People seem to have a natural instinct to default to panic mode during recessions, depressions and, yes, even times of quarantine… and who can blame them? But it’s important to remember that even in financially uncertain times when economic forecasts are at their bleakest, someone is making a whole lot of money. The trick is to make sure that “someone” is you. You don’t do that by price-gouging or any other underhanded methods but instead by thinking on your feet and recognizing what your business uniquely brings to the table in these times of crisis. Where most people see a problem, you need to see an opportunity. This could actually be the time that your small business rises to the occasion, but it won’t happen if you’re frozen in fear. Here are a few ways you can elevate your business to greatness during the great COVID-19 quarantine of 2020.
Digital Marketing is a Means But It’s Not the End
A few long weeks ago, we published a blog highlighting the best ways to use digital advertising techniques to promote a 420 sale. 420 may be over, but we’re in an industry that never sleeps (and if you’re letting your business snooze through this opportunity, it may not have the chance to wake back up). You can use digital marketing strategies any time of the year. As we mentioned in that earlier blog post, email blasts and thoughtful original content can build your brand and sales simultaneously. But these are simply tools to help you achieve your profits. You still need the right product and the right promotion.
Think Outside the Quarantine (After Thinking Inside of It)
Before launching your big promotion, you need to get into the psychology of the quarantined consumer. Take these small businesses who saw an uptick in business since the quarantine. We have psychics, local farmers, and manufacturers and dealers of home gym equipment all seeing increased demand in their products as a direct result of the quarantine. But sometimes the link between your product and your potential customers’ needs isn’t so obvious. In these situations, your digital marketing skills must help you illuminate them. It’s your job to not only figure out why consumers need your product but why they need it now, today, during this quarantine. Digital marketing simply helps you deliver that message.
Restructuring Your Business Services
So how can you reconfigure your product or business model to fit the needs of a quarantined consumer? If your business is considered essential, your first step would be to make sure your staff is trained in proper social distancing etiquette and then open your business to the public for limited hours. Some businesses are more comfortable with seeing customers on a pre-scheduled appointment basis. Many customers are more willing to shop for a product if curbside service is an option. If you can’t configure your business to meet those needs, you should at least allow your customers the option to pre-order what they need and simply pick the order up. Then, of course, there’s always the option to offer delivery services to your customers.
Updating Your Product to Meet Present Needs
In most cases, your competition will be offering similar services. Many stores and shops had delivery options prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and several others adopted curbside service and pickup orders immediately after the first quarantine orders were issued. So, what can your business offer that either your competitors won’t, can’t, or simply haven’t considered? One potential solution is to think to the future, offering your customers the option of purchasing gift cards. Gift cards make convenient gifts in a time of social distancing and quarantine since they can be easily mailed and used at a later date when matters are less restricted. If you want to add a bit of extra spice to incentivize gift card sales, you can sell them at a discount so they’re more of an investment in your business. For example, a $50 gift card could actually be good for $60 worth of merchandise. People love a great deal and the quarantine hasn’t changed that. Speaking of incentives, how about setting up your own branded rewards program? If you don’t already have something similar in place, a rewards program can be the perfect way to promote brand loyalty in times of quarantine.
This Time, It’s Personal
That Forbes article we linked earlier also shows that Instagram influencers are enjoying a boost from our unique situation. This is because many people are desperately seeking connection and community any way they can find it. Use this opportunity to personalize your business with a more robust social media campaign. These posts shouldn’t be “business as usual” but instead give us a glimpse at the humanity behind the scenes of your business. People want to identify with one another in times of confusion and you can provide that connection through posts on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and more while reassuring your customers that the world is still spinning around, and business is still moving forward. This is also the perfect opportunity to build your YouTube channel with updates that showcase your product as well as your innovation. Your channel can provide an educative outlet that fosters a bond between you and your consumers at a time when they may feel the need for guidance and assurance. Video offers the perfect medium for leadership in a socially distanced society.
The outside world is definitely a factor in how our businesses fare, but it’s not the definitive verdict. You are still in control of your business’s fate, so challenging times like this should actually be seen as opportunities for greatness. Some businesses won’t cross the finish line. Others will see their best financial growth ever. Your quick thinking, adaptability and resourcefulness are key in earning a place among the latter. This isn’t the first challenge your business has faced. It’s up to you whether it will be the last.