‘These are the times when every penny counts.’
We’re remaining hopeful that we will emerge from this pandemic stronger and with many lessons learned. Let’s share ideas on what you can do to rebound your business when this is over.
In this episode, we discuss how to rebound your business post pandemic using strategies like
– digital marketing advertisements,
– shifting from traditional to digital marketing,
– observing user behavior and more.
Listen to previous episodes for tips on how to survive in business amidst this pandemic.
Roger: Welcome to local SEO today. I’m Roger Murphy.
John: And I’m John Vuong.
Roger: We want to welcome our listeners. We’d like to talk on a few different things today. But, John, today, you know, we’ve been living in this world, everyone’s been living in this world of pandemic and, you know, this is the idea of…This is the time where more vaccinations are rolling out and we’re hoping that, you know, the third wave is gonna go away in the nice weather but it’s all about a business owner and our business, you know, communities. How do they rebound? What do they do? What are they gonna plan for, to get past this pandemic? You know, obviously, many businesses…They’ve had to change their business, they may have had to downsize, maybe let some employees go short term. But how do you get back, John?
John: Yeah, we’ve always talked about being optimistic for the last year or so and the big point here for small business owners are, you know, it’s been a challenge. It’s been difficult for not just your business, your staff, employees but your customers, your vendors, your suppliers. Everyone that is a part of the entire business supply chain. And knowing that, you probably put a lot of pressure on yourself to make sure that you’re afloat to support everything surrounding it. So, I think the biggest thing right now is how do you continue striving to be in business? How do you stay afloat? How do you become profitable again? If you’ve been losing money for the last couple months? So, the first thing is, how do you ensure that there’s profitability for you to sustain yourself for the next short term, right? Because you want to ensure that your staff get paid, your suppliers get paid. Everything along the line gets, you know, paid, right? And you somehow are able to afford to pay rent and support your life as well. So, I would say just start with that. And I know we have a lot of topic points here. But you know, where you can save, start cutting costs, right? Like, call around for better pricing for suppliers, seeing how many hours your staff needs to work would dictate some cost savings as well. Seeing where you can save is really gonna help your bottom line at the end of it.
Roger: I see. And I’ve had a number of you know, clients over the years, you know, numbering in the thousands. But some of the ones that stuck at my brain, John, were business owners that said, “Roger, it’s not what I sell something for, it’s what I pay for it.” So, to your point, exactly, John, it’s your input costs of what it costs, whatever that product is or service. How do you make it…How do you get that price down? Because that’ll make that spread more profitable for your business? And these are the times where every penny counts.
John: Yeah, and revisit every single expense that you have. You see your credit card statement, you see…What is your biggest costs and all your suppliers, call competitors of those suppliers and price shop. Figure out what’s out there because everyone, I would imagine, would love to win your business again. And it’s…Everyone understands the situation and you want to just stay afloat. So, be real with everyone, be authentic, be yourself and let them in on your real situation and see what they can do. If there is some ways to save money, do it.
Roger: Yep. And then the post pandemic, you know, the other the next topic or the next subsection really is about the market itself. Fundamentally, it has changed for so many businesses. For a few, John, I’d say it hasn’t but for the most part, everybody has been affected by this. So, we have business owners and entrepreneurs, they have to look at what fundamentally has changed in the marketplace.
John: Exactly. And what that means is…Look outside of your store, storefront, digital. Who are your competitors today? Have they transformed and made some adjustments to the new behaviors of your customers? What are they doing differently? How are you going to position yourself differently? What are the terms that they’re seeking out? Are they spending more time in front of a computer doing analysis, doing some informational gathering before they make a decision, you know, what is the mindset and how are they adapting your customers to this new life? And how do you wanna be portrayed in the marketplace today?
Roger: Yep. And you know, as business owners and this is…We obviously have to be very general here because some businesses are service based, John, right? They don’t have a product but they have a profession, they have an expert, you know, skill set. Others are retailers and they sell product or they’re restaurants that create a meal for you know…And so everyone’s got a difference, you know, type of product or service to bring out there. So, these are…And of course, you know, these are some more generalized ideas that we’re bringing forward. But I can tell you, just fundamentally for myself, I don’t think I would have a year ago thought that I would be ordering online like I do now for shipping. And I just did it the other day with a local retailer where it’s for $4.99. They’re shipping what I wanted. I was online, I did my research, found it and it’s on its way to me for $4.99 shipping cost. It’s just like, “Well, why would I go to a store now?” So, my fundamental way…I’ve, you know, I like to go to stores but now with this, you know, thing I’m finding it very easy not to have to go.
