Surviving the Covid-19 Pandemic: How Small & Midsize Business Owners Can Thrive?

Guest Post by Olivier Madel

The covid-19 pandemic has been around for quite some time, and it’s no surprise that SMB (Small & Midsize Business) owners are feeling the effects. However, it’s important to keep in mind that every business needs a marketing strategy for success during this difficult time. In this post, I will outline 3 ways you can ensure your business survives now and thrives in the future!

Are you struggling to sell your products or services?

Maybe it’s time to ship your focus on your existing customers instead of going after new acquisitions. The best way to do this is by providing them with a personalized experience. For example, you could send out an email campaign that offers discounts and deals on their favorite products or services they’ve previously purchased from your business! This will help keep customers engaged while also increasing sales numbers for the time being until things get back up to a new normal.

Your greatest asset – Is your customers!

In the last 3 years, I found out that most business owners stubbornly refuse to change their marketing to appeal to existing clients. They would rather wait for new clients to come in so they can offer them all of their products and services. I know this because it’s what I did when I had my own business and I paid a high price for customer acquisition. What you need is to build a personalized experience aimed at those who have already purchased from you (even if just once), not a generic marketing campaign that could be used by any competitor.

What you need to do is send your customers something of value – such as an article, video, or podcast related directly to the product and service they already purchased from you! This will help keep them engaged while also increasing sales numbers for your business during this time until things get back to normal.

The other thing you can do is offer your customers a discount on their next purchase if they buy now – such as an additional 20% off the original price! This will also help keep them engaged and buying from only one company during this time of the pandemic, which means less competition for everyone involved in these tough times ahead.

The reality is that even in this “interesting” time, most business owners are still focusing on acquiring new customers instead of working with their existing ones

Take a look at your data and see what you can do to help make these customers happy again during the pandemic.

Your SMB can thrive even during this bad economy. If you’re putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diversify your offerings on the reselling, upselling, and cross-selling fronts to those same customers – at every stage of customer interactions.

The best way to do this is by providing them with a personalized experience: for example, sending out an email campaign that offers discounts and deals on products or services previously purchased from your business. This will help keep the customer engaged while also increasing sales numbers until things get back.

Do you have a customer list? This is the time to use it (or start one)!

I’m still surprised about how many SMBs or brick & mortar owners don’t have an accurate and timely customer list. Now it’s time to work with those customers that you already have. Remember that they brought something from you once, it’s time to increase their experience and make them buy again.

Use this time to build perpetual communication with your customers, and they will reward you with their loyalty.

How many times do you contact your customer after they made an initial contact or made an initial purchase?

Do you offer them an opportunity to bump to larger sales?

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, it doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant, a plumber, a lawyer, a roofer, or a dentist.

Maybe you have all figure out the number of times your customer buy from you on their own but have you considered how the value of a customer increases if you get in contact with them again and again?

You’ll sell any product profitably once you know your customer well enough. This first sale is only the beginning of a potentially long-term relationship with an attractive, valuable clientele. It’s only when you extend the back-end that you’ll know how much a customer is worth to you.

Use this opportunity to provide them with a special offer. Offer an upgrade or cross-sell product that they might not have thought about before, but would be perfect for their needs now!

At the end of the day, the marketplace decides what they want to buy and the only way to know what they want is through personalized feedback. What are you waiting for? Go ahead, get in touch with your customers now!

Use this pandemic to make inexpensive test to determine what your market want, and be prepared for the next time.

You’ll never know what they want if you don’t ask. Use this opportunity to provide them with a special offer and build your data. This will understand what you can upsell, cross-sell, bump, or work on some deals.

What you want is to build a back-end of your only offer, service, or product.

Your sales funnel should focus 80% of its efforts on the back-end, because this is where you will make the best profit for the minimum of work.

This is why you should be happy that the covid-19 pandemic has hit (ok I know, hard to swallow, but since it’s there, we better do something positive about the situation). Use this as a time to get some feedback from your market and find out what they want! The only way for them to tell you, it’s through personalized interaction with your customers.

With the front-end, you create the customer experience. Your back-end should be focused on finding out what your customers want and need, so you can give it to them in a timely manner! Doing this well will provide more opportunities for sales of new products if they were not satisfied with their initial purchase or if their product needs change over time.

Create a survey and send it out to your customers. Make sure you ask them what they want, need, or are looking for that has not been met by the current product offering at this time (or in general). It is important upfront on how often these surveys should be sent as well; too much can become spammy.

But don’t be afraid to take this initiative. Surveys are a great way to establish customer loyalty and build your brand.

In addition, surveys will give you the opportunity for feedback from current customers on what they like about your products or service that can be improved upon or changed altogether with future versions of those same product offerings! A win-win all around in this case because there is no sense in spending time on your part.

Are you struggling with your numbers?

