Things are continually changing during the coronavirus pandemic. Now that the reality of self-isolation and quarantine has started to sink in for many people in Australia, many businesses have had to rethink how they’re going to continue their daily operations.
While this is certainly a solemn time for many people, we think it’s crucial to be alert – not alarmed. As a business, it’s ideal you be on the lookout for new opportunities.
It’s time to be prepared for our new normal.
With this in mind, we’ve noticed that three different types of businesses have emerged during this unprecedented time. Some have resulted by choice; others had no other options. Keep reading to learn more about these business types and where yours fits in.
The Unlucky, The Ones in Limbo and The Proactive
This group of businesses have sadly been hit the hardest by the wave of government legislated changes. Nonessential businesses such as beauty salons and hairdressers – where close contact is required – have suffered most. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done in this case.
Then there’s the businesses that have panicked or lost all hope for survival as a result of the current climate. It’s almost as if they’re blind to the potential opportunities to pivot their business. We’ve found that these types of businesses have decision makers that are consuming news media 4x as much as others, most likely paralysing them from pivoting quickly enough.
The Ones in the Limbo
Sitting in the middle of our three groups is the limbo crowd. These are characterised by businesses that still have plenty of wiggle room when it comes to opportunities (i.e. their practices don’t require close physical contact to clients) but the clincher is that they haven’t pursued any of these opportunities proactively – or they’re not sure where to begin.
Often, there is a sense of “wait and see” before these businesses act. While it can be wise to play it safe and stick to what you know, in these unprecedented times, we think it’s better to give new things a try to continue getting your business out there.
The Proactive Lot
This brings us to our final category: the proactive group. It’s here we’re seeing businesses that have already shifted their product or service offerings to meet the rapidly changing market conditions. We can already see this in play with businesses that have not only begun using Zoom and screen sharing programs to help them work from home (WFH), but also with businesses taking their services online in a bid to reach their market.
One such business is Get Going PT, a mobile personal training service that visits homes and offices in order to help clients achieve their fitness goals. While Get Going PT can’t physically visit homes or offices at the moment, they’ve recently introduced online classes that their clients can tune into, helping them stay fit during isolation – and helping their business carry on strong.
Other examples of proactive businesses are restaurants, with many now pivoting their offering to focus on food deliveries. High-end eateries aren’t resting on their laurels; instead now delivering fine dining meals to homes across Australia.
How to Be More Proactive
It’s important to note that while some groups are doing better than others – all businesses are encountering struggles in some way, shape or form. Consumer spending is low as people begin to reassess their finances – and the same can be said for B2B models as well. No one is immune to experiencing a dip in revenue.
But how can you minimise the impact? How can you ensure your operations are more like the proactive category? Below are the steps we’ve been taking at Impressive.
Step 1: Prepare
Now’s the time to prepare for the long term rather than being purely reactionary in light of the circumstances. We’ve come up with two strategies we think work for most businesses based on an offensive and defensive marketing strategy.
- Be sure to keep up to date with the changing market and determine how you can best respond.
- Monitor online behaviours and see how you can best position yourself online to reach your target audience.
- Review your offering. How can you provide value to your customers in the here and now and how can you best market to them based on the circumstances? Think about what you need to push, cull, or put on the backburner
- How are you producing sales and what can you do better to be more effective in this area?
- How are you maintaining a sense of corporate social responsibility? Though doing so may stretch your reserves, there’s no better time than now to help out where you can.
- Assess your costs. What measures can you undertake to optimise your cash flow and conserve resources?
- Reassess your KPIs and determine if new benchmarks need to be rolled out to suit the circumstances.
- Assess potential risks and try your best to remain prepared should they come about. An area in particular may be your supply chain. Be sure to have alternative solutions mapped out just in case.
- Apply for government grants that may be applicable to your circumstances.
- Consider your partnerships and business relationships. Determine if you can mutually support each other’s businesses at this time.
Step 2: Communicate
With everyone on the lookout to see what’s happening, be sure to ease your clients’ nerves by communicating how you plan to meet the demands of the current market. You can achieve this by continuing to create fresh content applicable to the times. For example, as most people are self isolating, you could attempt to push content that gives them ideas on things they can do at home to stay entertained. Your social media channels can reflect this too. Just make sure the content pertains to your industry and offering.
You may also want to consider emailing your database with valuable information that keeps them up to date with your current practices and what you’re doing in order to assist your customers. The more valuable communication, the better.
Step 3: Marketing budget
With everyone trying to navigate this new normal, changes in your finances are bound to occur – and your marketing budget may be one of the areas that comes under close scrutiny. While there are most likely more people clicking your ads, your conversion rate may not be what you’d normally expect. This may tempt you to reduce your spend – but (and we know what this sounds like, hear us out) we highly recommend you don’t.
Instead of reducing, we suggest redirecting. When it comes to SEO, you don’t want your months – or years – worth of efforts to disappear, or you’ll be in a worse position when things start to pick up again. As for the paid channels, such as SEM and social media, now is the time to trial other keywords, audiences or messaging. It’s like we said above – share valuable content! Keep generating awareness about your brand, so you can build new audiences and quickly transform them into paying customers once consumer confidence returns.
While we can’t predict when this pandemic will end, we can say for sure that the future belongs to businesses who are proactive. By extending their unique personalised messaging to their audiences in a timely fashion, they’ll be able to differentiate themselves from the market and retain customers who are loyal to the brand. Profits will likely ebb and flow during this period of uncertainty, but the key to longevity is acting NOW.
If you’re still unsure of how to take the next steps, get in touch with Impressive and we’ll help you navigate through the current landscape. Let’s band together and get each other through this challenging time as one.