John: Yeah. And it’s all about the user behavior, right? So, things have changed because of the fear and also adapting to understanding what goes on…Of your ideal type of clients, right? How are they consuming today. Be on more platforms, understanding that people don’t wanna go to the physical store. They would rather pay for delivery. Make sure that you’re part of platforms out there. Be more visible and prominent for where they’re shopping, how they’re shopping and consume your product and service. And be…Acknowledging that there’s a shift in users behavior, right? And while working at Yellow Pages, there was a shift from traditional marketing, to now digital marketing to now user engage, app-based, real time tracking marketing as well. People wanna be doing things seamlessly, freely without disruption of their daily activities.
Roger: That’s right. I guess that’s really what you’re referring to? Is to digitize that, you know, we’re all just doing things with the tools we have at home and at our home offices.
John: Yeah. And big business has already started transitioning to this, right? Like, big, big companies have already moved everyone online and home based, right? And if you’re doing that for your business, what kind of software and technology do you have in place so that you can work remote and your staff can work remote and you can still collaborate and you can still do all the supply chain, answering calls. Everything can be hoarded at home and built. Just understanding what software’s are required to make it seamless for yourself.
Roger: Yep. And of course, John, you and I worked…We’re sort of hardwired. We’ve always been in the advertising space, marketing space over the years but really it has now, the idea of investing in marketing post pandemic, what that really looks like for business owners and, you know, knowing that they’ve had to pivot everything. The whole landscape has changed but the idea of, how do you get your message out there now? You’ve gotta invest in marketing.
John: Exactly. During times of when things are slow. Even now or in prior years, right? At Yellow Pages days, business owners would invest more on marketing and advertising. Because they have to pick up sales, right? Revenue. So, if things are slower than anticipated, you will invest. But you need to understand there’s different ways to invest. There’s immediate returns, which, Yes, will hold you off for the next couple months but then you have to invest for the long term as well. And you gotta understand what the website can ultimately do for your business. If you do invest for long term, building authority and saving up so that when people start seeing you organically on a regular basis you’re gonna be a thought leader, you’re gonna be a brand that people respect and want to do business with. And it’s all inbound leads. So, understanding the landscape of how to get in front of your ideal type of client, how they consume information, where they shop. Understanding all that.
Roger: Exactly. And, you know, there’s all the traditional forms, of course of marketing but really when…And I have this conversation so often with, you know, potential clients and our clients. Where can you get your message out there today? But it really does default, John, to the world of Google. They have such a dominant position out there. People when they’re doing..No matter where they are in their cycle of buying. Whether it’s research or they’re ready to even make the purchase. They all seem to be funneling through Google. So, it behooves every business owner to do your very, very best to get that message out and leverage Google. And I will say a lot of business owners think, “Well, I’m in business. I get a lot of referral business.” But marketing is so so important because you want to grow. If you want to grow your business, you’ve got to find those new customers.
John: Exactly. And there’s different ways, right? Like, there’s traditional, like we always talk about flyers, newspaper, you know, the trade shows, but they don’t exist anymore. Radio, but people aren’t commuting as much and people are staying away from ads, right? They’re trying to do podcasting more because you can skip ads. On TV, there’s Netflix and Amazon Prime. There’s no ads placement, product placement. So, understanding the world of, you know, getting in front of more people and people are spending more time in front of their smartphone apps, doing social media, navigation, research on their own, video watching on YouTube. So, be where your customers are spending time at. And, yeah…
Roger: What I was gonna say was…And I just heard this statistic the other day for example, just because of the world we live in, more people are working from home. Traffic. And this is all over North America. Traffic in the morning, afternoon, those rush hour traffic is down 20 to 30%. So, think about that, like 30%, potentially, of people that used to hear maybe a message on the radio, they’re not hearing it because they’re not in their car, they’re at home so…
John: Yeah, so where are they consuming information today? Is it real time? Are they doing it themselves? On voice devices maybe, right? So, understand what’s going on in your situation, in your landscape, in your business, in your market. And be aware of what your competitors are doing as well?
