“When life serves lemons, make lemonade.” This saying is the perfect description for the first half of 2020. Globally and across all industries, businesses are experiencing a new normal, particularly as they follow “social distance” guidance. Businesses that typically draw crowds of people such as brick and mortar retail stores, beauty and barber shops, dine-in restaurants and even religious services have all been placed on a temporary pause to keep people safe from COVID-19. However, social distancing has brought forth a new and exciting challenge for businesses and industries to find creative ways to effectively deliver their products and services.
To ensure your business can maintain and stabilize in the aftermath, it’s important to make sure your lemonade is sweet. Here are five ways businesses can implement a solid, colorful and sustainable digital transformation strategy.
Extreme Home Makeover
When business is at its peak, it can be difficult to maintain customer satisfaction and keep house. The term “keeping house” refers to businesses giving their digital presence a much-needed makeover—i.e., website, social media and SEO; essentially, all business-owned digital media channels. A business website and its content could likely use a little spring cleaning to ensure the homepage, product offerings and thought leadership pieces are fresh. Similarly, social media presence should echo the brand voice with more succinct messaging and updates about the business, helping to establish brand presence and position.
Monika Jansen, CEO of Jansen Communications, a copywriting and marketing firm, spoke to me about five marketing projects her firm is currently tackling to help clients with their digital makeovers. Jansen says that while some firms may not need a new website or updated marketing materials, it’s important to use this time to prepare so that businesses can be ready given the OK to reopen. Developing thought leadership pieces, e-books and case studies are great projects to tackle in the meantime, Jansen says.
“Longer-form content takes time to produce,” she says. “This might be a great project to tackle during the pandemic. People have more time to read and they need help adapting to our new circumstances. If you can offer guidance, this is the time to share it.”
Communication is Key
As face-to-face interactions are put on pause, other forms of communicating to internal business teams or academic classrooms have been heavily utilized. For some industries, email and messaging have already proved their worth. Even in the academic setting, most schools and universities have implemented learning platforms such as Google Classroom and Blackboard into their programs.
But as people navigate a new normal of working and learning from home and circumstances are personalized, it’s pertinent to ensure a clear and malleable communication strategy. As the initiator of the communication, you should first make note of which platform is best to execute a specific message, and the content should drive that decision.
Depending on the level of importance, sometimes video goes over better as an initial point of contact, with maybe a follow-up email. If more colloquial in nature, messaging platforms tend to be a better route. B2C and B2B firms should look to adopt a similar strategy in communicating with their customers. Video drives higher engagement, while social media leans more informal.
Flexible, Scalable, Simple
To successfully adapt in the current climate and move forward, you must determine how flexible, scalable and simple your product or service is. Do a basic SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to measure the elasticity of your product and glean insight on where your product or service can be improved.
If your business has seen a dip, use this time to understand how you can position yourself to come back stronger. Understand your competitors and, most importantly, your target audience. This is also an opportunity to implement innovation and understand how your business looks to measure up to future predictions within your industry.
Learning to Dance in the Rain
When it rains, it pours. Some businesses have a chance to move forward and weather the crisis. But some industries, such as ride-sharing apps, food delivery services and charitable organizations, may find themselves in a more challenging position and may need to pivot their message.
Joanne Sonenshine, CEO of Connective Impact, is providing strategies to not-for-profit businesses on shifting fundraising requests due to COVID. In times like this where funding and donations are still needed for so many sectors, Sonenshine suggests that nonprofits should keep moving forward. “Stay focused on your priorities and don’t give up. Even if it seems that everything is now about coronavirus, your programs still matter,” she says. “If you need to pivot, do so. But do so in a smart and thoughtful way. Don’t give up on your mission, cause or purpose. You will be seen and heard if you keep moving.”
Push the Envelope
As email, social and video conference platforms are the closest that you can get to your customers, it completely shifts the way we connect with audiences. Pushing the envelope is about maximizing all of the tools and capabilities of your business’ owned digital channels to provide exceptional customer experience.
Businesses have used the powers of social media by, for example, shifting typical white-paper content to live-streaming sessions through LinkedIn and YouTube. This shift in strategy allows for much higher engagement, as potential customers can post questions to which companies can respond in real time.
Additionally, as the news and entertainment world has experienced as pause as well, talk-show hosts, news anchors, cooking shows and even DJs have taken to social media, pushing the envelope on the ability to engage audiences on a different media channel.
Look to implement sustainable digital transformation strategies now to catapult your business’ ultimate brand vision and success.
Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash.