Much more than being a pandemic, COVID-19 has had a real impact on businesses of all size and scales, across the industries. Stock market crashes, delayed payments, liquidity crunches and an absolute shutdown have just added to the problems of the MSMEs.
We work with clients across the economic spectrum and this pandemic has given us a width to height view of how the markets are reacting. This will change marketing as we know it and somehow, it has already started doing so.
Our honourable Prime Minister Mr Modi requested the nation to switch off the lights and lit candles in balconies, as a sign of solidarity. It truly succeeded in sending out a wave of unity across the nation.
We have been reaching out to our clients for a while now. And building on to the momentum of our discussions and the initiatives put out by the government, we have put together a list of ideas you can use to keep your business growing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
1. Brand Responsibility, Without the Tokenism.
Tokenism is when you do something just for the sake of doing it. And with the COVID-19 outbreak, a lot of brands are getting on the bandwagon of committing the same mistake. Communication is necessary in these times; but don’t do anything for the sake of doing.
For instance – this would be a great time to reiterate WHO’s guidelines and offer help in whatever ways you can. Stay away from any hollow messaging to your customers, partners or employees. Make sure you vet all the information before putting it out.
Make sure, with every piece of communication, you are adding some value to the receiver. Take for instance, talking to your employees – let them know what the business looks like and how will you navigate the crisis.
When it comes to customers, be honest about the expectations they can have by your business. And let them know about all the extra efforts you are undertaking to resolve their issues.
2. Offer Free Products & Services.
The pandemic and the shutdown have directly impacted businesses worldwide. One of the most critical aspects of coming out of this pandemic unscathed, would be clear communication. The problem is that social media has made it very difficult for small brands to communicate with their audience. Most trending hashtags are already too crowded.
The solution is right here – mass email marketing. You can reach out to your audience and offer them your products & services for free, till the pandemic settles. Most of the people are working from home and would prefer trying out your products or services if they are available for free.
Mailchimp is offering paid Account for free for the next three months. It is one of our most demanded services. But if it can help you reach out to your audience, get in touch with us and we would be happy to onboard you.
3. Prepare Your Team for the Future – Skill Upgradation & Remote Working.
Remote working has been around for years now. But with work from home becoming a norm instead of a fad, everyone is seeing the challenges and the power of the trend. You can cut down on overheads by eliminating a good amount of office expenses. But you may also face a minor slump in productivity.
Don’t worry. There is a logical way to tackle this problem. Open an Excel sheet and try out the different team management and remote working tools available in the market. You can try Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Zoho Meetings, Trello, Slack and Flock. Look at the features, packages and the benefits of each platform. Go with the one that suits the best to your business’ needs.
After the tools, it would be the time to make some investments in your team. Digital is the future and now would be the best time to test any doubts you have had about that notion. Physical retail is slumping and more people are buying online. Make sure your team has a high level understanding of the entire digital marketing spectrum. For more complex roles, hire specialists. For instance – if you want to integrate the HubSpot API, make sure you have experienced HubSpot API experts on board.
4. Go Inbound – Produce Content that Adds Value.
You should consider taking the free inbound marketing course offered by HubSpot. But if you just want the summary, here is how inbound works. Instead of pushing obstructing ads, you produce content that naturally resolves the customer’s biggest problems. Whether the problem is directly related to your product or something your target audience has to deal with, will depend on your research.
A ton of people are now consuming content in the form of web series and movies. A lot of MOOCs have opened up to help people acquire new skills. Hence, this would be a great time to start producing content that is both engaging and value-adding.
Here are some ideas for you to start brainstorming. You can easily use any of these ideas for email list building:
- For a Legal, Financial and Consultancy Firms: Offer free initial consulting in the form of a Q&A session to help people and businesses.
- For an Education Business: Offer some your fundamental lectures for free online. Or, conduct an online class to help students and knowledge seekers.
- For Businesses in the Health & Fitness Space: Offer a weekly newsletter laying out diet plans as per weight classes. You can also begin with online classes to show some easy to do exercises at home. You should consider YouTube Live for such initiatives.
The point is – this is one grand experiment. People have to stay home. They are consuming more content digitally. This would be a great time to start producing some digital assets and grow your online brand equity. Build opinion leadership and growth will follow.
You should also consider looking at WordPress designing for your website. If you are planning to pull more traffic on to your website, you should optimize it for giving a great experience.
5. Upgrade Your Skills
There are several platforms like Udemy, Unacademy, UpGrad, Coursera, edX and LinkedIn Learning where you can pick up key skills. Whether there is a comprehensive skill set like Data Science or just a subject that interests you, like Philosophy, now would be a great time to focus on expanding it. Many of the listed platforms are offering free classes.