The world shift during the COVID-19 means that entrepreneurs have to think again about how to stay in business in this new environment. Over the past few months, governments worldwide are reacting to changes. Now, more than ever, the world is going digital.

With many more people staying home, each industry has seen a shift to digital commerce. The use of digital and as e-commerce techniques is a great way to reach your customers. In essence, a significant business impact of COVID-19.

E-commerce isn’t a relatively new concept. However, many entrepreneurs have a reason or two to avoid it — until now. Now we all must adjust. In a way, it’s an avenue to double efforts on harnessing the power of digital commerce.

To learn how to stay ahead of the competition in business, you must adapt quickly. For most Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises, it is a chance to re-evaluate business strategy, making changes that will allow your company to navigate the pandemic smoothly.

To make this simpler, we have gathered a list of tactics that will ensure your business stays relevant in a changing environment. From web design to social media, automation, and keeping employees happy, we’ve got it all covered.

Apply Power Tactics in Business

Power in business is the ability to influence other people’s behavior. This requires understanding their psychology and being able to build trust. When you apply power tactics in business, you can convince others to do what your business needs. This can range from getting a good deal from a supplier to boosting the output of employees.

Rational Persuasion

This psychological tactic seeks to convince an audience using rational logic, valid reasons, and cold, hard facts. For example, when ironing out a collaboration deal with other business owners, you can use figures and credible numbers to drive your points home.

Inspirational Appeals

This power tactic is built on enthusiasm. It works by appealing to the ideas, emotions, and values of an audience. It is handy for building a following on social media. For instance, you can sway a target audience passionate about affordable services with enthusiastic takes on pricing.

Consultation

Now more than ever, you need every employee on your side. This tactic focuses on encouraging participation via group planning and decision-making. It may be the solution to how to keep team members engaged. A good example is when you ask employees to come up with a plan of action for a particular task.

Ingratiation

It works by getting someone in a friendly mood before asking for help. Praise, flattery, and friendliness are the major strategies of this tactic. Also, it can be useful for boosting employee productivity. Sometimes, something as simple as buying a meal can increase the chances of getting positive answers from others.

Personal Appeals

This technique refers to a pre-existing bond of friendship while asking for some help. If you need better business deals during the pandemic, this might be the way to get it. We mean friendship and integrity is a natural way to keep relationships, support others, and get support in return.

Over the next few sections, we will go in-depth into other business techniques and solutions for the pandemic. Keep reading to learn how to stay ahead of the competition in business.

Expand Online Presence

Increasing revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic can only be achieved by expanding online presence for your business. You see, 1 out of every 4 shoppers start their process online. Also, with more people spending time online due to social distancing, it’s up to you to connect with them. In the same vein, if you’ve been thinking of how to start, run, and stay in business, the first step is to go online.

Think About Your Website

A website is an important tool in the digital commerce world. If you have been avoiding building a website, the time to do it is now. Make sure that it is aesthetic, neat, and attractive. Furthermore, you can get an expert to optimize it.

As a part of expanding your online presence, you need a ‘yes’ answer to the following questions:

  • Does your website copy speak to the type of customers you want?
  • Does your website show that you can provide value to clients?
  • Does your website show professionalism?
  • If you were a customer, would you choose yourself based on the website alone?

Make an Audit of the Online Experience

Part of learning how to stay in business is remaining fluid. Your online presence must flow with the times and the moment. If your business requires close physical contact, an update on your website should show how you’ve adapted due to COVID-19. For example, Google recommends putting up a banner that shows these COVID-related changes.

For a full audit, start by reviewing website copy, going through blog posts, and removing clutter. Additionally, remove outdated files, images, and pages to ensure that your website runs as fast as possible.

88% of customers use detailed product pages to make a buying decision. As part of your online audit, ensure that your product pages are accurate and optimized. This is where Search Engine Optimization comes in. Most shoppers start their search with Google. With SEO, you can infuse specific keywords within your website copy. This ensures that your business shows up when those keywords are searched. However, this is a technical process that may require you to hire a professional.

Finally, don’t forget social media. Make sure your social media pages are active and relevant.

