Getting Through the Aftermath of COVID-19: Embrace Creativity

Posted by Lisa Smith on Jun 11, 2020 9:15:00 AM

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If your business has been closed or severely limited by the state and federal executive orders, life is probably stressful. Businesses are reopening but it still might be hard to get customers in the door. They might be worried it’s too soon or they are too afraid to pay for your services because their own income has been limited. The fact is: your bottom line is going to take a hit and may not recover even as the state begins to open.

 

That’s a lot to deal with.

But just breathe. Yes, take a couple of breaths … a few more. Good. There’s no need to panic. The creative team at InVerve Marketing & Web is here to help you get by.            

                  

It’s not business as usual right now, and won’t be for a while, so don’t try to conduct business as usual.

Let’s talk about some ways you can boost sales and bring in revenue as you recover from a long closure and work to bring sales back up.

 

You’re going to have to start by getting creative.    

 

Set New S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Even during these chaotic and uncertain times, every business still needs goals. Whether it’s a specific number of leads, a number of sales, or a dollar amount brought in per week, you still need something to shoot for. That number might have to change based on our new reality so re-evaluate your S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) Goals. It’s unrealistic to think you’ll be able to hit your same goals if you have fewer customers coming into your store or if your customers have completely changed their buying habits. That’s a good way to set yourself up for failure and risk lowering team morale, which does not need to take a hit right now.

 

Take a look at your goals for the year. Take a look at your current situation. Then, set S.M.A.R.T. goals that make more sense for where you are now. Maybe that means just bringing in enough to keep the lights on. Maybe it means converting in-person sales to online sales. Maybe it’s not a sale or even a numeric goal. Things have changed, don’t try to do the same things you’ve always done.

 

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Pivot    

A NEW BUSINESS MODEL

Similar to new SMART Goals, a new business model maybe necessary. If you’re a brick and mortar store, taking things online can help you boost sales whether you’re closed or slowly opening back up. And if you sell novelty or luxury items, you might need to rethink your product.

Take York Project, a Detroit-based Social Streetwear brand that started at MSU. They’re a clothing company, and while they’ve always been focused on giving back to the community, they could no longer depend on the sales from their clothes (hats, sweatshirts, etc). So, they pivoted. Since the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, they’ve been using scraps of fabric from their clothing to produce PPE for the homeless and in-need organizations. They even got a shout out from Governor Whitmer for their hard work. They are still able to fulfill the social side of their mission and they are showing their customers they will survive these strange times by being innovative.

 

ONLINE SALES

You can also take your sales to Facebook and let people shop from their couches. Consider these tips from our Digital Strategist, Olivia McDonald.

 

  • TIP #1
    When setting up a Facebook shop, make sure to have your product information ready to go. The easiest way to do this is to consolidate the key information into an Excel file. Facebook will allow you to upload the Excel file right into your catalog. This will save you a ton of time. 
  • TIP #2
    Make sure to have beautiful photography. Your products can be featured in posts, ads, and even on Instagram—so make sure you have photos that will attract customers as they’re scrolling through their feeds. 
  • TIP #3

    When uploading product information, make sure to check the status of the product frequently until approved. Facebook is notorious for rejecting products for strange reasons. If your product has been rejected and you’re not sure why, Facebook does have an appeal and manually approve option, which you can find in the Help Center. 

Take your online sales to the next level with a free consultation.

 

Go Virtual

You might have to master the art of videoconferencing or streaming (if you haven’t already!). If you’re a health club or lead exercise classes, you can’t quite open up yet so use virtual meeting tools or live videos on social media channels to conduct online classes. Can you adapt your routines to encourage people to work out at home? This won’t replace all the lost revenue from your fitness classes, but it will keep your customers with you and reduce attrition when you can restart. The Michigan Athletic Club has taken many of their classes to their Facebook page. This gives even non-members a peek at these typically exclusive classes and may entice them to join when things go back to normal.

 

Many businesses are already doing this. Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is closed but offers daily virtual visits on their Facebook page at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.   

 

This kind of creative marketing keeps customers and visitors engaged, keeps some revenue for your business and will help you rebound more quickly when you can open again. 

 

Get Your Employees Involved

This is where your employees should come in. They know the day-to-day better than anyone. They’ve probably been on the frontlines since this all started—get them involved in brainstorming sessions as you start to set new goals and implement new strategies. 

This will also go a long way in boosting morale, and they will appreciate your vote of confidence. They know your customers and how things work on the ground; their insight is critical.

 

Offer Specials & Incentives

If you’re a restaurant or coffee shop you can start opening but you also need to be thinking about creative ways to ramp up your business and get customers back in the door. Can you offer a “Welcome Back” special? Can you swing free delivery for those not yet comfortable coming in? What about a special on gift certificates?

If you’re service based, offer specials on services booked now but scheduled for later in the year. Work with your customers instead of against them.

 

These are all tactics that will make you stand out, given that all the other businesses in your industry are facing the same restrictions you are. Understanding that your customers are tightening their wallets but still want to support local businesses where they can will be key when it comes to bringing business back. 

                                                 

Have Some Fun

Don’t forget to have a little fun (or at least try). The stress of these times could easily overwhelm both business owners and employees, but it’s up to you as a leader to keep attitudes positive and moods from getting gloomy.

 

Here at InVerve, we have daily (virtual) trivia sessions with our team. It’s a fun way to stay connected with each other and take our minds off the daily grind for a few minutes a day.

 

Try to connect both with your employees and your customers in fun and unique ways during this challenging time. There are a ton of local, Lansing businesses that do live videos sharing stories with their customers. They explain what the day-to-day looks like, give behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, and offer interesting ways for them to interact with the business. You don’t have to be insensitive to the state of the world, but you are allowed to have a little fun.

 

Take It Day-By-Day

While it’s normally important to plan for the future, right now the future is very uncertain for everyone. Even as things start reopening, bringing customers in will be a challenge and many of those customers are still watching what they spend. So, give yourself a break by focusing on just getting through a day. You know things won’t open tomorrow, so make a solid plan for tomorrow. No one is going to fault you for letting your six-month sales plan slip a little.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to follow regulations but also keep your business afloat at the same time, we want to help. We can help you come up with a strategy to reach new customers, boost sales, and continue to thrive in this new reality.

LET'S TALK STRATEGY

 

Topics: content marketing, communications, e-commerce web site, creative