Strategies To Grow Your Business During A Pandemic

Strategies To Grow Your Business During A Pandemic

Did you know that over 56 thousand Canadian businesses (source) shut their doors as of June of 2020? With no end in sight we outline what can you be doing to navigate your business out of danger.

It cannot be denied that the year 2020 has made headlines for all the wrong reasons — business closures, bankruptcies, declines in revenues, unemployment, civil unrest, political uncertainty. The list is grim. It’s time to vision some positive, viable opportunities to pull ourselves out of this mess.

Here are essential survival strategies to grow your business during a pandemic, so that both your career and your business will be on a safe and secure path to exit the pandemic successfully.

Strategies To Grow Your Business During A Pandemic

1. Broaden Your Digital Marketing Initiatives 

During an economic downturn demand evaporates and achieving sales targets gets more challenging. Consumer purchase behaviours become disrupted for many reasons.

The loss of a job, reduced work hours, increased childcare responsibilities, or caring for an aging parent can disrupt normal purchase behaviours. The restricted access to brick and mortar business establishments, the fear of the pandemic in public places, and price increases to a wide range of products and services associated with panic buying or supply chain disruptions have played a role in this year’s Covid-19 pandemic and your ability to reach potential customers.

What’s the prognosis for your business?

As a business, the likelihood for you to grow during the pandemic is a function of your business, industry, competitive positioning, our strategy and your ability to employ digital technologies and marketing automation.

Surviving the pandemic may be a big concern on your mind. Either way, you need viable online marketing strategies to get you through this next period.

Try New Things to Grow Your Small Business During the Pandemic

This is the time to broaden your digital marketing channels. Let’s say your marketing includes regular emails to your subscriber base, and social media marketing on Facebook and Instagram.

Maintaining these activities will not be enough because the business environment has gotten tougher. New sales are harder to find, may take longer to close. During an economic downturn broadening the plan – adding more marketing activities aimed at building your sales pipeline must be a priority in the face of real limitations for traditional marketing at the moment.

Manage a Budget or Invest in Your Business?

Is this the time to reduce and carefully manage the marketing budget? Or is it a critical time to invest in getting sales growth? These are two opposing forces at play, and for which you must take a position.

For some businesses, this is absolutely the time to invest to grow your brand awareness. If you are in a highly competitive industry, or you are a digital transformation laggard, this economic downturn can be a defining moment for your business from which you may struggle to recover for years if you don’t either invest or exit. To restore growth, the question to ask is, “have you covered the basics” in digital marketing and your online presence?

Here are essential elements for a healthy online presence during this pandemic period: 
  • You have a beautiful, functional website, providing a customer journey that is delivering growth in visits and is generating leads  You maintain an active presence on at least 2-3 social media platforms and implemented a revised content strategy for the pandemic that is delivering growth
  • You are adding regular content in the form of blogs to your website monthly, and this content is SEO optimized
  • You have implemented a revised search engine optimization (SEO) strategy for the pandemic

Now Take Your Marketing Up A Notch

If you are doing all of these, then some next steps are to consider:

  • Website improvements: Add more functionality or content to your website to increase its rate of growth and leads. Implementing e-commerce on your website, making your website stickier with valuable downloadable offers for internet users, carrying out a website refresh to improve your website’s usability and better articulate your value proposition are a few ways to start seeing better ROI from your website
  • Email marketing: Upgrade your email marketing to monetize your subscriber base. Implement a list-building campaign to find and connect with new subscribers. Email marketing continues to offer one of the best ROI’s among marketing tactics. Back when business growth was easier, often email marketing was overlooked for being too time intensive. However, you many now regret that you didn’t collect all those valuable email addresses along the way. As a content marketer, we know that it’s never too late to build and strengthen your customer and follower base. Once the economy recovers, and demand begins to normalize, your subscriber base can help you pivot to capture those dormant sales rapidly.
  • Employ Google PPC and online advertising on social platforms to find new sales and leads. Often paid ads are paused during an economic downturn. This means that there can be more affordable ad inventory available, ad click costs lower, and opportunities to get more impressions than during better economic times.
  • Expand your social media presence by adding a new platform that you overlooked in the past. Social media has become a constant in our pandemic-riddled lives. It’s one of the best ways to connect with your consumers and find new consumers. Right now is a great time to add another relevant platform to your mix.
  • Consider Affiliate Marketing as a way to tap new markets for your products and services.

