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Navigating the coronavirus crisis: how to adapt your business to the current situation

After promptly informing your customers about the health measures you’ve put in place in response to the novel coronavirus crisis, you should start considering how to adapt your business approach.

Now that stores are closed and everyone is confined to their homes by government order, it can be a challenging time to sell your products or services.

But you can take matters into your own hands by adapting your approach and business offerings to the current situation! Whether by embracing digital transformation, offering alternative, yet comparable products, or making your services available online, you can still reach your customers by innovating and adapting.

1 – Pause all your automated campaigns

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If you haven’t already, you should definitely pause all your automated campaigns (Facebook, Google, Instagram, and email campaigns, and so on). Any campaigns set up prior to the crisis could appear out of place or even tone deaf and offensive. You could alter their messaging and republish them, but be sure to take the time to weigh your words and how they reflect your next steps!

2 – Brainstorm and reflect

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Let’s start at the beginning. Your business is undeniably unique and so is its day-to-day. To make an informed and innovative decision on how to move forward during this difficult time, ask yourself the following questions before taking action:

What can I do to be helpful in this time of crisis?

Being helpful goes a long way these days. For many, finances are unstable, and everyone is paying close attention to the crisis and its effects. Your business should revisit its messaging and offer your customers something useful as they. too, try to navigate this time of crisis. Now is not the time to be an opportunist. Now is the time to help! 

What are the current purchasing habits of my customers?

Parents must now care for children staying home from school; students are attending lectures online; employees must work from home; social gatherings have gone virtual; and those who are unemployed have to find ways to pass the time. It goes without saying that your customers’ daily habits have changed. To get through to them, you, too, have to change!

Can my products or services be sold online?

If the answer is yes, then seize the opportunity by altering your business approach! If the answer is no, then think about alternative, yet similar, products or services you could sell more easily online. 

That said, consumers’ habits are evolving and will continue to evolve well after this crisis. The current situation has resulted in an exponential increase in online purchasing. People aren’t buying less–they’re just buying differently! 

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Innovation will pay off, believe me.

Examples of innovative, new business approaches

In case you need a little inspiration, here are a few examples of business who have successfully adapted their approach to better reach their customers:

Virtual shopping sessions

The clothing boutique Editorial  in Montreal recently launched their new virtual shopping sessions with a stylist. The customer reserves a time slot on Calendly, then an Editorial stylist takes them on a virtual tour of the boutique via FaceTime and suggests items to meet their style needs! If any of the looks appeal to the customer, they can purchase them directly. Editorial then ships the order after sanitizing the parcel.

Online boutique

The hair salon Euphorik in Sherbrooke quickly turned things around by creating their own online boutique! In so doing, the salon can continue to sell beauty products (alternative products) and maintain business operations online! By simply adding their new online boutique to their Facebook page, their digital transformation was a seamless one. Not only that, their online boutique will stay open even after the pandemic. This online effort will most certainly pay off in the future, too.

Transformation of the offer

The hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer has decided to lend a hand to the healthcare industry by creating face shields to protect against the virus. This has allowed them to keep their production line running and keep employees on staff, even during the crisis. This generosity has got people talking, too, and, as a result, Bauer’s brand image has only improved!

Instagram contest

Made With Love, a professional cocktail creation competition, recently decided to regale their Instagram followers with a “Home Sweet Home” contest. On the menu: plenty of prizes to be won! Made With Love has made the best of the current situation while simultaneously increasing their community’s engagement and loyalty!

For more inspiration, check out this webinar.

3 – Take your business online

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You guessed it: digital transformation is a must to keep your business going these days! There are many tools at your disposal to help you make the transition to digital and continue business operations during times of crisis. 

You could consider offering new services free of charge (for greater customer loyalty or brand affinity) or for a fee (for an immediate return). It all depends on your goals! So that you can choose the best method for sharing your services with customers, why not draw inspiration from your competitors’ offers and consider the added value you can give your customers?

video

Offering your services online via video or video conference is certainly a viable alternative, especially for all things education, consultation, entertainment, or physical training.

