10 ways to prepare your business for the comeback
Trade may have plummeted. You may have had to cease trading for a while. But most businesses will survive the chaos, just as they have through previous downturns – wartime, recessions and pandemics. Here are 10 ways to prepare your business for the comeback.
1. Prepare today, for tomorrow
There is plenty of data to show that businesses which continue to invest in marketing during difficult times, are the ones that continue to thrive – not just through those tough times, but long afterwards.
So even if your sales pipeline has dried up and you’re claiming government assistance, you still need to keep your business visible and in people’s minds for when normal life does resume – and it will! Otherwise you’ll find that while you shut up shop through panic, your competitors rode the waves and were ready for the comeback!
2. Keep existing customers with you – and happy!
Out of sight means out of mind – it’s important to keep in touch with your customers. It will always be cheaper to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one!
If appropriate, keep your messaging going out as normal. Share advice and share business innovations. Let them know you are there, that you care, and that you are running a business that genuinely wants to deliver value and solve their problems.
3. Stay connected
During this lock down, social media is one of the most significant forms of communication. People are using their social media accounts more than ever: a) because it’s effective; and b) because it doesn’t cost you anything more than your time.
Now is the time to make full use of social media to stay in touch with your customers. Not just to tell them about what you’re doing, but to listen to how they’re feeling and what they need right now, and respond appropriately.
People have plenty more time on their hands and will find themselves increasingly scanning the social media platforms to keep up to date. That means they will take particular notice of useful, engaging content you may share, and are likely to remember your name, even if they have never used your services in the past.
4. Take opportunities to help
One of the best forms of marketing is when you create goodwill. Marketing may not be foremost in people’s minds at this time, but they will recall the good thing your company has done when they start to do business again in the future.
5. Be seen – improve your online presence
You may have devoted a significant part of your marketing budget to trade shows, exhibitions, and events. Now that these are cancelled, and face-to-face meetings are off limits for the foreseeable future, we will all use this enforced time apart to make more Google searches and seek out alternative suppliers and retailers.
This is the perfect opportunity to consider your online presence. Do you need to alter your website to better reflect current demand, or remove items where government restrictions limit what you are permitted to sell? Whatever your situation, your website is the shop front to your business and should always be appealing, up-to-date and relevant.
6. Be found – improve website SEO
It’s all very well having an improved online presence, but that is worth little if people can’t find their way to your website. So make sure you work on your SEO too. This isn’t likely to lead to a short term sales boost, but it’s a wise long term strategy that will help keep you in the search results and keep your brand visible.
7. Be prepared to do things differently
For some firms it may be business as usual, but for many it is a time to adapt to the circumstances. You have probably heard of how Dyson is an example of this – going from vacuum cleaners to ventilators – they have teamed up with scientists and innovators to manufacture a new ventilator and have a government order for 10,000.
For many of us small businesses however, the adjustments we make will be much less significant. The point is that we are prepared to consider change: to be flexible and nimble and, where necessary, adapt to meet new customer needs.
8. Experiment, test and learn
In these unprecedented times, what previously may have worked for you, may no longer continue to be as effective. If previously successful marketing currently lacks impact, reduce or stop this for a while and consider what new actions might be more relevant.
And measure everything. You need to know what is working and what is not, ensuring that your marketing activity is giving you the highest possible return for the energy and attention you put into it.
9. Keep calm and carry on
If you are in lockdown you probably have more time on your hands than you are used to, but now is not the time to hole up until the pandemic passes, but to plan your future marketing and how you will come back.
Your customers are still out there, and even if they’re not buying from you right now, they still want and need to see you. Stay visible and maybe use this time to sketch out plans and think about what the future will look like. It will help you to remain positive and hopeful.
We are always stronger when we join together. So use this time to seek out and cultivate new partnerships where you can share opportunities and resources that will support you and your business, and build bonds that will help you through this crisis and long into the future.
So what is Think! doing?
Think! has teamed up with Daffodil PR to not only give one another much needed support at this time, but also to explore ways in which we can offer a joined-up approach that has more potential for us and will make our offering more attractive and affordable for our clients.
What can we do for you?
If you would like to connect with us to share your experiences, your concerns, your ideas, your plans for the future, or if you would just like some help or information about how to keep on marketing and stay visible in these times, we’d love to hear from you.
Be seen, be found, and stay connected to be ready for the comeback!