We broaden our marketing initiatives during a recession to find sales and also to keep our brand top of mind for when demand recovers.

Stay Top of Mind With Your Clients With Digital Marketing Strategy

Your prospects will not remember you unless you actively work to keep yourself in mind. And the more you do to help them get through this pandemic, the greater the principle of “reciprocity” will play to your advantage when they are finally ready to make a purchase. If they have saved your recent tip or coupon on their mobile phone or in their browser, they can easily reach out when the time is right. And boom. You’ve got the sale.

2. Strengthen Your Business Model

You know the expression “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”? It applies to now.

As a successful business professional, you should rightly be proud of the knowledge and expertise you have acquired through building your success. The learning is not over, though. In fact, this is the time to dig deeper into your expertise and get better at your marketing. Here’s why.

We build our plans and budgets based on our knowledge of the past. But right now that knowledge won’t help you as much as you think. Why? We’ve just been dealt a “long tail risk” blow or “Black Swan” event.

Recognize we are experiencing a Black Swan Event

A Black Swan event is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. The pandemic is a Black Swan event.

The pandemic has introduced a huge amount of unpredictability into our lives now and into our future. We cope day to day to the unexpected developments that the Pandemic brings with wave 1, now wave 2 and then possibly a wave 3.

As a result of this unpredicted event which is having widespread ramifications, the rules of business are changing, and have changed. Consider this: the fact that you grew consistently at 8-10% over the past few years is not a predictor of your business growth this year, or next, or the following year.

COVID-19 is the unexpected, unpredictable Black Swan event that should cause you to open yourself up to new ways of thinking about your business and your marketing because the ramifications are not clear and the risks are sky high.

Preparing Your Business In An Uncertain Future

Preparing for an uncertain future is a creative process of generating many possible outcomes. This is a time to unleash your creativity, consider a wide range of new possibilities, and to deepen your expertise.

Your business has inherent strengths and weaknesses. You may have great customer support and delivery systems, but supply chain disruptions that are preventing you from making sales. Perhaps your company culture is weak and you experience costly staff turnover. Or perhaps your product line is maturing and you foresee delays in the introduction of competitive new products. This is the time to consider what your business vulnerabilities are, and plan how to strengthen your business model. And this is equally true of your marketing.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself to apply breakthrough thinking to your marketing and online presence:

How can you use digital media to improve your business’s online reputation overall?

  • How can you improve on your website’s delivery of a superior user experience – making it easy to navigate, explaining your value proposition and how to buy your products and services?
  • Is the website traffic coming from search engines converting, i.e. turning into viable quality leads?
  • Have you implemented an effective SEO strategy:
  • What is the next step in improving your websites search engine optimization, so you appear on page 1 for valuable search terms?

Is it time to consider paid advertising as a viable option to pull in buyers searching for your services?

Are there ways you can upgrade your service offering to enhance your competitiveness?

  • Have you digitally realigned your business model by offering doorstep or virtual services?
  • Are you reaching out to your existing customers on a regular basis?
  • Is it time to revisit your email marketing strategy?
  • How effective is your Social Media in bringing new customers to your business?
  • How active is your business on social media platforms and is this work creating engagement and conversions?
  • How can your social media engagement be improved? What are you doing to reach current customers, and how well are you using social media to find new customers?

If sales are down, use the time to develop robust plans to strengthen the weak connections in your business, rather than worrying. This includes an honest assessment of your digital marketing presence, along with a commitment to set goals and do the work necessary to secure your business and put it on a safe path for growth.

3. Your Call To Action: Get To Work! 

Now that you know what needs to be done to stay ahead, it’s time to invest in the right mindset, technologies and resources to formulate your plan, apply the required resources and execute.

The global and our local economy will bounce back from this economic meltdown. If our parents and grandparents made it through the great depression, then we will make it through this. What that looks like for you and your business will depend on how quickly you pivot and respond in creative new ways to navigate through the Black Swan uncertainty we are living. If you would like to read more on Pandemic Growth Strategies, check out this blog piece.

A strong online presence for your business is a critical defense strategy in a volatile economy, and driving results isn’t easy. But it’s absolutely possible.