Posted in The Swanky Hen

Survival Strategies for your Small Business

I hope you are doing well. I don’t think any of us are experiencing much of normal life right now, but we are breathing so let’s be thankful. So many are facing job loss, shutdowns, cutbacks, and on top of the financial chaos we are terrified for our lives. COVID-19 has changed everything.

We have never seen anything like this. My constant prayer is for an end to this virus, for health and safety, and that we may show the love of Jesus in the face of hysteria and fear.

There is much to say about the Coronavirus, but that isn’t why I am writing today. Today I am writing to my small business friends! Hello & BIG HUGS your way because I know life is scary right now. I want to talk to you about what you are doing regarding sales and marketing. What is your strategy? Even though times are unprecedented we must keep moving forward. Moving forward cannot look the same as it did last year, last season, or even a few weeks ago. I have talked about evolving your strategies before, but it is more important than ever! Many small businesses won’t make it through this and those that do will adapt to an ever-changing environment.

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” —W. Edwards Deming.

Mr. Deming’s quote it painful, but rings true. What industry are you in? Most people that I talk with and have helped in the past work in Housing, Real Estate, Insurance, Auto, or RV. No matter what you are selling or who you represent your digital presence and strategies are important so let’s talk.

What is relevant today and what should you be focusing on?

Trends have already told us that people don’t want to be sold, they want an experience. People want a relationship. Our face-to-face capabilities are limited more today than ever before so we must use our greatest tool. SOCIAL MEDIA! Create a Digital Relationship. What kind of experience do you provide for your customer? How can you recreate that experience in the digital realm? People aren’t looking for some over produced, canned videos, they are looking for you. Reach out to your customers, be real and connect with them.

Video has long been and still is the best avenue to reach your customers. People are really looking for entertainment right now. Provide excellent content.

Tip: Virtual Tours, Product Info, Check-Ins – BE REAL! Don’t over think it, don’t be “salesy” make a genuine connection and talk to your customers.

How are you communicating?

Communicating via social media is great. Make sure you have a team member attending to all messages and comments that come in. Don’t miss a lead! Answer questions, provide information, and moderate when needed.

If you have an ad that starts generating a lot of comments be sure to engage with your customers. I am all for sending price or specific information via message but use this space to create more interest in other instances. If you are advertising a specific model and someone asks a question about something similar don’t just answer with words, answer with a picture or a link. Not only is that customer more likely to engage, but so are others.

If you haven’t heard yet, people don’t like to talk on the phone. Some do, but not many. People also aren’t into emails. The open rate for your email is about 20% YOWZER … the response rate is only about 6%. So, I would suggest calling if you want to leave a voicemail and never hear back and emailing if you want to send it there to die.

Double NOPE for me. I would focus on answering comments, working messenger leads and have a text option available for your customers. Advertise a number they can text with questions and be available to work this way.

Think about the Greater Situation in all you do.

Look through any scheduled posts you have and make sure they are not going to be insensitive. When you scheduled ads last month you had no idea what would be taking place today. Delete things that might be taken wrong and adjust.

Think about your community and what they are going through. Share relevant articles, share things relevant to your industry and things that will be helpful to customers and potential customers.

Are you doing anything to help? Can anyone on your team help? Ex: sewing masks, donating items, etc. We are all focused on keeping our heads above water but helping one another is how we all win. If someone on the team is helping please share that good news!

It is ok to mix in some cute and funny things! We are all stuck at home and we need to smile. Please don’t be insensitive and don’t make light of the situation. People are dying and this is real. The things you do during this terrible time will be remembered for years to come. We want to be remembered for the good things.

Be Proactive

So many businesses, especially small business are behind. We don’t have to be, but we must change our thinking. We can’t just follow the trends anymore if we want to survive. We need to constantly evolve and be proactive in all that we do. Live in today. We are moving fast, changing fast and you must be willing to outwork and outsmart the competition.

What does this look like? Think about your customers. What do they look like? How has this pandemic touched their lives? Is there more of a need for your product? Is there an aspect of your business that is more attractive now? When we start thinking about our own industries, we can generate so many questions that are exclusive to what we do. When we answer these questions, we can create new strategies for our evolving workspace.

Tip: Housing – Virtual Tours of model homes. I am not talking about manufactured tours; I am talking about personal touches. RV & Automotive – Virtual Showrooms and Home Deliveries

We can get through this, but old thinking will sink our ships. If you have been reluctant in the past it isn’t an option anymore. In the last month many of our realities have completely changed. Business have gone from having record setting months to praying they can hold a team together and keep the lights on. None of the above tips are going to ensure your success or get you back on track, but they might help you stay alive. In all that we do we have to be proactive; we have to evolve with the landscape, and we have to work for our customers. My prayers are with all of you. I am praying for your health and safety. Remember to give grace in your daily interactions. We are all doing our best and we don’t ever know the extent of someone else’s situation. Be kind.

If you have any specific questions you can reach out to me on social. I have additional articles, research and tips that I am happy to share. Find me on Facebook, IG and Twitter.