3 small business tips to adapt to the new normal

This is a guest post by George Kocher, CEO at Brand North. One of CallRail’s Agency Partners, Brand North is a digital marketing and growth consulting agency that specializes in helping businesses drive growth through SEO, SEM, PPC, sales consulting, and more.

With millions of people now working from home, consumers are not interacting with businesses in the same way they were in the past. Even before the pandemic, it’s become increasingly important for businesses to adapt digitally.

As your business starts to increase its presence online, there are a few things that will help you find success. Read on to find out what they are.

Less physical contact is the new normal

The new normal for many people is less in person interaction. Consumers have to interact with businesses remotely and because of this reality, they want to be able to have their questions answered as if they were right in the showroom.

Traditional businesses have moved to remote operations

Traditional businesses that always had physical interactions with customers have seen their operations move to remote situations. This includes law firms and many other consultative service providers.

Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, it would have seemed a bit odd to hold a meeting with your attorney to draft a will using Zoom, Google Meet, or some other form of video conferencing app.

But ever since March 2020, attorneys have moved their operations completely remote. This includes onboarding new clients, holding appointments, drafting wills, revising legal documents, and much more.

After a devastating year for SMBs, supporting our local businesses in any way we can is vital. In a report from late 2020, 100,000 of the businesses that temporarily closed their doors for shut downs did not survive. And in 2021, 30% of small businesses fear that they won't make it through to the other side of the pandemic.

There are hundreds of examples where businesses are going online and closing down brick and mortar locations. More than 6,300 stores are closing in 2020 as traditional businesses see fewer walk-in customers. Service businesses are doing well, but it’s time to get ahead of the changes in consumer behavior and create a purchasing process that limits friction.

3 tips to adapt digitally

Three important changes you can make to better serve your customers include, knowing who your customers are, updating your website, and engaging with customers you already have online and setting the right KPI’s.

  • Who are you customers? What do they like? And what motivates them?
  • What channels are customers on?
  • How much does it cost to acquire those customers?
  • Are you judging pre-transaction interactions? Micro conversions, like ebook downloads and email sign-ups, are important for the long term.
  • How do you track phone calls, text messages and form fills?

These things are all very important, particularly the last part for phone calls, texts, and forms. This can be difficult for businesses that used to rely on B2B relationships or even just wait for foot traffic to walk in the door.

Phone calls many times go missed or are abandoned. If you aren’t converting phone calls and using call tracking analytics that allows you to judge the success of every channel, it can be difficult to find success.

KYC: Know your client

Because we all see this paradigm change happening from in person to online, it’s extremely important to get LASER focused on who your target customer is and how to best serve them. KYC is what this is referred to in financial industries and I think it applies well to most businesses. Things you should know:

  1. What do your customers desire? What questions do they want answered? Why is your business the solution?
  2. Does your content resonate with your target audience? If you aren’t producing content that speaks to your target audience you won’t get very far. You want your content to be helpful and relevant to your target customer.
  3. Where do your clients spend time online? Your content doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know the places where your customers hang out online. Based on age range and behaviors your customers could spend their time on Pinterest, Google, Facebook, or even TikTok. You don’t want to go through the work of producing great content that no one sees.
  4. Don’t forget to follow up! If you don’t have a good follow-up strategy, the top-of-the-funnel traffic will go away.

Knowing your client and following these steps will streamline your consumer engagement and position you as a sought-after expert.

Frictionless buying process

As you start to adapt digitally, you want to make sure that the buying process is as streamlined as possible. Questions should be answered on your website so the user doesn’t have to pick up the phone until they’re ready.

As a general rule of thumb, online consumers like to do research and get answers to questions before they speak to a sales representative. More information is better than less. Businesses can execute these steps really well by implementing a simple FAQ section to their website. Make sure that your website allows visitors to purchase your products or services without having to interact with you.

Get specific about your offerings and don’t be afraid to show them publicly. Make it easy for your customer to find the information they’re looking for. It might seem counterintuitive to post your pricing and offerings online, but it can actually help you win more customers in the long run.

Consumers today prefer to self-educate and self serve, so by showing them the reality of your offerings upfront, you're positioning yourself as a resource instead of just trying to make a sale.

Engage current customers online

Think outside the box and put together unique product descriptions, buying guide, and even case studies that your customer base might find useful. Don’t forget to have fun with it! Testimonials, video tutorials, how-to articles, listicles, and any other type of content that helps show that your company is an expert in its field. Many times engaging employees in this process can help get buy-in from the entire organization. Don’t leave it all up to your marketing partner.

The bottom line

Figure out your ideal client first, next understand where they spend their time. Following that, get creative about the way you engage them online. Make it easy for them to purchase and finally, measure everything! If you follow all of those steps your data will inform your long-term strategy and allow you to continue pivoting and adapting over time.

Bonus tips:

Reach your customers at home, ways to adapt graphic