We know that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the air at the moment due to Covid-19, or the Coronavirus, especially for those in the service industry. So we wanted to reach out and offer some words of reassurance and advice to help small businesses manage their marketing strategies and digital marketing during this time of uncertainty.
While we understand that it is definitely a trying time for many people, and there will be a significant impact on many small businesses, working effectively and supportively during this period should be everyone’s main prerogative.
As much as you are able to, regular services should be carried out as normal. While this is a time of uncertainty, it is crucial that there is a narrative of consistency and care demonstrated by your small business.
Even if you have to close doors for a temporary period, maintaining your services where applicable means that your customers are likely to respect and respond to your business for being a calm presence amidst the media whirlwind surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
Customers at the moment are still wanting to buy, the market just needs a little more convincing! Remaining steadfast, with health and wellbeing of all staff and customers still at the forefront of the business, will maximise the chances for customers to support your business during this time.
We recommend that small businesses focus on developing and improving a top-line strategy. While many businesses might be tempted to cut services or reduce costs, increasing top-line activity can actually benefit a company in the long run and develop sustainable growth.
The benefits of marketing are such that it is a flexible entity, which can focus on human and natural capital during times of financial uncertainty. Recognising the benefits of changing up your marketing will mean that you can maintain communication with customers, encourage new customers to support your small business and continue to improve and work on brand awareness when other services might be limited.
During periods where activity might be decreased, it is important to understand the current situation and how this could benefit a top-line strategy:
Understand the current situation
Gain awareness of the context in which environmental top-line value can be realized.
Develop a strategy
How will your strategy ensure sustainable business practices?
Choose initiatives and measure progress
Choose initiatives that will bring your business strengths to life.
Maintain the momentum
Change your management processes to ensure environmental contexts are brought into new or modified practices/strategies.
It is important to take stock of your businesses core strengths and strategies, and how these might be impacted by the current environment.
For example, a catering business might recognise that a key strategy involving outreach at public events would be impacted by the restriction on large public events in the current environment. This would need addressing to ensure that the business could maintain brand awareness while working around the current environment.
Also, it’s important to recognise customer environmental challenges, and how your business can address these to still meet customers needs.
A business within the service industry will need to ensure that public health and safety standards are being upheld to reassure customers that their establishment is trustworthy, and to maximise on encouraging fit and healthy customers to still support their business if the business has a physical location where its services are carried out.
A company that focuses on delivering classes to the public or workshops for example, might focus on delivering these messages through virtual classrooms, or remote workshops to ensure that the business’s strengths are maintained, and the environmental context is taken into account.
One of The Good Marketer’s own clients, Battersea Spanish, has implemented an initiative which sees their physical Spanish lessons transferred to virtual classrooms, as a workaround to ensure that their services are continued, but the environmental context and difficulties are addressed.
Doing this will increase the benefit that your business gives to customers, and positively differentiates your small business from those that are not seen to be addressing the current climate.
Shifting short-term priorities to long-term strategies is key during this current climate. Understanding the benefits of marketing for the long term means that your business will be in a strong position to maximise potential and regain any lost performance during this period of reduced activity in the market.
Continuing sustainable outreach to relevant businesses creates a pillar of support within the industry, and ensures that your small business maintains authority especially regarding search engine optimisation practices.
Ensuring that customer communication is transparent and regular maintains trustworthiness in the eyes of the customer. Improving communications and marketing strategies during periods of time where other costs might have to be reduced means that your business is likely to see a dramatic improvement in SEO and engagement once the industry ‘returns to normal’.
The value that marketing brings to businesses is such that it can be adapted to work around any particular challenges the industry is facing. Although there will be a natural impact on business performance, depending on the target audience and the industry that business is specific to, ensuring that your brand remains in the minds of customers will ultimately create sustainable growth once the market has returned to normal. Marketing for the ‘long term’ in this sense is crucial for small businesses.
The UK government is rolling out support for small businesses because of the natural uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and its potential impact on the UK industries.
The government is supporting small businesses in numerous ways, including:
The UK Treasury has announced a £3,000 grant for businesses that don’t pay business rates, known as the Small Business Rate Relief fund (SBBR). We know support like this for small businesses of any kind is critical during this period of uncertainty. Around 700,000 small businesses in the UK are currently eligible for this grant, or the Rural Rate Relief, and can apply. This £3,000 grant only applies to England’s small businesses, with Scotland, Wales and Ireland setting up their own.
There is also an estimated £2.2bn of funding for local authorities who collect business rates, as part of a number of fiscal measures that are designed to help businesses survive the pandemic and the oncoming period of inactivity in many industries. Around 900,000 properties, which is 45% of all business premises in England, will not pay business rates in 2020-21.
There are also allowances for Statutory Sick Pay, and a £1.2bn Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which should launch in a matter of weeks, set up by the British Business Bank.
This was announced as part of the 11th March Budget which confirms what support will be available for the UK’s small businesses.
Because of the unknowable duration of this period of uncertainty surrounding public health and wellbeing, forming long term strategies that work on developing a top-line strategy is the best practice for small businesses.
Understanding how digital marketing especially brings value to your business is also a great strength for any business, even more so during times when the regular services might be restricted, or questions overhang how the current climate might impact how customers interact with your business.
If you have any questions, why not get in touch with our friendly and helpful team via our Contact Form or Live Chat.