You may not be able to provide the products and services you previously provided, or their appetite to consume your products and services may be diminished for whatever reason. In this scenario of supply and demand disparity, the important thing is to earn and retain their loyalty so that when things change (and they will), you are foremost in their minds and can resume the transactional side of your relationship.

We are seeing various approaches to this challenge across different sectors, all of them with varying levels of creativity and business agility. From restaurants offering take-away services which enable them to retain kitchen staff and the connection with loyal customers, to B2B businesses extending their offering to B2C customers (particularly in the food service sector), to recruiters offering live webinar interviews and commission free placements (knowing that the good will bank will pay out in meeting future requirements).

There are also lateral approaches to retaining a connection, even when you can’t maintain a transactional relationship. Think about what value you might be able to add whilst waiting for your transactional relationship to resume. For example, restaurants/cafes may choose to send out an email campaign to loyal customers to encourage them to connect and share on social media. Providing a weekly recipe suggestion or video tutorial via social media should have the added benefit of organically growing your potential connections resulting in more future customers.

The common success factor for these businesses is in their ability to adapt, and their commitment to communication, investing in appropriate marketing to get their message out. Where their audience is localised geographically, fits a certain demographic or particular interest group Facebook advertising is a clear winner in being able to pinpoint their audience and distribute shareable content which in turn grows their organic reach potentially exponentially.

Where businesses trade in goods or services that are particularly in demand at this time, they need to be agile in order to capitalise on this unexpected ‘opportunity’. For example, indoor sport training equipment is in high demand due to the quarantined nature of society and our awareness of the need for exercise to maintain both a healthy body and mind. Where your business trades in these ‘peak demand’ products, your online presence needs to be ‘on-point’ and where the potential to sell online is present you need to be able to capitalise on that. NetXtra have been developing comprehensive ecommerce solutions for a number of years, but in recent months have established some interim solutions for rapid deployment (launch an ecommerce business in under a week) where time is very much of the essence in harnessing the opportunity.

There are things that you can do to optimise your website performance, but most importantly, your time for investing in digital marketing is likely now! Google ads, PPC and social media advertising are all worthy of consideration. If you don’t know where to start with this, we would be happy to make suggestions, including linking you up with experts in growing your business online through strategic digital marketing investment.

Content marketing is also key, establish the kinds of content you can create yourselves (making sure to harness any potential SEO), identify where it would be beneficial to outsource content creation (for example video production perhaps) or enable someone in your organisation to focus some time on learning what may be new skills to facilitate this.

If you can be creative and find innovative solutions there are new approaches which can sustain your business in the short term, with the potential to increase your reach and grow your market share moving forwards.