Check Your Offers for Customers

There are certain factors that customers look out for when making an e-commerce transaction. These include pricing, packages, discounts, and reviews from other customers. To beef up your online presence, make sure that these sections on your website are up-to-date.

Update pricing where necessary, encourage old clients to drop positive reviews. Additionally, focus on discount pricing. Let prospective customers understand there’s a lot of value on offer!

Invest in Useful and Trustworthy Content

For digital commerce, content is a king. As such, the most effective strategy to secure your business for the times to come is content marketing. From time to time, create relevant content for your business. This may be through blogs, media posts, and mail newsletters. Whatever medium you use will be beneficial in the long run, as long as you follow SEO rules.

Engage Your Customers

With creative advertising and marketing ideas for small businesses, it is essential to consider the customers. As you make the shift to digital commerce, your strategies must be optimized for your customers.

Communicate About Changes to Customers

If you have changed the way you do business, you have to let your customers know. Perhaps you have adjusted your working hours, or you now do deliveries, now is the time to let them know. A simple email can contain all of this information.

If you are working from home now, you can put this information on your website or the front of your physical store. Even with the pandemic in full swing, communicating change to customers will put your business at the forefront of their thoughts.

Establish Deeper Connection via Social Media

The effectiveness of social media to communicate with customers is enormous. Currently, more than 3 billion people use various social platforms. There’s no doubt about it. The customers are still out there. The onus is on you to establish a deeper connection with your customers.

When you include social media in your arsenal, creative advertising ideas for small businesses are as direct as setting up a photo contest. As you very well know, more people have free time on their hands. With a photo-based contest, you can get more people to use this time to interact deeply with your brand. Starbucks recently used this technique to significant effect.

This photo contest involved designing a white cup from Starbucks. To participate, you simply had to post the designs on Instagram with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. The winning design was made available to customers worldwide by Starbucks.

Starbucks White Cup Contest

Ask for Ideas and Show Empathy

We often ask ourselves the same question: How to stay in business successfully? The answer is always the key, bold, but not so simple as it seems to be. We should satisfy our customers. If you’re confused, a simple option is to request for suggestions from your online audience. They are coping with quarantine and social distancing. Therefore, they are in the best position to spell out their unique demands.

During this period, your customers’ range of solutions may need safe delivery systems, contactless payment, or unique packaging features. While making arrangements for this, ensure that you find a way to give back to your clients. Show empathy for the current situation and explain how your crisis-handling will help them. Additionally, freebies and donations are an excellent method of showing empathy.

Learn from the Leading Brands

Even big organizations are doing the same. Nike recently announced a donation of Air Zoom Pulse footwear designated to healthcare workers.

Nike AirZoom

Gucci makes a difference with their #GucciCommunity and is going to make separate donations of 1 million euros each to crowdfunding campaigns.

Gucci We are All in This Together

Mailchimp also made a significant contribution giving $500K to COVID-19 recovery efforts and supporting their community.

MailChimp Covid-19 response

You, too, can do it in your way! If it’s important to you, any contribution makes a difference.

Enable Creativity in Email Marketing

Email is an excellent medium that helps with communicating change to customers. However, there’s more to it. Instead of straight to the message mails, get creative with your email content. As much as possible, create a reason for your subscribers to smile with your mails.

For example, gift cards without an expiry date can be useful. Swarovski Spain is a great example. By extending the expiry dates on gift cards, they made their customers smile.

Swarovski Spain Email Newsletter

Another approach is to give your subscribers helpful resources. Down Dog Yoga is giving customers access to free yoga content. You can even offer more discounts on purchases. Sometimes, just a link to a funny video can deepen the connection with customers.

Reimagine Workplace Relationships

Learning how to keep team members engaged can make a difference for your business. Now more than ever, it is vital that all hands are on deck towards a common goal.

Stay in Regular Touch

Apart from regular team lead checks, it is essential to touch-base personally with members of your team. If you can’t do it yourself, encourage managers to do it personally. Doing this will help you catch possible problems and support team members during a difficult time. You can also create an internal working-hour calendar with enough flexibility, where people can fill in their working and dinner hours and daily meetings. More importantly, it means you’ll always be in touch with the team.

