When COVID-19 hit and businesses were forced to shutter their doors (for good reason), it left many companies scrambling trying to figure out how to stay afloat during a pandemic. However, small business owners are infinitely resourceful, and many companies utilized digital communication tools, strategies, and tools to connect with co-workers and customers in new ways during these times.
Now, as many businesses are tasked with the prospect of reopening, it would be foolhardy to let all that digital innovation go by the wayside. Rather, it’s vital to maintain those digital strategies and crisis-mode efforts for the long run.
Common digital strategies adopted by businesses during COVID-19
Small businesses had to pivot, adapt, restrategize, and reorganize during COVID-19 and many implemented creative solutions with new technology to help business continue.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways small businesses have adapted to the new realities COVID-19 presented:
- Online ordering and delivery services. Many businesses instituted online ordering systems for the first time. They also offered delivery when they previously did not. Curbside pickup was also an option for many restaurants and essential stores. This adaptation to the digital marketplace took a lot of real effort in a short period of time.
- Social media outreach. If a company didn’t rely on social media very much in the past, the pandemic saw them reaching out via social for the first time. Often, this resulted in the use of live social platforms like Instagram Live and Facebook Live to reach potential customers in real-time and to interact with customers. The social outreach was also heavily used to promote business news, coupons, and other information.
- Virtual events. Another thing you likely saw a lot of companies do as COVID-19 began was to hold virtual events. Virtual DJ parties, Zoom conferences, and other events acted as a way for companies to engage with their customer base from a distance.
- Online classes. For some small business owners who teach (like fitness, language lessons, or cooking classes), they had to shift their instruction to online to keep their staff and customers safe.
Implementing these strategies for the long-run
Now that a lot of businesses are reopening, the strategies implemented during the initial COVID-19 outbreak can (and should) be extended and put into permanent practice. There are two key things you can do:
Evaluate your marketing budget
If digital marketing is truly a new concept for your small business, take a look at what you were spending on traditional marketing efforts and see what you can pare back. Using social media and other digital marketing strategies are effective tools. Take what works from print media and digital media and marry the two.
Prioritize digital strategies
Even though businesses are now reopening, many people will still be at home. So, prioritizing digital strategies where you can is an important step.
If you begin having in-person events again, still hold the virtual events, too.
If customers can physically shop in your store, still offer online ordering.
Maintaining your digital marketing efforts will be essential in making this a smooth reopening experience. Plus, it acts as a failsafe. Should another lockdown happen, you’ll be able to lean on those digital strategies more seamlessly now that they have been implemented and maintained.
Want to learn more about adapting to the new normal? Go to OpenWeStand.org for more resources for small business owners during these challenging times.