How to use the COVID-19 slowdown to your business’s advantage
We all have to slow down for a while. Let’s use the time productively. If you do, you’ll be in a far better position once this passes.
Believe it or not, the time you have on your hands right now is a fantastic opportunity for your business. You’re able to take the time and focus on projects that will reap rewards far into the future.
Ann Handley, a pillar in the marketing field and the Chief Content Officer over at MarketingProfs, said it best:
The goal is to build a more solid foundation, a more sustainable and sane momentum.
Long-term thinking is hand sanitizer to Bad Marketing: It kills it on contact.
How can you apply this thinking into action?
Reassure and communicate with your existing customer base via email
Currently, online shoppers see uncertainty from panic buying at their local brick and mortar shops and through the media.
Sending messages via your email subscriber list will allow you to:
Practice Empathy with your community and acknowledge the situation
This is a time of uncertainty and chaos that stems from it. Be real with your customers and show them that you, and your employees, are people who are in the same climate. But you’ve got their backs if they need it.
Levi’s did an excellent job of this. They just said it:
Levi.com and the Levi’s app are always open, but we understand shopping for jeans is probably the last thing on your mind right now.
In fact, now is the perfect time to deepen relationships. Show up regularly, imperfections and all. Start with a regular newsletter. It will create a rapport with your audience and they will come to expect, and even look forward to, your messages.
Support your community
Especially in a time like this, isn’t all about money. It’s about getting through the situation together.
This is a fantastic opportunity to create an offer or promotion that helps relieve the strain everyone’s been living with. Consider taking a % of sales and donating to one of the organizations on the front lines, or adding an additional value to orders placed.
If your industry was hit hard by the implications of Covid-19, can you offer resources to your colleagues to help them through, or another means of support? Is there an opportunity for you to create some long-term goodwill in service?
Some NYC highend restaurants are shifting focus to become highend soup kitchens while a distillery converted from making alcohol to hand sanitizer during the pandemic.
And let your customers know the good you’re doing! It will go a long way to creating those warm fuzzy feelings we want our customers to feel when they think of our brands and instill that feel good feeling.
Discount, Discount, Discount
This situation is similar to Black Friday Cyber Monday, where users are expecting discounts. Again, Levi.com gives a great example of this with a “Stay At Home Sale” of 30% off $100 or more orders.
Cash is king, so it’s important to shift your inventory. If worse comes to worst, move to a break even point to keep the business going.
If inventory is an issue, sell to a wait list and capture emails
Having a list of active purchasers to deliver to once covid-19 subsides puts you in a better position than having to drum up new business weeks down the road.
Remind customers of subscription or repeat order capability
With the uncertainty of supply chains, some online customers may be concerned about the ability to actually get the products they need. Prime examples are baby products, pet food, and supplements.
While many users may already be purchasing by subscription, incentivizing subscription purchases and providing information to customer who don’t normally buy in this fashion can be a way to reassure your subscribers.
Invest in customer service
Customers are likely to have more questions than usual, especially concerning availability and delivery times. If you have a chat feature on your store, make sure the automated messages and actions are up to date to handle the demands. We highly recommend utilizing a customer service management tool to serve queries to appropriate team members.
Use your marketing dollars more wisely
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, you should always be spending 7-8% of your gross revenue on advertising and marketing. So for every $100k you bring in, you should have at least $7k set aside for marketing per year.
It is critical that you maintain at least this level of marketing investment throughout the covid-19 pandemic.
That being said, look at your marketing channels and shift to ones that don’t have high acquisition costs. A reallocation of budget can have an amazing impact if you’re getting a good cost per acquisition or margin.
This is a great time for “scaling” experiments
Because users are spending more time on their devices, this is an ideal time to test new online strategies. Take the time to play and see if that ROAS number can be improved.
Remember, Parkfield is here to support you during this time. Having a digital presence right now is imperative.
To further assist you and your digital footprint, my business partner has set aside the hours of 12p-2p just for digital strategy calls through April 3. If you’d like to schedule a strategy call, click this link to schedule a call on his calendar.
We’ll also post additional blogs with tasks that will benefit your business in the long run over the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye out!