The cases of COVID-19 are increasing at an alarming rate around the globe and to prevent the spread of disease, governments around the globe are taking measures of social distancing. No doubt, social distancing and home quarantine are necessary for the health of our communities.
However, it is being catastrophic for many medium and small scale businesses that rely on in-person activities to flourish. Whether it is a restaurant, cleaning services or florist shop, every business has to completely upend their strategies to make sure they survive the pandemic.
In this blog, we are sharing five creative strategies that small and medium scale business should try to succeed during this tough period of social distancing:
1. Extend Your Market
Many businesses are experiencing that their existing clientele is not able to make use of products or services, as the coronavirus outbreak has narrowed current purchasing to essentials only.
For example, cleaning service providers in countries that are badly impacted by Coronavirus are experiencing loss in business as people didn’t want any service providers to come into their homes.
To prevent losing customers, cleaning service providers are offering disinfection and sterilization services for entrances of the building that were still in use. Although the demand is not similar to normal, it is at least enabling them to survive during an unprecedented period.
Similarly, food delivery applications like Zomato are offering essential items like groceries to the needies as they are getting fewer orders for food delivery. Pharmacy sellers in many countries are offering home delivery services to continue operating.
2. Consider New Ways to Offer Products
Many dine-in restaurants and bars are offering curbside pickup. However, other brick-and-mortar businesses need something personal to retain their customers.
When your business model is the one that involves people coming into your store and interact with you, you need to think out of the box to make that happen virtually. For instance, if you run a personalized gift shop where you help people in the right direction through the ideas they bring, how will make your customers coming to you when social distancing is in its full swing?
In such a situation, Google form can be your go-to option. Create a Google form with questions that customers generally ask when they come for personalized gifts and help them find the perfect gift, even when you can’t meet them in-person.
Service-oriented businesses like fitness studio and yoga centers are taking virtual sessions to make sure they don’t lose their clientele during this quarantine period. They are also expanding their services by offering classes for kids who are sitting at home and unable to go out for any outdoor activity.
By offering your services online, you not only retain the existing customers during social distancing, you can also reach to people who are outside your geographic area.
3. Stay Connected with Your Customers
You can’t let your customers forget you, as you might need them more once the things will settle down. That’s why it is crucial to remain connected with your existing customers through virtual channels. Here are a few ways to make that happen:
- Send an email
Reach out to your customers through email, help them understand how they can get the products or avail your services during this time. Let them be aware that you are offering virtual consultations or curbside pickup.
- Update your website
Email will only reach the people whose contact information you already have in your account. For your new audience, you need to update the website. People coming to your website must know what you are offering. If you are still offering services, place it at the center of the homepage so that it is visible.
Don’t have a website? Create a page on Facebook or LinkedIn to get some visibility and let your the audience knows what you are up to.
- Ask for ideas
Who knows what your customers want than your customers themselves? Everyone is dealing with this situation of social distancing differently, so it is better to ask them- what they want from your business right now?
To make sure that you are providing your customers what they want, it is beneficial to let your customers guide your crisis strategy. Moreover, it allows you to continue to market and remain connected with your customers, even when they are not coming into the store.
4. Partner with Other Businesses
In this situation of Pandemic, struggling businesses can consider partnering with less-affected businesses. Or struggling businesses can team with other struggling businesses.
For example, if you have a home decor and design business, you can partner with home renovation contractors to offer a complete package of services at discounted prices.
5. Invest in Business’s Future
While your business is slow and you don’t have much work to do, you can utilize this time to figure out what you can streamline for when your business will be back in action.
Identify tasks which can be automated such as:
- Tasks that you have to do frequently
- Tasks that don’t require high-order thinking
- Tasks that involve moving information between apps.
Automating such tasks will also keep the number of staff in check.
Another way through which you can start preparing for future gains is content marketing. Create high-quality, share it with your email list, post it on your social channels and try to keep your customers engage during this period of social distancing. Content marketing is a strategy that will help you in the long run, especially if you have SEO in your mind.
Since folks are spending more time online during social distancing, it is a great time to offer content that can keep your potential audience engage, along with making them aware of your business.
Time is unfortunate for every industry out there, and it is unprecedented for small businesses. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that can work for your business. You can try some of the strategies mentioned above in the post to make sure that social distancing doesn’t make your customers forget you.
Wahidin Wong is a digital marketer at Adkomu.com and an editor at Tobeeko.com. He is also a jazz and bossa lover.