As vaccines slowly roll out around the world, small businesses are bracing themselves for one last push to make it through the final months of COVID-19. But what comes after that? It’s time for entrepreneurs to begin planning for their post-pandemic rebound. Read on for our advice to keep in mind as you prepare to get back to business as usual.
Yes, the pandemic has lasted a long time, and we’re all very sick of it. But now’s not the time to let go of your patience. Even as large numbers of people are getting vaccinated every day, it will still likely take the better part of 2021 before the majority of the population is inoculated. That means that things won’t get back to normal all at once — but gradually over time. Continue masking up in your business, offering hand sanitizer stations, and following other safety protocols to set customers’ minds at ease.
Some things may never get back to the way we knew them in the BC (Before COVID) era. It’s important to recognize that some consumer behaviors may have changed permanently. Although we all miss human contact, many of us have grown accustomed to some of the convenient elements of our socially distanced lives. Expect to see continued demand for e-commerce shopping, curbside pickup, and delivery, and accommodate these expectations as best as you are able.
Bringing customers back through your doors may require some extra outreach when the pandemic has ended. Particularly if your business had to close for a while, or drastically alter its operations, customers need to be informed that you’ve returned. People have also fallen out of old habits, like shopping for pleasure, eating out, treating themselves to spa days, etc.
While minimizing expenditure is likely top of mind right now, marketing is a crucial investment in your rebound and future success. Plan to spread the word with direct mailers, door hangers, flyers, postcards, signs, ads in local publications, and online search ads — cast as wide a net as possible to reach people from multiple touchpoints and ensure that you make an impression. Offering a coupon or promoting a big sale will give your audience a great reason to come back to your business.
You might not think it, but conditions are currently excellent for the formation of new businesses. Interest rates are historically low. Many people who were laid off from their corporate jobs are now considering finally making that move to pursue their passions professionally. Everyone’s had a lot of time (and few distractions) to think about what they really want out of their careers. With these factors in mind, many experts are expecting an explosion of new businesses to hit the market as COVID is ending.
This shouldn’t worry you, as the growth of the local business community is beneficial to all. Money stays within the community, shopping local stays more top of mind with consumers, and partnership opportunities abound. As you see new businesses popping up around town, be sure to reach out. See if you can team up on a co-op Every Door Direct Mail campaign to split advertising costs, or figure out a mutually beneficial co-promotion. If you’re not already a member, be sure to join your local networking groups so that you can share ideas and work together for the good of all.
You’re not the only one with big post-COVID goals. No matter to what extent their lives were affected, everyone has missed out on something during the pandemic. Trips were canceled, weddings were postponed, graduations were held virtually. Many people may have held off on moves like buying a house or undertaking a big home improvement project due to a loss of income, or out of anxiety over economic uncertainty.
Use this customer mindset to your advantage and target your marketing and sales pitches appropriately. How can your services help others achieve their post-pandemic goals? What can you do to provide people with the experiences they’ve been missing out on for over a year? If you can answer these questions effectively — and reach your customer base with this message — you’ll be well positioned to not just bounce back from the effects of COVID, but do better than ever.
As always, your local PostNet center is here to support you. Stop by and let us know what marketing efforts you’re planning for the months ahead. We can help you get ready with the design and printing services you’ll need to nail your rebound.