COVID-19 has debilitated the global economy over the last few months. This pandemic is predicted to be the biggest hit to hit the global economy since World War II. The crisis continues ravaging small businesses specifically startups across the globe.
For a long time, statistics have painted a grim picture for the survival of startups in normal operating environments.
In light of such data, it follows that startups will suffer in the new business landscape created by the pandemic. This post looks at the impact this crisis might have on startups and how these ventures can improve their fortunes post COVID-19 crises.
The startup scene so far
Over the last few months, the global crisis has virtually wiped out supply chains, thus crippling most startups. Most startups rely on the latest technology to streamline their operations, and any hitches in supply chains affect operations.
Worse still, access to capital has crippled many of these businesses. In China, where the effects of the pandemic were first felt, venture capital dropped drastically from 50 to 57 per cent. If this drop in investor capital is replicated globally, it will wipe out US$28 billion in startup investment. Already, reports indicate 41 per cent of startups globally have little cash to survive more than three months during this crisis.
Add to this the fact that many startups laid off full-time employees since the beginning of the crisis. Many others have suffered a decline in revenues since the COVID-19 crisis hit.
While stimulus packages have become the order of the day, many startups don’t expect any help from policy relief measures. They might not be big enough to enjoy such assistance.
Strategies for startups to grow post COVID-19
While things are tight in the startups’ business landscape, this also presents an opportunity to rethink business models and find ways to survive. There seems to be no respite in sight even as countries start reopening cautiously.
Also Read: How do you optimise the customer experience during a festive rush?
If you own a startup or you plan to launch one in this environment, there are some factors to consider to acquire new customers. Take a look.
Analyse the impact
It’s hard to foresee an industry that will remain unchanged post-COVID-19. Your startup must invest heavily in research to determine what has changed to adapt to the new normal. You have to ask yourself not only how this crisis has affected your business but also how it has affected your target customers.
An objective evaluation will show where you stand in terms of operational readiness to continue with customer acquisition. You should also assess your key risk areas for your startup and also review the company’s financial vulnerabilities.
The data you collect from your research should be the springboard to any changes you make in your customer acquisition strategy. As a startup, you have a leeway to try new methodologies in customer acquisition. However, you need quality data to guide you on the best tactics to acquire customers.
Audit and adjust customer experience
This crisis has given a massive boost to digital marketing, but the situation in terms of customer experience is nowhere near ideal. Many startups pre-COVID-19 used their online platforms to complement their land-based operations.
For such startups, this crisis presented a big challenge as transitioning to full online operations came with myriad challenges. With lockdowns, restrictions on movements, social distancing, and other measures to counter the new coronavirus, most customers moved online.
They expected the best experience but in some cases, businesses were struggling with the avalanche of orders.
What’s worse, the breakdown in supply chains meant many startups could not deliver products. Businesses must understand what went wrong during the crisis to improve their customer acquisition rates.
Start by learning how your target customers feel about your service levels before the crisis and during the crisis. You should carry out surveys to learn what customers expect and build your customer acquisition strategy around these expectations.
Rehash your content strategy
These are no ordinary times, and as such, your business cannot continue using the same content as before. Create content with a more personal touch if at all you want to attract new customers. Post-COVID is not the time to boast about cutting-edge technology and your revenue projections. Instead, you must show empathy with your customers who have suffered through this time.
Your marketing team must go back to the drawing board and create a content strategy that’s honest and transparent. There’s no harm in showing your vulnerabilities because everyone has suffered terribly over the last few months. However, you should also display your resilience and willingness to stand with your customers at all times.
Use a robust and versatile content marketing strategy that includes blogging, social media, e-books, guides, and other types of gated offers, video production, and email marketing. All these techniques have high rates of success and ROI in acquiring new customers.
Leverage social media for customer acquisition
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media networks play an integral in promoting consumerism today. Social media is bound to become even more critical post-COVID-19 with social distancing measures expected to continue for a long time.
In this new normal, businesses have to find the easiest contact points with their target customers. Social and digital marketing is a smart strategy if you want to acquire new customers. You can use these platforms to showcase your products, show social proof, and boost brand visibility.
Also Read: How Tokpedia’s VP of customer engagement managed his customers during the pandemic
With the right social media content strategy, it’s easy to get people talking about your brand. It is an easy way to boost engagement levels by talking to prospects and providing crucial feedback.
Employees are your biggest asset
Whether you have managed to retain all employees or not during this crisis, you have to appreciate the critical role they can play post-COVID. In a startup, employees are like family, and most of them work hard to realize the dream of the venture.
You can promote user-generated content to target new customers after the crisis. From reviews, testimonials, behind-the-scenes to COVID-19 safety videos, try creative ways to bring employees into your campaigns.
This crisis has reduced human contact and many people miss going out and talking to their family and friends. You should consider using this opportunity to increase engagement through handwritten cards, check-in phone calls and personalised emails to your target customers.
You can also create contests to increase customer feedback and engagement. Now that most people will shop online, make sure you share these contests across multiple channels. The bottom line is to communicate clearly and transparently and always be available to give feedback.
Optimise your website
Post-COVID-19, you can expect more people to shop and seek many other services online. For this reason, you must optimise your website and make it more customer-friendly. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, provide multiple seamless payment options, 24/7 customer support, and comprehensive product and service description.
You should also find ways to integrate martech into your customer acquisition strategies. There are plenty of helpful tools out there that can support you with this.
The COVID-19 crisis has devastated the global economy. Due to their vulnerability, startups have suffered a lot during this crisis, with many collapsing. However, there’s a window of opportunity for the resilient ones post COVID. With these tips, it’s possible to revive the fortunes of your startup through customer acquisition.
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