One of the biggest shifts as a result of the pandemic, is the revelation of just how vital digital marketing can be in mitigating the local impact of volatile global markets.
Businesses who were not equipped with a sales strategy supported by digital marketing at the onset of the pandemic, fared worse than their digitally enabled competitors, with many still playing catchup and some running the risk of going bust.
With so much at stake, let’s explore what efforts you can take to mitigate the future fallout of the pandemic through digital enablement strategies.
Business Continuity Plan
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a proactive approach towards business continuity which seeks to minimise or eliminate exposure to risks which may have an adverse effect on overall business operations. The blueprint should outline actions to be undertaken before, during and after a damaging event takes place in the pursuit of maintaining business revenue throughout. This varies from a Disaster Recovery Plan insomuch as it attempts to pre-empt and avoid disaster altogether.
An effective BCP should outline protective measures to ensure the continued capabilities of revenue generating operations throughout a crisis, such as COVID-19. Many restaurants and clothing stores were hit hard at the onslaught of COVID-19, as they were ill-prepared to make a swift transition from physical sales to online sales, necessitated by social distancing restrictions. Businesses without a social media presence or email marketing capabilities were suddenly unable to communicate with their customers.
There’s never been a better time to assess the need for digital initiatives than in the current financial climate. Such initiatives should seek to achieve two missions: to provide support to employees, customers and stakeholders in the near-term, and to position your business for a post-crisis world.
The need for businesses to go digital has been growing since the birth of the internet, but really hit home throughout the pandemic. But as Scott Jones of 123 Internet Group suggests, many businesses are rising to the challenge: “We are in uncertain times, but with the increase of remote working and a collaborative approach, companies are turning to digital channels and embracing the transformation.”
Investing in a BCP before a BCP is needed, is a smart move. As is building your business’s online presence. Businesses who had already embraced digital enablement before the pandemic were in a much better position to pivot once the restrictions hit. Some examples include restaurants operating a contactless delivery service through their own or third-party delivery services (such as MenuLog or UberEats), or physical clothing stores who had a pre-established eCommerce presence through platforms such as Shopify or WooCommerce.
As a recent McKinsey & Company survey discovered, businesses are already starting to see the value in a digitally-enabled sales platform, with the number of respondents who believed that digitally-enabled sales were more important than traditional sales doubling during the pandemic.
Business versatility is essential for sales survival during periods of global market volatility. By taking small proactive steps sooner, businesses can avoid the mayhem of taking big, reactive steps later. Now, let’s explore some digital enablement processes to help insulate your business from the next crisis.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
The ability to connect and interact with your customers should not be understated even in ordinary times, let alone during a crisis. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software enables businesses to collect the email addresses of customers and prospects, storing them on a secure database and enabling you to contact them with future promotions.
As an example, businesses can collect contact information from their customers to store within their CRM in exchange for a small discount off their next purchase. But what is the value of an email? And why exchange a tangible discount off your products for an intangible email address of someone who’s already purchased?
As a general rule of thumb within the industry, an email list is worth around $1 per contact per month. Let’s do some maths. If you collect just 5 customer or prospect emails per day over the course of a year, you’ll end up with somewhere around 1,825 subscribers on your email list. Using the rule of thumb, that should equate to a conservative average of $1,825 in additional revenue per month, or $21,900 over the course of a year.
Not bad, right?
Now, imagine you’d been collecting the emails of your customers and prospects over the past 10 years. Having 18,250 email subscribers in your CRM could be worth almost $20k per month in additional revenue. What would that do for your business?
Now, imagine you went on an email collection rampage, collecting prospect email addresses in exchange for a lead magnet via your website and Facebook Leads Ads. It’s not unrealistic to expect at least 100 new email subscribers per day with the right content and offer.
The potential is massive.
The only question left now, is can your business afford not to be digitally enabled?
Email marketing is governed by legislation, including privacy protocols and anti-SPAM legislation. Be sure you understand the laws of your local jurisdiction before diving in, if you plan on self-implementing. Alternatively, digital agencies with extensive experience in digital enablement strategies such as fileroom can implement an email marketing framework for you, enabling you to get back to business sooner.
If you feel like you’re getting left behind with the lingo, why not bookmark The Savvy Marketer’s Dictionary for 2021 to help you navigate the meaning of marketing’s hottest topics.
Why go to all the effort of chasing prospects, when you could have all your prospects chasing you? This is the general principle behind inbound marketing and it certainly makes a lot of sense. Inbound marketing goes by a lot of different aliases, some of which are synonymous, some which are correlated methodologies and some of which are closely related in principle. These terms include content marketing, thought leadership, lead generation and demand generation.
The core principle behind inbound marketingoffering something of value for free. This is for two reasons. Firstly, who doesn’t love ‘free’? Secondly, offering value to your prospects upfront gives them a chance to engage with your brand without commitment, meaning they will be much less defensive and critical in their first interaction.
But what should you offer? For businesses with a digital presence, freebies called ‘lead magnets’ are often a good start. Perhaps a quick cheat sheet to help your ideal clients overcome their number one problem. Interactive experiences are quickly rising to the fore when it comes to lead magnets. These could include helpful calculators for finance-sector businesses or a simple onboarding quiz for businesses wishing to promote a sense of scarcity and exclusivity when interacting with prospects for the first time.
Although impossible to predict, content with ‘virality potential’ is always good idea. Why invest money promoting your content when you could let your prospects do it for you? This principle has been one of the key attributes to TikTok’s massive success in the paid advertising arena. Taking on juggernauts Facebook and Instagram, TikTok’s predisposition to viral video content makes it an attractive marketplace for customer-facing brands targeting the youth and young adult markets. Above all, seek to be of value to your prospects, and your ideal clients will soon be finding their way towards you.
Inbound marketing efforts can be carried out in a number of ways, including manually and automatically. Small businesses can generally get away with conducting their inbound marketing manually, although automation would certainly save some valuable hours. For medium and large enterprises however, automation is essential. Not least because you have more people to coordinate with. The larger the company, the greater the wasted time could be magnified. So, it’s a good idea to consider methods for automation.
By automating your sales and marketing processes, you could not only increase your daily efficiency and revenue, but insulate yourself from future crises. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s sure to be the importance of agility in modern business.
One of the first steps toward automation, is having a CRM. Some CRMs are prohibitively expensive for businesses just starting out in their digital enablement journeys. HubSpot is a great place to start for businesses commencing their digital enablement journey. They offer a free, highly-capable CRM which will be entirely adequate for most small businesses. In addition to their free CRM software, they also offer a full platform for marketing, sales and customer service along with the methodology, resources and support many businesses will require when starting out solo.
The ability to automate some or all of your sales and marketing processes could revolutionise the way your business operates. At the very least, it could insulate your business from the predictably unpredictable volatility of the global market in years to come.
Fileroom is all about your business and future-proofing your sales revenue. A solid sales survival plan enabled by digital marketing methods could be the difference between surviving and thriving for your business. Businesses with well-engineered digital enablement processes can work to insulate themselves from turbulent or adverse market conditions by improving the effectiveness of their inbound marketing efforts.
We can help you develop your inbound marketing plan or sales automation processes and implement them within your digital transformation efforts. We work with you to design, construct and implement purpose-fit content for every stage of the buyer’s journey, paired with digital enablement, deep-data and artificial intelligence.
Fileroom is a strategic digital agency, dedicated to promoting your business success. We can help your business by assisting you through the digital enablement journey no matter which stage you’re currently at. We can help prepare your business for the future by attracting engaged prospects and delighting your clients while you focus on what you do best.
Start a conversation today at www.fileroom.com.