The most important number you should focus on during the Covid-19 pandemic and all through 2021 is understanding your customer’s Marginal Net Worth.

What’s this magical number?

Let’s say that your average customer brought in an average profit of $100 on their first sale.

And she/he repurchases 3 more times during 2020, with an average reorder of $300 and on each order, you make a $150 gross profit. And keep this customer up until 2022, every new customer is worth $1000. (150x3x2+100).

Once you know this figure, you know how to work with the data.

You need to understand that you’re sitting there with lots of assets that could be worth a profit to you if you accept to look at them with fresh eyes. Most existing businesses are neglecting this idea and it is this single strategy that can immediately bear fruit.

The idea is to take a break from all the negative and just focus on what you can do right now. Chances are that if it’s been more than three years since your last marketing campaign, there might be an entire generation of potential (old) customers out in front of you who have no clue about how great they could feel when you offer them more services or products.

Are you missing out on the opportunities inside of your own business?

Overlooked opportunities exist in almost any business, some even more, like retailers.

These overlooked opportunities are in the form of customers, products, and services that have not been considered or realized for one reason (or many) during a period. The best way to find these missed “opportunities” is by entertaining ideas which negate your assumptions about what you know already as being true with your customers today – this sounds unusual but retailers don’t really understand the leverage they have.

How many small retailers do you know capture information about their customers?

I’m not talking about big brands or franchise stores. I’m talking about the mums & p0ps businesses that have been running their businesses for decades and who do not capture any customer data.

One of the reasons they don’t is because it’s expensive to do so when you’re a small business owner with just one or two employees – and if there are that many people in your store or office, how can anyone provide an accurate count? Yet some customers will reward these businesses by providing their contact details on request.

They don’t realize that capturing just a few pieces of information like customer’s name, or past purchases, total dollars spent, etc. You can use this data to send personalized direct mail, email campaigns, retargeting offers, or other customer retention campaigns to people who are about the leave your store.

As businesses face uncertainty during CovID–ease 19 outbreak – how to work your past customers will be a matter of dying or surviving

Now, what can you do to ensure you’re one of the businesses that survive?

Use the data you’ve collected, and:

  • notify your customers of sales or promo ahead of the general public
  • offer to your best customers limited availability offers
  • educate your customers
  • send out an email campaign with offers or coupons (just make sure there’s something in it worth taking) starting on day one of their purchase

Are you struggling to out-work the competition?

The most important part of your marketing plan is to educate your customer. You educate them on your product, or service, on your business or practice, on your market.

When you educate your customer, you’ll see the profit soar. I mean think about you for a moment, when you buy a product, do you buy from the company that sells it without telling anyone or educating you about what you’re buying?

You want to make sure your customer is educated on their purchase before making a decision and if not then at least show them how beneficial this information will be for both parties which leads me too: improve communication with customers.

Education is a powerful marketing technique, this one concept alone will give you a unique advantage other your competition.

As an SMB owner, you’re in the perfect position to take advantage of this opportunity, you can reposition your business as the source for industry information. This is the best way to build your brand and create customer loyalty.

The more information you give your customers, the better. Data is power in this new world – and it’s something that SMBs have a lot of access to because they can be agile enough to change course with this fast-changing market dynamics (compared to larger companies).

Customers want to know how you can enhance their circumstances.

As a business owner, your goal should be to help customers in the best way possible – by providing information about how you can make life easier in this new world and better meet customer needs as they evolve over time (ease into it). You are on an upward trajectory when people want more from what you provide: information.

If you can simply answer this question, you’re in:

How do your customers benefit by doing business with you instead of somebody else?

In a world where people are connecting with others through their phones, how can your business connect digitally but still retain that human element?

Be creative, don’t be afraid to pivot how you’re currently doing things, and think about how you can take advantage of the current situation.

The time to change is now! Remember, it’s about dying or surviving all through 2021.

Last, but not least. This is a major pandemic that will kill tens of millions and you can’t afford to wait for the government or experts in your industry who may be slow at making decisions – it might already have been too late when they do finally make one!

You can’t wait to get unstuck. Hopefully, this post and others will help you get unstuck. We all need to make a decision today if we want our business to thrive or dying in the future.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. “Whether we want a thriving business or not!”. If you’re hungry for growth, I’m willing to work with you around a strategic call at no cost to you, I love chatting about business growth and marketing, we can throw some ideas on the table.

Or you can always comment, I’m open for questions, criticisms or just share your opinion. I want to make this a conversation not a monologue.

Olivier Madel

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olivier Madel is a marketing nerd who loves to work with small businesses. He has been in the field of Digital Marketing for three years, advising over 500 business owners about their marketing strategy and helping them achieve success. Olivier is an expert at implementing reliable, predictable, consistent systems that affordably provide abundant quantities of quality prospects and customers. His goal is to provide you an accurate measurement of return on investment! You can connect with Olivier on LinkedIn

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