It’s been roughly one year now since the novel coronavirus started wreaking havoc on our lives. From having to stay indoors and social distancing, to wearing masks and washing hands all the time, this ‘new normal’ is like nothing we had seen before.
Aside from the social effects, our businesses have also suffered a great deal due to the negative economic impact of COVID-19. In this guide, we wanted to share some thoughts on how your business can approach marketing and sales in this current environment.
But here’s what we think in a nutshell. Although some calculated adjustments may be needed based on data and knowledge of your industry, you don’t need to completely reinvent the wheel. Look to your core sales and marketing best practices. This is the surest way to protect your market share and remain relevant in readiness for the post COVID-19 times.
Get Creative with Content
A solid way to grow your business today is through creative content marketing. This is the use of quality content to capture the attention of your audience, build stronger relationships, and enhance brand recognition.
Times have changed and now you can’t just let your website stay dormant and expect customers to discover it. Updating your content frequently is crucial to the growth of your online business.
According to a recent research by Hubspot, companies that publish blog content more than 16 times per month enjoy up to 3.5 times more leads than those that produce less than four posts per month.
Of course you don’t need to publish as much if you’re only starting and have limited time and budget.
The key is to ensure any content you put out is relevant and addresses key issues your customers face, while helping them reach their goals quicker. But that’s not all. Customer needs and wants are continually changing which means you have to keep updating it so that it retains its value for longer.
If you’re not a writer or don’t have the time to create high-quality content, you might want to look for a skilled copywriter. This will go a long way in enhancing your customer retention rate, increasing your business revenue, and growing your brand.
Leverage the Power of Social Media
One of the most powerful sales productivity tools you can leverage today is social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to engage and sell your products to thousands of people. Besides, social media offers an excellent way to gain valuable insights about your business through ‘social listening’.
Studying user interactions with your company helps you understand the changing customer behavior. More importantly, you get to learn how to meet any new demands, recognize trends, and develop better ways to enhance customer service.
Social media is also a relatively cheaper way to attract potential customers to your business. What’s more, you don’t need any technical skills to succeed on most mainstream platforms. For example, you can set up a simple Facebook page in minutes and start growing your customer base.
The key to boosting your brand on social platforms is to engage actively with your fans by replying to their comments and responding to their messages.
If you’d like to go a step further and fast-track your follower numbers and sales, consider buying ads. Facebook Ads can be very effective and generally cost-effective if you know what you’re doing.
Deeply Understand Your Customers
Having deep knowledge of your customer needs is the first (and possibly the most important) step to setting up a thriving business. The process starts with identifying your target market during the business development stage. Once you have a running business, you can conduct surveys and also monitor direct customer service communication.
Encourage your customers to leave honest reviews and feedback about your product or service. Based on this, you can develop relevant products or services that meet the market’s current needs. Besides, paying attention to customer grievances helps you identify possible areas of improvement.
While understanding customer needs is invaluable, it’s also critical to take note of your competitors and the rest of the market. Make sure you are aware of any moves they’re making by performing market analyses regularly.
By combining this with insightful customer feedback, you get a clearer picture of avenues you can use to expand your business.
Establish Unbreakable Customer Loyalty
Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when looking for ways to grow your business is to attract more potential customers. In most cases, little consideration is given to your current customers.
Encouraging customers to buy from your business is only half the job. Maintaining these customers so that they can come back or spend more on new products is the other half.
Look for ways to nurture and extend value to your existing customers to reinforce loyalty. A few useful tactics you can implement here include providing loyalty rewards, informing them about promotional events before time, and offering special discounts to your loyal customers. This helps to minimize their chances of getting drawn to other options by your competitors.
An essential part of business growth is forming the right partnerships. Seize every available opportunity to extend your networks even when there’s no immediate gains in sight.
Having a broad network allows you to connect with valuable people with the potential to propel your business. For example, you could bump into a skilled future employee, potential investor or even new customers.
Networking is also an effective way to learn about emerging market trends and sharing business practices and industry insights. Besides, you can learn from like-minded business owners and tap into their expertise on any conceivable topic related to running a business like yours. This makes the learning curve a lot shorter and speeds up your business growth.
If you want to make connections while respecting social distancing protocols, leverage technology tools like Zoom Rooms Video Conferencing which makes collaboration and communication with multiple people easy and productive. A Zoom Room offers a more professional experience than a regular Zoom meeting. It essentially turns any meeting room into an elevated video conferencing experience with large flat screen TV’s, HD cameras, built-in microphones, and wireless content sharing between multiple users for an interactive experience as if you were collaborating in person.
Offer Exceptional Customer Service
As you seek avenues to grow your business, there’s a likelihood you will sideline quality customer service. Don’t make this costly mistake. Your pursuit of growth should not be the reason customers leave for your competitor due to poor treatment.
Excellent customer service entails going that extra mile to ensure that your customers feel valued and taken care of. Take time to respond to their questions and address any problems they might have quickly.
We already pointed out social listening – another excellent way to know the issues and demands of your customers. Monitor how customers are talking about your brand or your competitors on social channels, analyze this information and act accordingly.
For example, some customers will go to social media to air their dissatisfaction about your products. The best way you can address such PR disasters is by using social listening to avert the damage before it gets out of hand.
Giving your customers quality customer service will further incline them to recommend your products or services to their friends, leave positive reviews, and become return customers.
Run Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Campaigns
Corporate social responsibility is a great way for your business to be socially accountable to its stakeholders. It can take various forms such as volunteer efforts and philanthropy depending on your business strategy.
Supporting your community helps you showcase your business values, enhance your image and grow your brand. A few ways to implement CSR include hosting community events, sponsoring initiatives you’re passionate about, and collaborating with nonprofits that share your values or promote change.
Besides giving back to the community, you can implement socially responsible business practices within your company. This can include using renewable energy to power your establishment, promoting local vendors if you run a manufacturing company, or participating in corporate volunteering.
The idea is to ensure your business is not solely focused on making profits. People want to be associated with companies that create change within their communities. If you can grow your brand around responsibility and sustainability, it’s extremely difficult to fail.
Prioritize Professional Development
The speed at which your business grows is in part determined by the kind of people you employ. Creating an effective team is key in ensuring your business succeeds. But that alone is not enough. You need to keep your employees motivated to bring the best out of them.
When hiring, focus on getting a wide-range of employees with different beliefs, experiences, specialties and backgrounds. This not only provides you with unique diverse perspectives, but also leads to better internal culture.
Create an environment where your employees feel appreciated and heard. For example, organize team building and bonding activities, send them to seminars and training sessions to increase their knowledge and skills, and also involve them in making business decisions.
Let’s face it. Your business will inevitably experience both growth and stagnation spells. The most important thing is to continually seek new sales and marketing opportunities that spur growth. The end goal is to sell your business at all times, maintain good relationships with customers, and keep your team motivated.
What changes are you making to your sales and marketing departments to increase your business’s productivity during these difficult COVID-19 times? We’d love to hear your feedback.
If you’re currently running your business from home and are looking for an alternative solution, check out a Pacific Workplaces location near you.