Ten ways to prepare for the new normal
Over the past year, trade may have plummeted or 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 return to normal.
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 had dried up and you needed to claim government assistance, you still need to keep your business visible and in people’s minds now that normal life has resumed. Otherwise you’ll find that 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! 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 lockdown, social media was one of the most significant forms of communication for business. People used 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 and reach new ones. People are 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 after the past year, but they will recall the good thing your company has done when they start to do business again.
5 – Be seen – improve your online presence
In the past, you may have devoted a significant part of your marketing budget to trade shows, exhibitions, and events. One thing that’s been noticeable since the lockdown is the number of companies that are making more use of digital marketing.
This is the perfect opportunity to consider your online presence. Do you need to update your website? Do you need to engage more directly with customers?
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’s business as usual, but for many it has been a time to adapt. For small businesses, being flexible and nimble and, where necessary, adapting to meet new customer needs, means that we can trade out of a downturn.
8 – Experiment, test and learn
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
Now is not the time to rest on your laurels. Now is the time to plan your future marketing and how you will come back stronger. 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 your business will look like next year, in 2 years, or 5 years from now.
10 – Engage!
We are always stronger when we join together. So 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 any future crisis.
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, we’d love to hear from you.