For many small business owners, the worry caused by COVID-19 and the impact it has had on their business could be huge. Whether you are slowly reopening your business premises as lockdown eases, or have remained open throughout offering key services, much of your budget will be spent on the measures to reopen safely. Businesses still need to focus on acquiring customers, and with constraints on cash flow, businesses need to find ways to maximise their limited budget post lockdown. In this guide, we show 5 of the easiest ways to make a big impact on promoting your business without breaking the bank.
1) Provide excellent customer service
With customer behaviour changing as a result of coronavirus, the focus on serving your customers safely should be high on your priority list. Whilst marketing can be expensive, a smile and a friendly tone of voice doesn’t cost you anything. At a time where customers may be more worried than before, providing stellar customer service should be at the top of every small business owner’s to-do list. Create a customer-centric culture in your business that prioritises customer care. Here are just a few things you can do to improve your customer service without spending any money:
- Respond to emails and voicemails within 24 hours
- Teach your team members to serve customers with a smile on their face and a friendly voice
- Create a list of FAQs that your team members can reference when speaking to customers to reduce wait times and shorten phone calls
- Have a standard operating procedure to follow when customers aren’t happy with your services for some reason
2) Send out email newsletters
Email marketing is one of the top strategies employed by many small business owners for one simple reason: It works . It is also widely accepted as one of the most cost-effective channels to promote your business , helping you to make the most from your limited budget.
Emails help to build brand awareness and remind customers of your business on a regular basis. It’s often cited that customers need to hear about your brand at least seven times before they feel confident in making a purchase . Email marketing can help you solidify your brand in your customers’ minds by establishing you as an expert in your field. It also provides an opportunity to communicate with customers on how your business has adapted to COVID-19.
Email newsletters also enable you to offer targeted sales to the people most likely to purchase from you. This can encourage them to make an impulse buy even if they weren’t otherwise planning to purchase from you on a given day.
3) Have a business blog
Bill Gates is cited as having said, “Content is King”  back when the internet was still new. Today, this is truer than ever. A high-quality business blog that answers questions your target audience is asking drives new traffic to your website without you having to spend any extra money. Here’s how it works:
- You create a blog post giving excellent, in-depth information on a subject your customers would care about
- Google crawls your website, identifies the content, and ranks your website high in its algorithms because your content is so useful
- People in your target audience search a question, such as “How to install a new shower head?”
- Google directs traffic to your business blog
- People associate your brand with your blog. They see you as an expert in your industry, and are more likely to purchase from you in the future
4) Make your website mobile-friendly
Over half of all web traffic these days is mobile . If the theme you’re currently using on your website doesn’t adjust well on phones or tablets, you’re losing potential customers on a daily basis. Not only are they bouncing off your website if they get there, but Google’s newest algorithms rank websites that aren’t mobile friendly lower than websites that are.
Luckily, solving this problem doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Websites like WordPress have standardised themes that have been created to be mobile-friendly, or you can hire a freelance web designer to update your website for a nominal cost. Other ways to make your website more mobile-friendly include using shorter paragraphs in your blog posts and using smaller images that are easy for phones to load.
5) Offer fewer options
As a small business owner, you may be tempted to quickly expand the variety of offerings on your website to keep your site looking fresh and interesting. However, studies show that this may be the wrong approach . Too many choices can make customers feel overwhelmed and lead to ‘choice paralysis’ where they don’t choose anything at all rather than risk making the wrong choice . This is one reason you’ll see a lot of successful businesses offering seasonal options that swap out regularly rather than having their full catalogue available all the time.
If a product isn’t selling well, stop offering it. Use your data to determine what your customers are actually purchasing, and spend your money promoting those options and getting other options off your shelves. The benefits here are that you’ll reduce choice paralysis in your customers, and you’ll also limit the expenses associated with making so many different products.
All business owners know that you have to spend money to make money. But a wise business owner understands the importance of knowing where to spend that money. These 5 options can provide a high impact on your business with little to no up-front costs, maximising your limited budget post lockdown. This allows you to have more money to update your facilities and provide amazing products to your customers.
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