In the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, the business community was forced to react to an evolving and uncertain future.  While questions remain in how communities will move forward, business owners have a unique opportunity to reflect on how business is changing, and chart a new course for the long road ahead.  Here are some things to consider when taking stock in your business:

OPPORTUNITIES BORN OUT OF NECESSITY

As our economy came to an unexpected pause, “business as usual” was not an option, and opportunities were born out necessity.  Wineries and Distilleries stopped producing spirits and instead pumped out hand sanitizer to meet market demands.  Manufactures pivoted from parts and kept assembly lines moving to produce personal protective equipment.

As your business adapts to meet the evolving demands of the consumer, what unique service or new twist on the path to purchase can you offer to positively impact the buying experience?  Restaurants and retail have doubled-down on online ordering and curbside pick-up.  Roofing companies are embracing new technology to offer contactless estimates.  Physicians, financial advisors, and more are adopting virtual consultations.

Whatever you find consumers are responding to, lean in.  Your short-term solution to boost sales could turn into a new sustainable revenue stream for years to come.

BRAND AUDIT

Does your brand stand out?  What problem are you trying to solve?  Do your mission and values resonate with consumers?  What do your social followers and Google reviews say about your business?

If your marketing is sending mixed messages, a brand audit might be in order.

A brand audit offers an objective perspective of your business’ strengths, weaknesses, and unique selling advantages.  Understanding how you are measured against the competitive landscape creates opportunity to refine your brand promise to both your current loyalists and target consumers.

Once you define your brand, your consumer touchpoints must follow suit.  Your website and social media channels are an extension of your brick-and-mortar business.  Freshen up your video content and other content.  Do not lose a potential sale because inconsistencies in your online assets do not project the same image and strike the same tone as your offline consumer experience.

CONSUMER INTELLIGENCE

Consumer are scrolling and surfing at a record pace, increasing the likelihood of your brand being discovered by new users.  As search results and clicks drive traffic to your website or social channels, what insights can the data collected tell you about your business and you target market?

Turns out, quite a bit.

Audience data can uncover important details about the key demographics interacting with your brand from age, geography, purchase intents, and much more.  Identifying core characteristics like these help you define your target consumer market, how they are discovering your brand, and identify new opportunities and sales territories.

On-site behavior tells the story of what consumers want from your brand and the actions they are taking to learn more.  A deep dive into your analytics might uncover that users are engaging with a particular piece of content that invites them to learn more about your team, look for locations near them, and fill out a lead form to schedule a virtual consultation.

If you are not unlocking the clues that tell you how your web traffic is converting into leads or sales, you are missing a crucial piece to the marketing puzzle.  If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

STRATEGY RESET

Once that you have identified new opportunities, revised your brand identity, and keyed in on how your end user is and how they interact with your business, now what?  Take a hard look at your marketing channels and determine what is working, what is not, and adjust your marketing plan accordingly based on this newfound knowledge.

Create a content calendar and schedule website blog and social media on a regular basis so you are not only sharing information your audience finds educational or entertaining, but it positively influences search engine optimization results. Identify industry influencers and ask them to invite you on their podcast.  Analyze your advertising plan to find out what is giving you the best return on investment, cut out what is not driving results, and reinvest it into what will help you grow market share.

Investing time to understand your business analytics and marketing is just as necessary as investing in your workforce or infrastructure.  Adapting in the wake of economic upheaval will give you a leg up on the market as your business rebounds faster than those who sit idly by waiting for help to come.

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