The previous year shook up not only the business sector but the entire world. With lockdown orders and a shift in most people’s general routine, businesses had to be quick to adapt in order to stay afloat. Unfortunately, many still did not make it: early into the pandemic as many as 100,000 businesses were observed to have closed permanently and many others are struggling today as the economy is still showing the consequences. Even online businesses had to realize that the future is not as predictable.
Still, with changes come new opportunities and the crisis certainly inspired innovation and development in some sectors. Adjusting your practices to the new way of things is thus not just necessary to survive but it can also open the door to growth. Here are some of the changes that the new pandemic reality brought to the majority of businesses and how to adapt your strategies.
Naturally, the first and one of the major adjustments that had to be made is moving as many aspects of business as possible into the online environment. Telecommuting became the new norm and there are quite a few reasons why this approach can benefit your business as well. Most notably, a virtual office instead of a physical one saves you a considerable amount of resources. Therefore, this arrangement can be convenient not only for your employees who will get to have a flexible schedule but also for you. By lowering your overhead, you will be able to invest more in developing digitally, which solidifies your future in these unsure times. However, it is not only your workforce that needs to move online, but also your entire business. The internet is where today’s customers are and making sure that you provide them with a satisfactory experience when they interact with your business or purchase from you is thus paramount.
Digital content is king
Content marketing has been a formidable tool for the past few years, but during the pandemic, it soared even higher. As people were and are still spending more time at home, they turn to digital content for not only getting the information they need but also for entertainment and a variety of other purposes. This digital marketing tool is simply too powerful not to leverage, so investing in content production instead of expensive but ineffective traditional marketing is highly recommended. Video is particularly effective nowadays. The majority of people claim that the pandemic has affected their video watching habits too and they consume more video content today than before. High-quality video content not only engages your audience but even helps your SEO efforts as Google loves videos on landing pages.
Social media at a high
As we just mentioned, people spend an increasing amount of time online these days, and much of that time is actually spent on social media sites. Brands were quick to jump on this and establish a social media presence that helps spread brand awareness and boosts their marketing efforts. Luckily, social media marketing is an effective tool that is available to big and small businesses alike. Success on social media has no cookie-cutter solution to it, and if played right, it can bring you rapid growth in a short amount of time, which is a good enough reason why you should not neglect your social media presence. Never before did brands have such an easy and direct way of reaching customers and communicating with them. So, be on the platforms where your audience resides and engage them with interesting content. Keep up with the trends to stay relevant and visible on these rapidly changing platforms.
Keeping it social
Unfortunately, the pandemic meant the end of in-person meetings, conferences, and events. However, company events are such an important element in boosting brand awareness, engaging clients or customers, and even boosting employee morale depending on the purpose of the event. The absence of these opportunities can be a great loss in the long term, which is why you need to adjust your approach and consider turning to live event streaming instead. In fact, live streaming as such has more potential benefits than simply being a stand-in for in-person events. Live streaming events online makes it possible for a much wider audience to participate regardless of their location, which means that you will not be limited to local attendees only. A well-executed, high-quality live event is also engaging, so as long as you let professionals handle it, it will be a success with a much smaller investment than an in-person event would be.
Cybersecurity is more important than ever
While focusing on your digital marketing efforts, don’t forget to keep cybersecurity in mind, too. As the shift from physical to digital was a sudden necessity, the process had to be rushed in many cases. Even if the transition might have been smooth, it is not impossible that there was an oversight. When every process is digitalized, the importance of data protection cannot be stressed enough. If you’re working with remote employees, not only their sensitive data but all the data shared online during work can be exploited if it’s not protected well enough. Make sure that the tools you use are reliable and always back up crucial documentation. Make sure that both you and your employees are aware of safe online practices. If you’re also engaging with clients online, this issue becomes even more critical. You need to provide a safe shopping experience and store customer data securely to preserve your audience’s trust. A data breach can very well mean the downfall of a business so don’t leave it as a possibility.
At the moment, those who want their businesses to succeed must adapt to the new reality. However, it is safe to assume that many newly developed practices will follow us well into the post-pandemic world, so instead of holding out, try to embrace innovation. Practices such as operating virtual offices, producing digital content, and holding online events have already proved to be worth the investment, so don’t be afraid of change.
Mike is an Australian business consulting specialist. He’s working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. He often writes about technology, business and marketing and is a regular contributor on several websites.