COVID 19 has impacted almost all aspects of running a small business. With everything going on, finding new customers can seem almost impossible. Old ways of acquiring new customers are off the table, staying ahead of COVID 19 requires creativity, innovation, and re-evaluation of all your business practices.
Here are some things you can start today to get new customers tomorrow.
Keep your customers informed
COVID-19 is a tough time for everyone, including your customer base. Make sure they know what’s happening with your business, how you’re adapting to regulations, and how they can support your business online and in person. You can keep them informed in multiple ways:
Send out email updates
Post information regularly to social media
Post notifications on your website
"How is this business running during COVID 19?” is the biggest question customers have. Let them know how your business continues to operate, with updated hours, services, and operations, as well as new remote service options you’ve created.
Know how new customers are searching for you
How do most people find out about your business? If a lot of your leads are driven by third party platforms, make sure your updates are posted there as well. Whether its Google Maps, Yelp, or Procally, make sure to add all your updated information where customers will see it. Examples are:
Add updated hours to Google Maps
Display “Offering Remote Services” or “Reservations Required” on aggregation sites
Show remote service options on online stores
Improve your online presence
There has never been a better time to build out a great online presence. Brand building and recognition, content and marketing, community engagement (Twitter, Reddit, IG), and social media posts are all great ways to create a consistent and appealing online presence for your customers to interact with.
Create valuable content like blogs, videos, live streams, and infographics. Content is a great way to attract new customers, increase SEO, build a consistent brand, and increase engagement for current customers.
While you’re at it, making sure your website is optimized for mobile viewing and improving the user experience of your site can make it easier for customers to make that first purchase. Also consider adding an online store or reservation system, so there are no barriers for new customers.
Re-evaluate your marketing
Just because certain marketing strategies did or didn’t work before COVID 19 doesn’t mean they’ll perform the same now. Marketing trends during COVID 19 have caused a huge shift in the way small businesses have to advertise. Re-evaluate what you’re spending your time an effort on based on what’s working for you and driving business.
Marketing trends small businesses need to be aware of:
- Paid ads are cheaper
- Customers are more skeptical
- People are spending more time on social media
Consider offering payment plan or subscription options
Customers struggling financially may be weary of paying large amounts up front for products or services they need. With all the financial uncertainty we currently face, offering new ways to finance purchases is a great way to increase conversions. Offering payment plans, monthly subscription fees for services, or new payment options can make it easier for your customer to make a purchase.
Be adaptable. Be open
Above all else, be open to change. Even a great strategy may not work, and pivoting fast is the best way to stay afloat as a small business. Be there for what your customers need, and adapt to serve them in new ways.
Additionally, transparency is more important than ever. Customers understand small businesses’ difficulties during COVID 19, and many of them are happy to support the ones who have adapted. Don’t be afraid to tell them of ways you’ve changed, even if that required the service quality to suffer. Trust is hugely important during COVID 19, and building relationships and trust with customers is the biggest advantage you have as a small business.