4 Ways to Keep Your Small Business Sales Going During COVID-19
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities – and our economy. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees account for 48% of American jobs and 43.5% of GDP. As a small business owner, you understand what it’s like to operate on lean profit margins and how vulnerable you can be to even a minor financial set back. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the face of what it means to stay in business. Here are five strategies to help you keep your sales going during this unknown time.
1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Beef up your connections with your customers – now more than ever it’s important to let your customers know how they can safely contact you at a distance – and again when things open up. Some tips include:
Stay active on social media.
With over 3 billion regular social media users prior to the pandemic, social media is the place where everyone finds entertainment and to reignite a sense of community. It’s an easy – and free – tool to announce partnerships, discounts for healthcare workers and first responders, BOGO sales, community support (such as where to access local food banks or make charitable donations) and what new products you are featuring on your e-store to make sheltering-at-home a bit easier.
A fun way to communicate is to post a business-related challenge or contest to your social media accounts, such as “Show us your best dog grooming technique” for a pet store or “We want to see the home improvement project you’re finally finishing” for a local hardware store. And don’t forget the hashtags! #DoggyDisaster or #HomeImprovement. Make sure followers like your photos and tag at least two of their friends.
Send an email to existing customers.
Are you changing your hours or closing your doors? Taking your business virtual? What are you doing to mitigate risk, such as contactless delivery, wearing masks and gloves, regularly sanitizing your location and equipment? Send your customers an email to keep them up to date on your business and top of mind.
Update your website.
Now is the perfect time to add new content that’s informative and engaging. How-to articles, Q&As, video or photo demonstrations regularly bring visitors coming back to your site.
Ask for input.
What do customers want from your business right now and in the future? Be open minded about the comments that come in, as they may help your business in the long run by highlighting customer pain points or concerns. The pandemic can be an opportunity to gain new insights into your business and plan on making customer-focused improvements when you reopen.
2. Promote Customer Incentives
Customers are looking to support small businesses by buying gift cards now to use when social distancing and other restrictions are lifted. If you don’t already have one, setting up an e-gift card program is generally straightforward.
Additionally, professional services businesses, non-profits or other small business types can offer customers incentives unique to their industry. Since people will always need lawyers – particularly for bankruptcies, divorces, estate planning and probate – these practitioners may offer a free consultation or a specially priced package of services. Accountants and tax professionals can do the same to help customers with their taxes or financial documents to apply for business loans. Marketing consultants can offer a discount helping businesses re-vamp their marketing strategies in this new world.
3. Go Digital with Your Services
Take advantage of streaming video or chat to keep your services top-of-mind. Fitness studios, tutoring, psychological counseling, health and wellness products, formerly in-home fashion lines can benefit from free streaming technology and channels to help them host a new product launch or special offering or awards ceremony for current employees.
4. Offer Customer Discounts
Offer coupons to current customers if they refer someone during the downturn. Depending on your business, encourage customers to lock in a one-year membership now at a discounted rate or free shipping on online orders. Also, consider creating special online sales – think “Black Friday” in April.
These are uncertain times for everyone. Popular Bank is here to help. Learn more about your small business financing options.