Adapting to digital in times of COVID-19

Back Adapting to digital in times of COVID-19

If you’re a business owner, digital transformation may well be in your strategic plan but a slow roll-out will no longer work.

If you didn’t have a reason to fast-track digital before, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that. Now, businesses around the world have to adapt, and at lightning speeds. In an economy that has otherwise ground nearly to a halt, those who’ve been able to invest in digital capabilities are actually seeing growth. Adopting digital change could be a matter of life and death for your business. You need to act fast but the question is, where do you start? This article will lay out your top four priorities to tackle right now.

#1: Team productivity

Your first order of business must be transforming your internal digital systems to ensure that communication is fast and productivity can remain high. Prioritize employee communication and collaboration first.

Email remains an important business channel but it’s too slow for the fast pace of daily work. Look into direct messaging tools like Slack. Conversations held here are instant and transparent, so everyone is always on the same page.

Even if your team is working remotely you’ll need to maintain your ability to have face-to-face meetings. Use a teleconferencing tool like Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet.

Get your systems into the cloud so that your team can access information no matter where in the world they are. Google apps like calendar make scheduling simple and  Google Drive includes cloud storage so you can share files and collaborate in real time.

#2: Get online

You probably already have a website where your customers can get basic information but this is no longer enough. You can’t meet your buyers face-to-face during the COVID-19 crisis so your website needs to compensate and cover more ground in your sales funnel. 

Existing content
Make sure your website is up-to-date. Double check that your information including services and hours reflect your business’ current realities, not just how things were in 2019.

Value adds
Now is the time to make your pricing transparent. Consider a cost calculator showing how much a customer can save with your product or service.

Build (or beef up) your FAQs. Your customers will be happier when they can easily find the information they want.

Streamline forms. You should be able to receive applications or requests digitally but don’t make your visitors work for it. All forms should be responsive and secure, online.

Encourage communication. You might not be able to speak to your customers face-to-face but a chat feature can help bridge that gap and humanize the online experience.

Offer e-commerce, even if you’re not in retail. There are e-commerce solutions that issues invoices and offers payment methods for service-based businesses.

# 3: Get in front of your audience

You can no longer rely on sales calls or brick-and-mortar locations, at least for the time being, so ensure your customers can easily find you online. Quick and high-impact digital marketing activities include:

Advertising and promotion
Identify and use digital marketing channels that have an immediate impact. Even those with a minimal budget can find effective options at a reasonable price.

Social media
Keep your audience up-to-date by posting your news and services. Use online ads on Facebook and Google to target your customers and grow your following.

Online ads
In comparison to other forms of advertising, online ads are affordable and very effective. 

Email marketing
Stay in touch with your customers and prospective clients over email. Let them know what you can do for them and that you are ready to help

#4: Use data

If you’re not gathering customer data, you should be. It’s an effective way to offer your customers what they want and provide a more personalized experience which will increase sales conversions.

Use your analytics to discover what your customers are looking for and how they find you. You can leverage this information to enrich those services on your website and to offer promotions for high-demand products. 

If you’ve been gathering data in your CRM, use what you know about your customers to get personal. Send promotions and email communications directly to their inbox with targeted information that you know they’re interested in

Don’t worry about getting things perfect, worry about getting them started. During this crisis, time is of the essence. The good news is that implementing any of the above, even partially, will have an impact and sometimes even a small result can spur on bigger change. If you need help getting things done, you can always reach out to a digital partner like Backbone.