like to purchase. Other virtual elements could include content that allows customers to find out which of your products best fulfills their needs, in the form of a quiz or questionnaire. Offering these alternative styles of purchasing may help to boost physical sales.Need to adapt your business model for current times? Read our tips on how small businesses can thrive post lockdown. Click To Tweet
The way we work and do business has definitely altered and seemingly may be in a state of flux for some time. However, identifying with your existing and new customer base will likely help you to adapt to these changes. Implementing new technologies and processes to best serve your customer’s needs can go some way to help your small business survive and thrive post lockdown.