5 Creative Ways Businesses can Succeed During COVID-19

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The shelter-in-place order has created unprecedented challenges for enterprises of all sizes and in all sectors, making it difficult for businesses to succeed during COVID-19.

Many businesses have been ordered to close. Even more are suffering because of dramatic changes in customer behavior.

For those who trade primarily online the impact has so far been relatively slight. And many brick and mortar stores have been able to continue to function in some way.

But for all businesses the keys to success – and in some cases survival – will be flexibility and innovation.

How to succeed during COVID-19

1. Find New Ways of Serving Customers 

The Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) business model was increasing in popularity even before the pandemic. And it’s a great way to continue making sales while allowing customers to practice social distancing.

The model is straightforward enough for the large “big box” type retailers, whose customers are used to researching and selecting their purchases online.

Many restaurant-goers are also well accustomed to ordering this way. And the “Beer to Go” sign has become a common sight outside shuttered bars.

For some businesses it’s been possible to augment their BOPIS offer with a new home delivery service. And we’ve even heard of some imaginative owners including hard to get items such as hand sanitizer as surprise bonuses in customer orders.   

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2. Find New Ways of Engaging With Customers

But for smaller niche stores, which traditionally depend on face to face interaction and detailed personal advice, some extra steps may be necessary.

A good option for these kinds of stores might be to have customers complete an online questionnaire – using a tool such as Google Forms – to establish exactly what the customer is looking for.

The store owner can then respond and work with the customer online to steer them to the right product.

Applications like FaceTime also now enable business owners to offer virtual tours of their stores, so that customers can browse products and ask questions of store owners before purchasing.

For service businesses the situations is more complex. For some, such as manicurists, hairdressers or chiropractors, to name but a few, it is clearly all but impossible to continue in the usual way.

But many personal trainers and fitness studios, for example, are now offering online classes. And not only does this help maintain their income, it may also increase it by introducing their services to new customers from outside their normal catchment area, helping them succeed during COVID-19.

3. Look to Partner With Other Businesses

All kinds of businesses can benefit from partnering with other local outlets.

This is sometimes referred to as Affiliate Marketing.

Many restaurants, for example, are now maintaining some cash flow and accessing new customers by selling prepared meals through local grocery stores.

Less obviously, we’ve also heard of an interior design business in Portland OR that’s got together with a local florist to provide its customers with a bonus bouquet on completion of their purchase.

It may seem a small thing in itself, but it’s valuable nonetheless. The design company is building customer goodwill at a time when morale-building gestures are likely to be appreciated more than ever. And the florist is able to promote its business, free of charge, to potential new customers.

 4. Make Maximum Use of Your Website, E-mail and Social Media

People are at home and consuming even more social media than usual, so now is the ideal time to develop your online platforms, including starting a blog.

This may not produce immediate income – although it might – but it will be a great investment for when the economy reopens.

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are a good place to start, and you should also make full use of your customer email list if you have one.

But the pandemic has also seen an explosion in the use of virtual meeting and webinar technologies such as Zoom, Google Hangout and Hopin. You can invite customers to come along and make it worth their while by sharing your expert knowledge, taking questions or hosting quizzes and contests.

If people really can’t come to your store or restaurant, offer discount vouchers for future use as prizes. And while this probably isn’t the time for hard selling, if cash flow is really an issue, why not try pre-selling gift cards.

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5. Start Content Marketing   

There have been suggestions in some quarters that now is not the time for businesses to be increasing their marketing efforts. And certainly, there have been some that have reduced their ad spend in response to disappointing returns from their online or print media campaigns.

But with a little creativity, this can be a great time to market your business and ensure you succeed during COVID-19. Content Marketing is a great place to start.

For one thing, reduced demand means that paid ads on Google and Facebook are considerably cheaper than they were a few weeks ago.

More importantly, though, people now have more time than ever to consume online content – whether that be blog posts. YouTube Vlogs, informational e-mails or webinars.

DoubleTree hotels and Nike are just two examples of household name brands that are now offering high-value free content on platforms like YouTube.

But carefully planned content marketing programs, with an emphasis on the provision of free value to the customer, are an excellent way for businesses of all sizes to build relationships in anticipation of the economy beginning to reopen.

Succeed During COVID-19: The Future

It’s no exaggeration to describe Covid-19 as the worst crisis to hit the global economy since the Great Depression.

But it’s likely that demand has been pent up and deferred rather than permanently reduced.

And when life returns to normal those businesses that have responded creatively in the ways described above will likely be very well placed to benefit from a surge in consumer spending. ??

For more information about how your business can tap into some of these marketing ideas and succeed during COVID-19, contact the Lorem Ipsum Company, a leading Orange County Digital Marketing agency.

Jeramy Gordon is the founder and Chief Content Officer at the Lorem Ipsum Company. He has been creating successful content strategies for almost two decades and believes in the power of high-quality content. He lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and two children.

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