The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every business. While some organizations have been able to continue operations remotely, others were unable to operate in any way. In either scenario, it is unlikely that any business is meeting its original financial goals for the year. Business leaders must act quickly to adapt to the new economic reality, and now that the economy is beginning to re-open, make up for lost time and revenue.
Protect Cash Flow
Cash flow is always a priority, and businesses should focus on revenue-centric spending. Try to limit spending to what will generate more revenue for the company now and in the future. Now is the time to look very closely at unnecessary expenditures such as subscription services and apps that aren’t being used. It is crucial for leaders to have a comprehensive understanding of their current revenue and funding availability, and to plan thoroughly for best-case and worst-case scenarios. Consider offering new payment options to encourage cashflow, incentivize early payment with discounts or cash-back if possible.
It may be necessary for some businesses to shift and adapt business models now. Restaurants moved to pick up and delivery models; garment manufacturers began producing face masks and scrubs, and cosmetic companies started producing hand sanitizer. Businesses everywhere will need to analyze how they can create new value with existing assets to increase revenue.
Focus on the Customer
Right now, revenue will be dependent on retaining clients and generating new leads. Consider how to support your customers and deliver real value to them during this difficult time. Now is the time to build customer loyalty by offering special rates or adding other incentives. As consumers are facing financial struggles, they will be much more discerning with their spending. Leaders should put a human face on their business and reach out personally to check-in with clients and find out how they are doing, what they need, how you can help. Be transparent about any difficulties in your supply chain, or delays in services as a result of the pandemic.
Customer retention is vital now as consumers have pulled back on spending and are fearful of a global economic recession. Studies show repeat customers will spend an average of 33% more than a new customer, and with the current financial crisis, new customers are hard to reach. Customer service and retention must be a top priority for every staff member, especially product, sales, and marketing teams.
Marketing in a global crisis can be challenging. Finding the right tone and message is vital to maintaining a good reputation and attracting customers. Companies need to carefully review their content and ensure it is appropriate, given the current circumstances. Now is the time to promote your brand initiatives, organizational mission, and commitment to employees, clients, and community service efforts. Discerning consumers want to support mission-oriented organizations and are quick to avoid brands that don’t align with their values.
When considering marketing strategies, remember to focus on your existing clientele. While many think of marketing as a tool to attract new leads, it is vital also to use it to enhance your relationship with your current customers. The probability of a sale from a brand new customer is only 5-20%, while the likelihood of a purchase from an existing customer is between 60-70%. Dig into the makeup of your repeat clients and higher spenders, and how and when they spend with you. Are they motivated by discounts? Are they more likely to buy when there are value-adds to services? Use what you learn to inform your marketing strategies and stay top of mind with your client base.
Leverage social media and create helpful content. Social media usage is increasing as people are staying home more. Think about when and what you post. It was once best practice to post on Facebook Wednesdays from 11 am to 2 pm, as that was the peak day and time for views. However, now usage is highest on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 am to 11 am. The best times to post on LinkedIn are currently Wednesdays at 3 pm, Thursdays between 9 am and 10 am, and Fridays from 11 am to noon. In April, incoming engagement with brands’ social media posts increased on average by 44 engagements per day across all networks and industries.
Businesses that stay flexible and ready to pivot when needed during this global crisis will be most likely to adapt and thrive going forward. Leaders should remain informed and prepared to change strategies when needed. It is essential to learn from the current crisis and use those lessons to thrive in the face of future challenges.