Tips for Small Businesses in the Post-Covid World
In case you missed it—the CDC recently announced that all fully vaccinated citizens are now allowed to be mask-free indoors and outdoors. It’s truly starting to feel like the “new-normal” we’ve waited so long for has finally arrived. If you’re anything like us, you’re ready to get out of the house and experience the world around you again.
One thing that’s abundantly clear is—life will never be the way it was pre-Covid again. And the same is true with small business! Both consumers and employees have a new set of motivators and expectations.
If your small business isn’t preparing for change and making adjustments to your business model now, you could be left behind. It’s time to learn from the lockdown.
That said, we’ve compiled a few tips for a smooth transition into this new way of life:
1. Working Remotely is Here to Stay
Before COVID, most people were fully content and accustomed to working exclusively in-office. However, the last year changed perspectives in a big way. At the beginning, working from home seemed daunting and even lonely, but a year later, we’ve all seen the benefits of working remotely. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, more than half of employees said that, given the option, they would want to keep working from home even after the Coronavirus crisis subsides. As a small business, it’s important to set up a work-from-home process that clearly defines daily work goals and guidelines to ensure productivity. Giving your employees the option to continue working remotely will not only increase morale, but you’ll also save a ton of money on workplace expenses.
2. It’s Time for a New Social Media Strategy
Old-school marketing channels have become less effective, while connecting with potential customers via LinkedIn and other social media networks is more of a priority than ever in 2021. As the mood and behavior of your audience has changed over the last year, your social media strategy needs to buckle up and do the same.
The biggest mistake we’ve seen is an unwillingness to change the overall tone of social media posts. Currently, the more in-your-face, aggressive sales pitches on social media are doing more harm than good in this post-pandemic world. During this stressful time, people are looking online for connection, fun, and uplifting content. It’s become less important to sell your product on social media and more important to sell yourself and the community you’ve built.
The technical term for this is “Inbound Marketing,” a method that appeals to customers because it doesn’t make people feel like they’re being sold to. The content provided by inbound marketing is both educational and entertaining. It adds value to your audience. And when done correctly, inbound marketing can result in dramatically better results than traditional marketing because it provides consumers with an open invitation to engage and learn.
When consumers find your company this way, they are more likely to have a positive attitude toward your business, which increases the likelihood they will become future customers. The best part? Inbound marketing consists of entirely organic leads, so it relies on brains rather than budget. Once you’ve given people something they feel deserves their support and trust, the revenue will follow suit. (Pro tip: it doesn’t happen overnight, but keep at it. Eventually, you’ll start to see a snowball in conversions.) Brands often jump on trends late or miss the point all together. We get it. It takes a great deal of social awareness to hit the mark and not end up looking like this guy…
3. Video Marketing is More Profitable than Ever Before
Since 2020, video has been the content format most likely to get more views and sales. This doesn’t mean you should start posting commercial-style sales pitch videos every day. (Please don’t do that.) Instead, for the absolute best engagement on social media right now, we suggest providing content with added value that educates and informs, while still being entertaining. Sounds easy, right? No?
It’s always been true, but now more than ever, quality content is what brings people together. If you provide good quality content, your audience will share and talk about it, and it’ll lead to huge increases in community trust around your business. You can’t force genuine communities to form around your brand and products, but there’s so much that can be done to help increase your chances.
Other forms of video marketing such as virtual events, webinars, and live streams will bring audiences together to learn about your products or services. These forms of digital marketing allow you to talk directly to your customers and answer questions on the spot, all while putting your unique brand voice and personality on display. This method also allows you to get your employees involved. Giving them a chance to advocate for your product or service will not only create personal connections with your target audience, but also motivate your employees by giving them a voice. By addressing any customer concerns and questions on the spot, you create a network of people who will trust and be loyal to you. Win-win-win.
4. Your Website Probbbbbably Needs an Update
If you’re still using a basic website that only has pictures, an address, and a description of your company…it’s definitely time to level up. (Alexa, play Ciara.) More than ever before, people are looking for the convenience of being able to order their lunch, clothes, car services, and just about everything else online.
For example, when Covid initially hit, brides-to-be were still desperate to find the perfect dress for their small COVID-friendly ceremonies or elopements, but due to restrictions, in-person fittings were no longer an option. A local bridal shop in Greenville quickly adjusted by offering virtual fittings and because of that, they were able to cater to so many people that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.
Even when it’s not so black and white, like a clothing store beginning to offer online ordering and shipping, there’s pretty much always a way to improve how you’re doing business online. Take a look at your services and ask yourself: Is there a creative way to allow more people to patronize your business without having to be in-person? If your business is a restaurant, this could mean offering deconstructed meal kits to cook from home or virtual wine tastings where the sommelier mails out all the wines that will be tasted ahead of time. If your business sells any products that could be ordered and shipped online, it’s time to transition from a traditional website to an e-commerce website (and we can help with that ????).
We can all agree that we’re seeing cleanliness in a new light after living in a pandemic for over a year. It really doesn’t matter the type of business, people are just more aware of cleanliness and we think (hope) this will be a permanent effect! We think it’s necessary for every business to create and enforce new processes for staff cleaning with specific daily expectations and sign-offs in 2021. Even better, if hiring a cleaning staff is feasible for your business, we highly suggest it. Sanitation can have a massive impact on your Google My Business ratings and will directly affect how often and high up you’ll show up in searches, which in turn affects patronage and revenue (and so on and so forth).
Like it or not, the COVID-19 pandemic has made lasting changes to our world and the way we do business. Marketing is just one of the many things that will never be the same after the Coronavirus, and denying it may do you a lot more harm than good. So why not embrace the change head on?
With so much of the world shifting even more time and attention toward social media, small businesses have to do the same. It can’t just be moving old strategies to new platforms, it’s about rebuilding campaigns from the ground up to utilize and make the most of all the new social media features.
It’s time to apply your emotional intelligence to create compelling social posts and to nurture communities based on value and trust. And if something’s not working, use data-driven analytics to tell you when to change your path. It’s a challenge, but by following these strategies, we believe you can reach new levels of success in this post-Covid world we’re all navigating together!
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