If you’re working from home, this becomes doubly important. Personal issues can ruin the effectiveness of an employee. With a candid check-in, you may be able to help. Consequently, this will deepen loyalty and boost the productivity of your employee.

Communicate Openly

With the uncertainty of the times we are in, many workers feel uncertainty about the future. A great way to keep your workers engaged and locked in is to practice open communication. Make sure that employees hear from the company regularly.

Share your business concerns with employees, answer questions that they have, and even share a joke. That’s how to keep team members engaged. As long as they feel in the loop, they won’t leave the loop!

Set Up Various Activities

Finally, to keep your team members engaged, take their mind off work. This may seem counterproductive, but it works. There’s no doubt that we are going through tough health and economic situations. Therefore, you have to find new ways to get the morale up. With Slack, you can set up sections related to cooking and fitness. On these channels, workers can share cooking tips, recipes, and more.

For example, at WEB4PRO, we regularly send an interesting newsletter with useful links to the virtual tours of world museums, like Versailles Palace by Google, Salvador Dali Museum, Museum of Natural History in Washington. We also share cool blogs and create email contests like Guess Who: when people share their childhood photos or photos of their hobbies and journeys. It’s pretty fun! 🙂

WorkStride is doing this to a significant effect. Another method is to pencil in time for virtual gaming sessions. A simple game of chess can go a long way in building team morale. In the long run, that’s the goal — happy, productive employees.

Keep Your Business Running Effectively

When you figure out how to stay competitive in business, you are building a reliable platform for your company.

Adapt to the Current Situation

The first rule of how to stay positive in business lies within the boundaries of adaptation. With the tips above, it is possible to change your marketing techniques to reach more customers.

Instead of becoming a dormant company, find revolutionary methods to adapt. More importantly, keep striving towards set KPIs & objectives. For instance, a cleaning business named Aman for Home changed its target market from private homes to buildings belonging to essential services.

Predict Your Steps for the Long Term

Most people consciously learn how to remain cool in business clothes. However, staying cool can only be possible with long-term planning.

Instead of just focusing on the now, chart out a course for your business that will work even after COVID-19.

For instance, you can focus on marketing and lead generation. Van Van Go, a top company that offers motorhome rentals, is collecting customer details by offering a free week of rentals. With this strategy, you can build up a ready database of prospective customers. More importantly, you already know they are willing to do business with your brand.

Build a Human and Machine Workforce

Work smarter, not harder. That’s how to stay competitive in business. Advances in tech mean various business activities can be automated. Instead of doing hard work yourself and leaving out essential tasks, let technology work.

A human plus machine workforce can combine effectively on the following:

  • Tasks that can be scheduled
  • Repetitive activities
  • Tasks that get in the way of more important stuff

Use a Distributed Global Services Model

With more companies working from home, remote productivity can be improved using a distributed global services model. Instead of consolidating your business in a single locale, use technology and spread out.

With this working system, you can spread delivery centers for your services across different locations. Virtual customer call centers can be set up in different countries to service more people. Finally, doing this can even double, even triple your customer base! For instance, in our team, over 40 team members cooperate with our clients and partners in different pockets of the world. We stay connected with them via Skype, Slack, Google Hangouts, etc.

Stay in Business and Grow Your Power

With the tips and tricks above, we hope you can figure out how to stay in business even in these changing times. You can choose what suits your business best in this situation and pick up the most useful thoughts. Let’s wrap them up:

  • Use power psychological tactics and just be friendly to build trust with people;
  • Expand your online presence with a user-friendly website and digital marketing;
  • Engage your customers with a power of social media and useful offerings;
  • Strengthen relationships with your team to support their productivity and mood;
  • Keep running with strategic thinking and long-term goals for your business.

Summary

The strategies above will help you find some new ideas and take your business online while catering to the unique needs of your customers and employees alike. If you need more help, eCommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento are the top providers of resources and tools for e-commerce innovation. We can help you make the transition to e-commerce smoother, faster, and more effective. Thank you for reading. Take care.
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