Although business owners and marketers do our best to prepare for the unexpected, most of us could never have imagined that a global pandemic would arise, upending our operations and disrupting our plans for the future.
We’ve freaked out. We’ve calmed down. And now it’s time to shift. Here’s everything you need to know to stay steady through a global crisis and prepare for growth in the new world that will emerge.
How to Find Small Business Growth Opportunities During a Global Crisis
While all business owners and marketers are resilient (it’s in the job description), resiliency isn’t actually what we need right now.
To be resilient means we have the ability to snap back to normal after a disruption.
However, the scale of this global crisis has made it very unlikely that we’ll be returning to business as usual. The environment that emerges after the dust settles will be something completely different.
"Rather than being resilient, we need to be ADAPTABLE. We’ll need to pivot to a new business growth strategy to help us thrive in a post-pandemic world."
Adapting to change in the business environment
How do you react to change?
Think about a child’s reaction to hearing thunder for the first time. They may be frightened and anxious, eager to hide. An adult, on the other hand, knows that thunder is a natural phenomenon that cannot hurt you. It’s natural to be afraid of the unknown; but knowledge is what takes the fear out of the equation.
Knowing your business, knowing your customers, knowing your competitors, and knowing the world of growth marketing will enable you to manage upheaval with confidence and clarity, and help you understand how to find new business opportunities in the shifted marketing climate.
Business positioning and strategy
Odds are, what you’ve been doing as far as positioning and strategy aren’t going to work anymore, at least not for a while. A global pandemic puts business operations on a new, unfamiliar axis.
The game has changed, and you’ll need to play defense and offense at the same time.
DEFENSE: Pull back on promotion
With sweeping transformations in the condition of the global economy, consumer behavior, and even government regulations, an outbound marketing approach is simply too broad.
Start by withdrawing any “set it and forget it” promotions you’ve already developed.
The fact is, your existing outbound digital marketing strategy is likely to be dissonant or even offensive in this new business environment. What was important or attractive to your target market at the beginning of 2020 may not even be on their radar during and after the global crisis. Bombarding your target market with ads is not likely to move the needle.
From a budget standpoint, promotion often has a lower ROI as it relies on casting a big net to catch as many leads as possible, rather than using a targeted approach for lead prospecting.
OFFENSE: Deliver engaging, useful content
Your job in the new business environment is to build awareness of the solutions you offer. That is done through first offering something of value to your audience. Especially when belts are being tightened around the world, you’ll need to show that what you bring to the table will be worth their time and investment.
Anyone who was in sales or marketing in the midst of the 2008 recession remembers how precarious it was to get leads. Once you found one, convincing them to invest was a whole new ballgame. Getting anyone to open their wallets took more than flashy pitches and great rapport. Suddenly, value and partnership were EVERYTHING.
If you’ve already been using an inbound marketing strategy focused on delivering engaging and helpful content, this transition may be smoother for you. You’ve already been sowing the seeds to prepare for times when businesses can no longer rely on quantity to scoop up qualified leads.
The next question is: what kind of content is most efficient, and cost-effective?
YouTube: The Second-Largest Search Engine
Video just might be the superhero we need during and after a global crisis, and YouTube is where most of this content lives.
More than 3 billion searches are initiated each month on YouTube, and it reaches more US adults than any cable network.
We clearly have the right platform, but what about the content?
Focusing on exceptional video content increases the potency of your inbound marketing strategy. Video is one of the most effective forms of content because it allows you to demonstrate who you are and what you offer in a format that meets demands in media consumption.
One tidbit that has become more obvious as a result of social distancing is that video helps us feel connected. We can convey tone and personality, visually engage our audience, and deliver information in a more “human” way via video.
Fortunately for businesses looking to scale back costs, content for YouTube video marketing doesn’t need to be flashy and polished to be effective. The videos you produce just need to be valuable to your target market.
This episode of the Lights, Camera, Grow Podcast takes a deep dive into current shifts in consumer behavior and content consumption. We also talk about what companies need to do to adapt, and explain one of our strategies for creating scalable content with video podcasting.