The year 2020 has been a crucial one for almost all industries, specifically affecting small- and medium-sized businesses. However, amidst all the hardships faced during the pandemic, businesses have learned some serious lessons, which they can keep in mind going forward to come back stronger!
SMEs should now head on towards improving their marketing strategies and services, keeping in mind the new shopping trends after COVID-19.
The following lessons can enable businesses to plan for the next year and the ways to do better marketing in the face of COVID-19.
1. Strengthening Customer Relationships Should be Your Priority
No matter what’s the type and size of your company, your relationship and bonding with your customers will always be the most important factor! The more you build your trust with them, the more they will rely on you, even in difficult times.
Besides customers, maintaining strong relationships with other valuable stakeholders of your company, such as employees, manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, investors, etc., is equally important. Without this trust and brand loyalty, you cannot go far!
Building strong relationships with them is equivalent to building a solid foundation for your business. Hence, the success of your company will depend largely on how well you maintain these relationships.
2. Embrace Innovation and Technology
2020 is an unforgettable year that has made people of all ages rely heavily on technology, especially the digital world! Besides, adopting the latest technological innovations is probably the only way to sustain the storm!
Customers are afraid to step out of their homes and are maintaining social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. In this scenario, not only should you opt for the work from home norms, but also try using smarter technologies to work more productively by collaborating with remote teams.
For example, working as a team together using several project management and communication applications like Zoom, Slack, and Asana. The previous year has taught us the importance of having a digital workflow and environment to sustain in any such unexpected situations in the future!
3. Provide More Flexible and Customized Offers
During these tough times, every customer is looking for more affordable options and alternatives for the products they used to purchase before. With numerous people losing jobs and businesses shutting doors, everybody has understood the significance of saving!
But life has to go on and people need to buy their essentials and daily food. So, they are looking for cheaper solutions, which is why brands offering good discounts and offers are taking center stage! Try offering a little extra to support your customers and you can win them for a lifetime! Also, ensure that your services and products are custom-made to address the unique requirements of your customers.
For example, if you are a wedding photography group, you can customize your packages to smaller ones instead of the usual packages covering 3-4 days. Since most marriages have shrunken to single day ceremonies during COVID-19, it’s better to offset smaller packages covering a few hours.
4. Customers’ Purchasing Patterns Can Change
By now, it must have been very clear that customers’ interests and buying trends can change drastically within the blink of an eye! No matter what industry you are in or what business model you follow, customers’ likes and preferences change rapidly, the best example being 2020.
In the previous year, we have learned to be more flexible to cater to the changing needs of our buyers. For example, during the lockdown, people have started exploring new hobbies and talents, including painting, cooking, creating handmade stuff, exercising, etc.
This whole new set of activities brings in newer requirements to pursue those hobbies and interests. It’s essential for businesses to keep a close eye on what’s trending in retail and cater to the new requirements of their customers without delay! Doing so not only keeps your revenue stable but actually strengthens your relationship with your buyers.
5. Focus on Your Employees’ Health
Many companies overlook the health conditions and safety of their employees. But they fail to realize that employees are the building blocks of a business. Besides, you need to take extra care of your team members specifically in times like these. So, invest in the safety of your workers!
To start with, you can clean and sanitize your office space regularly. Consider installing hand sanitizers within your premises. Also, keep a good stock of masks, face shields, and PPEs, and do regular temperature checks before a person enters the workspace.
In other words, allocate a good amount of your budget for the welfare of your employees and provide the medical help they deserve. The best thing would be to offer them work from home facilities whenever possible. Follow all the necessary precautions and rules imposed by the government.
6. Have Liquid Cash at all Times
One vital thing the year 2020 has taught us all is the importance of money and savings. Even if you think you are doing well, you never know what’s ahead! Because running a business is never easy and smooth!
To help you survive these rollercoaster situations, ensure that you have enough liquid cash at hand, which is the most essential fluid asset any company can possess! When every financial source fails to support you, liquid cash will come to your rescue.
The good thing that made several businesses survive the pangs of COVID-19 is many of them have been accumulating liquid cash to offer them some backup during unexpected times. This habit became a practice after the coronavirus breakout, and now businesses are prepared to head on to the next year!
7. Explore New Income Sources
Another thing that many business owners have started trying is to expand their sources of income by exploring other business opportunities. For example, if you own a boutique store and it’s hit hard by the pandemic, then you can try to sell COVID-19 essentials like masks, gloves, PPE kits, etc., which many companies are doing.
In short, go with the trend and research which products or services are the need of the hour! This additional source of income will bring in some capital during tough times like these. In fact, businesses should try out new ways to diversify their revenue every quarter!