Here are a few handy tools for hosting discussions in small groups: Skype, Google Hangout, Join me, GoToMeeting, BeamYourScreen, Zoom.

And here are a few tools for hosting webinars, lectures, and training: Kajabi, GoToWebinar, Be.Live, Zoom, WebinarJam, Click Meeting, Teachable, Thinkific, Facebook Live, or Instagram Live.

Here are a few sound editing tools (such as for podcasts or virtual lectures): SoundCloud, Google Voice, Audacity (PC) and GarageBand (Mac).

Written

Do you want to offer your customers something to go along with your services, such as a guide or checklist? You can do so using Canva. It’s free and easy! Plus, there are already plenty of templates to choose from. Otherwise, a simple Google Doc to PDF conversion also works!

Online shopping

One option now available to local businesses, restaurants, and artisans is selling their products online and shipping directly to customers Nonetheless, you don’t have to go all in and create a brand new website from scratch (which can take months!).  There are actually many other, simpler ways to sell your products online. Here are a few examples:

Method #1

Share images of your products via social media and email, start accepting Interac or PayPal payments, and process orders via email.

Method #2

Create a landing page with Leadfox that highlights your products (we’ve already created a few such templates for you) and link that page to a Shopify account (or simply process orders via email).

Method #3 

Add an online boutique on your Facebook page.

4 – Get the word out about your new approach

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Once you’ve selected and implemented your new approach, you obviously have to get the word out for it to work! You could do so by creating social media ads (that lead to your landing page), launching a pop-up on your website, or sending an email to your entire contacts list!

Good news: we can help you there! Schedule an appointment with our marketing experts and request access to our comprehensive marketing campaign templates (like the one above)!

Now, more than ever, is the time to have an online presence. Don’t be afraid to go all out on your online platforms–there has been no better time!

5 – Think local

Now that confinement has become a necessity, people aren’t really traveling or commuting that much. Local consumerism is undergoing and will continue to undergo a considerable evolution. 

Think of ways you can draw attention to your business within your local community. Communities everywhere want to help local businesses weather the storm, so don’t hesitate to address your local community through your messaging. Try to also tailor your messaging to the specific circumstances your town, city, or county is going through. This crisis is impacting everyone differently, and you should consider the impact to your own community.En cette période de confinement, les individus ne voyagent plus et se promènent rarement d’une région à une autre.  La consommation locale vit et continuera à vivre une grande évolution. 

But please! Now is not the time to be an opportunist!

The COVID-19 crisis is a very serious and delicate subject for most people. Be careful not to seem too opportunistic in any of your messaging. Help your customers, inform them of your situation, and modify your offer to best suit their needs, but don’t use this as an opportunity for personal gain. It’s time to forgo any comedic or sales-oriented messaging to instead focus on compassion, solidarity, and empathy for your consumers. 

This article by Radio-Canada perfectly demonstrates why it is so important to weigh your words carefully.

Summary: checklist

In summary, here’s what you can do to help your business make it through the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Pause all automated campaigns
  • Take some time to consider next steps
  • Find new, creative ways to reach your customers
  • Adapt your business approach to the circumstances
  • Get the word out about your new approach
  • Be part of your local community

We’re here for you!

Don’t forget that we’re by your side during these difficult times! You can schedule an appointment with our marketing experts free of charge right here. They’ll help you develop a game plan for the next few weeks. We wish you the best of luck during these trying times!

And do feel free to try out the marketing campaign templates we’ve created specifically to address the current situation (free shipping, physical training at home, information on COVID-19-related health measures, etc.)!

About the Author:

Avec plus de 10 ans d'expériences en marketing et publicité, je me donne comme mission de permettre à tout entreprise et entrepreneur d'augmenter leurs ventes sur le web!

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