Many SMB owners are coming to a collective realization that the world has entered a permanent global shift. But this shift has also provided an opportunity to pivot existing strategies and explore lean and creative offerings. In order to stay relevant, SMBs must create targeted, nimble strategies to mirror the new demands both of the economy and their audiences.
The need to make such changes can feel overwhelming, but focusing your efforts can make it manageable. Here’s how to reimagine your online presence to increase visibility, drive digital traffic, and bolster sales.
Whether you’re an artisanal brewery or a boho boutique, chances are you’ve already found ways to sell products and services online. However, businesses that want to do more than make ends meet need to rethink how and where to market their products.
One of the smartest things small businesses can do is reimagine their audience. Whether you’ve recently gone online or you’ve changed your online offerings, cast a wider net to reach new members of the same audience.
For example, TentCraft — which makes custom branded tents for festivals and events — pivoted their product to cater to COVID-19 needs. Rather than target consumer brands, TentCraft reimagined its audience to cater to hospitals and medical groups. Now, TentCraft creates portable, drive-through screening and containment tents for customers across the country. TentCraft leveraged Salesforce’s Sales Cloud, Pardot, and Engage products to coordinate and communicate the change to ensure they could make a quick and efficient impact.
You know your business will never be the same — but what about your customers? Chances are, their lives have also been upended by the rapid social and economic transformations of the past few months. As a result, SMBs need to rethink how to create demand for existing products.
For example, PepTalkHer founder and CEO Meggie Palmer pivoted her company, which provides gender-equality resources for the workplace, to cater to current career concerns regarding COVID-19.
Her curated #PowerPepTalks were quickly created and shared to help women boost their skillset and stay competitive in the workforce during a challenging time. While this was still relevant to her original product and mission, Palmer tweaked her offering so messages remained relevant to her audience. PepTalkHer’s quick transition was facilitated with Salesforce Essentials, where Palmer funneled all registrants and their information. This process helped gather qualified leads for easy retargeting and remarketing later on.
Think about the ways in which your customers' lives have shifted. What are their current needs and priorities? Use this information to dream up out-of-the-box ideas that foster novelty and drive demand.
If you’ve pivoted and changed your product in any way, it means you recognize your target customer has new pain points. Creating more visibility around your small business requires that you have a strong understanding of these specific needs and concerns. This will enable you to create content and send messages that address these new pain points (and propose a solution).
Turn to free or low-cost strategies like social media and email to share these messages with both current customers and new audiences. For example, after the coworking community CreativeCubes.Co could no longer offer their in-person product, they shifted their business strategy to offer new content aimed at targeting emerging pain points created by working at home. These resources were sent via a reengagement email campaign and included helpful, relevant tips like staying focused on the job and meal prepping healthy food. Using Pardot to track and connect with customers, CreativeCubes.Co was able to retain 97% of their member base.
In any situation, small businesses need to focus on reestablishing trust by creating helpful, informative content customers need.
Cutting costs is a no-brainer, especially if you’ve shifted from a physical store to an online one (or you’re aiming for a balance of both). This is why it’s important to think about areas where you can cut expenses without losing income, especially in regards to administrative processes.
Think: what tools, apps, and services does your business pay for? There may be subscriptions you no longer need after shifting your business model. Consultants and contractors may also be an added cost — evaluate which services can be done in-house or managed in a more efficient way.
For example, when the coffee shop Bitty & Beau’s was forced to temporarily shut down and lay off 120 employees, the owners quickly pivoted to a nimbler strategy. In just one week, Bitty and Beau’s co-founders Amy and Ben Wright got an online store up and running where they sell and market products from home. Now, they sell everything from coffee beans to branded aprons to branded "Cozy Care" packages.
Additionally, cutting costs in one area can free up capital for investing in a customer relationship management (CRM) that can make your processes for customer communication, sales, and marketing quick and efficient — which can save time and money while boosting visibility in the long run. In addition to helping you reopen your business, making your current processes more nimble will prepare it for the waves of uncertainty in the months and years ahead.
Small businesses that want to reopen on a strong foot must target the new challenges and pain points their customers face. By pivoting existing product, marketing, and sales strategies with these needs in mind, small businesses can increase their visibility and reach new and engaged audiences.
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For more business and leadership inspiration, check out our entire Leading Through Change series.