Tips for a Small Business to Survive the Crisis

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Pratibha Devasenapathy | Aug-27-2020

Businesses have been taking a major hit due to Covid-19 lockdown. The supply chain has been disrupted, imports are down, and markets are bearish. The MSME segment has perhaps been the hardest hit and at the same time, some industries have also flourished given the changing patterns of needs and consumption of the customers.  While we strive to find our way towards the “new normal” there are aspects that have begun emerging clearly with respect to people as consumers and businesses. The landscape of media and retail has changed drastically, with increased TV consumption and shopping behaviour becoming more of an online activity, the ‘new normal’ has already taken the front-seat in most industries.

To sustain, several markets are now planning and testing their marketing strategies and digging deep on tactics to emerge from this pandemic. Small businesses – manufacturing, trading, service, retail, etc who have been hit with this situation may need to cut down on marketing- but should definitely not cut it all down. These businesses can take an advantage of this situation and adopt several digital strategies to market themselves. In the digital marketing world, continuous innovation and consistency are required as no one knows which combination of strategies will click. As no one can guarantee the success of any single strategy, MSMEs must continuously keep trying out different approaches for different opportunities.

Stay connected with your customers through digital means

One of the most challenging tasks during these unprecedented times, is to stay in touch with your existing customer base. They would need access to various kinds of information like; how you’ll cater to their needs without direct interactions, what kind of product offerings are you integrating to help them, how will you manage addressing their grievances given the limited customer service availability, etc. With an increase in competition in the market, it is important that you do everything possible to make your customers’ life easy and as less affected as possible.

To do so, create social media profiles and keep your contact details updated, so customers can seek assistance anytime of the day - helping you generate leads even when you are asleep. Addressing grievances and even service-related queries can be communicated seamlessly through social media platforms. While you may be unable to physically meet with the customer, make efforts to make them feel connected to you via digital means. This includes, giving service during this time right from simple messages to giving service- delivery, online consultations, demos etc., can help spread good word about your product, further resulting in positive responses and good online reviews.

Look at potential avenues – Digital transformation

Fortunately, or unfortunately this pandemic has led to digital transformation of organizations, as it no longer is a question of choice but a way of life to survive and sustain. With physical interactions taking a backseat, adoption of “digital way” has become the “new way”. If given the opportunity to engage a customer to try a new experience, make sure it’s easy, satisfying and positive for that kind of an experience will build connection and loyalty.

Several B2B companies are investing in webinars which aim at educating their customers and prospects about their product/service, primarily the ones that have definitive value addition for customers and businesses  Leads are generated reliably and engaging an audience with an interactive Q&A session at the end of each webinar allows marketers to take on board new understanding about areas of traction and areas of weakness and solve problems for greater impact. Online experiences and virtual walkthroughs are much easier to plan, execute and collect ROI as compared to traditional events, so there is little surprise that B2B marketers are turning to them as their most popular marketing method.

Optimise advertising cost via right media choices and invest more in website and its optimization

With remote connections and reduced direct interactions in place, customers will seek assistance and access to information through online modes. Your company’s website will play a crucial role in forming a bridge between you and your customer. Investing in making your website engaging and better optimized and providing all the necessary information relevant to your audience, will help both you and your customers/prospects.

It is not a costly affair and is a great tool to increase the footfall of clients. Your website must clearly explain your product, what you do, and keep it updated with other credentials. Appearing in the top results of the search is also crucial, as it will give your business an edge over your competitors. This is possible only with the right messaging, targeting and keywords. Investing in SEO (search engine optimisation) will help your website gain better visibility, thus resulting in more sales and new leads. There are enough and more agencies who can provide expertise in this area and at competitive costs.

While advertising is important, especially in B2C and ecommerce, the cost-effective media choice is even more critical with a very targeted approach. With lockdown impositions, consumption of media patterns has changed, digital, mobile content is more relevant, WhatsApp forwards are lifelines for most. Revisiting media choices would be a wise choice.

Reach out to the companies providing solutions for MSMEs

MSMEs have unique needs, which companies providing solutions understand well. Their requirements are best met by companies who design solutions for them Thus, considering these business solution providers as your growth partner will do you and your business a great deal of good. Be it software, be it marketing and networking services, financial services, they will be the ones offering solutions, support and new ideas, and may also be giving special offers and support during this time, that will give you the much-needed boost. While choosing a business software, you need to keep in mind some of the basic checks like your company’s cash flow, investment in other modes of marketing strategies, long-term plans, etc. These solution providers must take care of your need of the hour and be aware of the contingencies that may befall you.

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