Impact of the COVID pandemic on SMEs and lessons learned from it
As we enter 2021, the world is gradually learning to overcome the challenges imposed by the COVID pandemic. Businesses worldwide are facing the unprecedented task of continuing to generate profits and retaining customers. Due to severe restrictions limiting consumer interaction, businesses cannot continue to market their products and services in the traditional ways anymore.
The pandemic has highlighted the flaws of traditional marketing practices in times like these. The biggest impact incurred by the pandemic has been on small to medium sized enterprises all over Europe. With most of the world working and studying from home, transitioning to digital marketing is the need of the hour. This is particularly important for SMEs to stay competitive, preserve customer loyalty and reach new buyers.
The lessons learned from 2020 can be valuable for SMEs going forward into 2020. SMEs can adapt to the changing times &
adapt their marketing strategies in simple and yet extremely effective ways to not only recover from the pandemic but also grow their businesses at a faster rate than before. Having a vast array of online resources at the disposal of marketers, businesses can reach new heights and smoothly transition from the traditional to the digital.
How can businesses transition from the past to the future using digital marketing
Omnichannel marketing through Google Ads and social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are no longer merely tools for posting pictures, communicating with friends and following celebrities. Each of these channels have unique offerings for your business and innovative ways of reaching your customers by targeting the audience suited for your business. And the best part of it all “IT’S FREE”. Setting up an account with your business and its details is absolutely free of cost and can yet, if engaging enough, generate valuable leads and create organic reach. However, to go the extra mile, one can always opt into paid advertising in order to stand out and be more noticeable to potential customers.
Once the accounts are set up make sure to regularly fill them with valuable content, posts related to new products, discounts, offers and giveaways in order to keep your audience engaged.
And finally, make sure your business pops up when a potential customer looks you up online, by signing up for Google Ads. Creating an account is free of cost and once set up, Google Ads provide a consolidated dashboard of your daily costs, impression, click through rate and your return on investment.
Creating a compelling website and incorporating e-commerce into your business to generate brand awareness
Create a simple and well-functioning website for customers to reach out to you and fully understand what your business is about. Make sure your website accurately reflects the value that you bring to your customers. Once the website is done, perform a search engine optimization or SEO to make the website easy to find and relevant through online search engines.
As 2020 has shown us, e-commerce is certainly the future for most, if not all transactions. Customers love the feeling of being able to order the things they love, from the comfort of their homes. Make sure your products are listed on popular e-commerce websites such as Amazon, Google shopping, Alibaba. All of these channels in turn drive customers towards your website and create awareness for your business. Even, if your company does not have an e-commerce product, the website serves as a great tool for generating awareness and as a selling tool for potential buyers.
If you are a well-known clothing store in your town, make sure to set up a website and if possible, online purchase capabilities and online payment options for your business. With online tools such as Wix and WordPress, designing websites and incorporating e-commerce has become simpler than ever before.
Interacting with customers on a regular basis to gain insights and being a part of the online conversation
Once the website and the social media are up, it’s now time to communicate with customers. Make sure your social media and website is abundant with reviews from customers for all your products. Be friendly and courteous. Respond to questions in a timely and polite manner to show that you care about the customer. Nothing helps a business grow more than a positive word of mouth from an existing customer.
Generating brand loyalty and customer satisfaction by telling your story
Connecting with your customers. Let the customers know what you do, how you do it and why you do it. For example, If you are a local clothes retailer, tell your customers about your work process. Make videos about how you create new products, where you source your materials from and how you help others process. This helps consumers connect with your brand and take inspiration.
Own up to your mistakes. In marketing making mistakes is inevitable, however, how a company responds to it is what makes the difference. Owning up to any mistakes or marketing slip-ups shows commitment towards customers and integrity of the company.
Be efficient when it comes to fulfilling orders, processing payments, answering customer queries, responding to comments. Doing so, increases brand loyalty and helps businesses adapt new products to customer needs as well as generate new ideas. Be consistent with your messaging. Your website and social media should convey the same story to your customers. Make sure all your channels have consistent fonts, colors, pictures, and slogans.
Mastering these simple tricks provides a great boost for your business and helps you manage your marketing expenditure more effectively.
How can Passion Communications help your business in transitioning from the traditional to the digital?
At Passion communications, our customers are at the heart of our business. Whatever we do, however we do it, we do it with passion. Our expertise includes website development, paid ads management, digital marketing strategy and video ads production.
Case in point – Hell’s Barber – A unique barber shop with a fiery flair
In the beginning of 2020 Hell’s Barber came into business and closed immediately due to the COVID pandemic. Once they reopened in May of 2020, they struggled like every other small business to gain customers. Looking for ways to save their business and grow sales, Hell’s Barber approached Passion to help them get through this difficult phase and that is exactly what we did.
Through, a consolidated online marketing campaign via Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube we transformed Hell’s Barber from a struggling business in Prague to a well-known men’s grooming salon with a fiery flair and a unique style. The campaign led to a 5-fold increase in brand awareness and 54 percent increase in sales.