Roger: So, that was the topic, the last one we’re going to speak, John, is the idea of maintaining strong relationships with your customer base. And this is…There’s lots of different ideas out there. But just think of it, if you get a customer, if you’ve earned that customer, how do you keep them sticky? What sort of relationship, John, should they be looking at going forward?
John: Yeah. And this is probably the most important thing, the lifetime value of that customer. It’s a lot easier to retain an existing client than to try to find a new customer that you have to prove, right? They already are interested in your product, they purchased a product of yours. Now, how do you retain them so that they either refer you more or keep spending on any new products that you have released? Any service that you have offered? And make sure that you keep them informed with what’s going on in your business, in your store, in your online digital presence? Like, what’s going on? So, do you have a list? Do you have, you know, drip campaigns on email, newsletters, social media, you know, funnels, etc.
Roger: Exactly. You know, there’s, again, this has to be more general, John, because there’s so many different types of businesses but as an example, some of our local restaurants, we like to patronize and of course, we have to do it through takeout now, because of pandemic. They put little stickers on the carry away bags, talking about your next order 10% off if you come and pick up. So, those sorts of things to get, and I don’t. I’m not looking for a necessary discount, I’m looking to support them. But these are little things you can do to remind your client, your customer. Come back, we got, you know, we got a special promotion on for you. Enjoy our specialties etc. And, you know, this little sticker just as a reminder. The other thing, I’ve got a, you know, a business that takes care of my, you know, air conditioning and heating. They have me on a plan and it’s $19 a month that keeps me sticky, where I get a free, you know, or whatever service call for maintenance included once a year and I get preferential turnaround time in case of an emergency. So, it’s funny there, you know, there’s so many examples of what you can do to keep your client close to you and keep them, you know, part of your active business.
John: And it’s so important to listen to what your customers are telling you. What is the gap? What are they looking for? Is it a long relationship? Or is it just a one product thing? Like, understand the opportunity that exist. Are there offshoot accessories or offshoot other products and services that you can build upon that one time purchase that your customer made, right? Understand there’s always things that you can really, you know, leverage from your existing base and really work on the loyalty program. Look at the referral program, look at what really drives them to wanna continue doing business with you because they’ve already trusted you. They’ve already spent money with you, right? So, it’s a lot easier to retain them and offer them something with either discount or loyalty, that they will continue coming back to you.
Roger: And people may not realize this and I like it. I’m not a Starbucks customer all the time. My wife tends to like them only when we’re on the road driving but Starbucks, they give a customer experience every time you come through drive thru, John, they ask you, “How is your day going?” They are the most bubbly, outgoing and they’re just they make you feel better about the day versus other coffee shops that we don’t need to talk about who they are, they could care less. And it’s like Next, please. “What do you want?” And then they slap it down in front of you. The Starbucks, it gives an experience that people are willing, they may even subconsciously don’t even realize. “I like going to Starbucks.” “Why?” “They’re nice there. They’re always in a good mood. They put me in a good mood.” It’s fascinating what a business owner…And that’s something you know, all, you know, our listeners today, they could really take that and try and make that your own. I mean, Starbucks is a multinational corporation that have got things figured out. So, this is something small business owners could do too.
John: Exactly. Look what Walt Disney has done. Look what Starbucks has done. They have an experience for every single client of their?, right? Users. And if you understand personalization, and making people feel great about themselves. People will want…And it’s memorable, they will stick in your brain to want to continue going back to them. So, that’s the loyalty of it, right?
John: They wanna do business with people that make them happy and they’re going to want to tell others about their experience when they are happy. It’s the ripple effect, right?
Roger: It really is. Well, John, this has been great. If you have any other final thoughts but this has been a terrific little conversation today.
John: Yeah, like post COVID. We don’t know when things were going to go back to normal if ever. Understand the situation you’re in, there’s probably a lot of your competitors that haven’t made it through. So, understand the opportunities. There’s gaps in the marketplace, there’s going to be new ideas that come out of this. How do you get stronger than ever? How do you think like your customer so that you can actively look for new customers and try to be in front of them more, and engage with them. Have fun along the way.
Roger: Well, John, thank you for your time today and I want to thank our listeners for listening today. And we’ll talk again.
John: Thanks a lot, Roger.
Roger: All right. Thank you and have a good day.