The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catastrophic hit for most businesses, but most of them can get back on their feet and thrive even after this global crisis.
We have decided to pause our weekly exploration of content marketing and talk about something way more important at the end of this pandemic: how to succeed and help your business back to its feet.
First Things First
One of the most important things you should keep in mind is that, regardless of how hard the situation is right now, you are not the only one having problems. Every business owner in the world is facing your exact same challenges: the fact that some of them are able to keep their success going during and even after the pandemic means that there is a blueprint you can follow.
Even if this may sound trivial, the truth is doing this simple contextualization is way more significant that you think – our minds tend to think in micro terms and to neglect the macro aspect of things, a mechanism that makes daily life easier but that can also make your problems appear bigger, as if everything is happening just to you: by acknowledging that we are all in the same boat, you put yourself in the right mental state to start looking for solutions.
Digital Revolution: a technological pandemic
Our society has been talking for decades about the Third Industrial Revolution, the all-but-slow transition to mechanical and analogue electronic technology to digital electronics: it is my opinion, and many will agree with me, that one of the biggest, most undeniable consequences of this pandemic will the acceleration of the digital revolution’s progress.
Don’t believe me? Well, just take a look around you.
Just like me, one of the most things we all did the most during this pandemic was going on Zoom, Skype or FaceTime video calls. The average amount of hours people spent on social media increased drastically, and we don’t know if cinemas will ever recover after huge movie studios decided to make their productions available at home while they are forced to stay closed. Stepping into McDonald’s or Burger King and taking food home not only seems normal, it feels somewhat healthier than what we did before, sitting around the same table with dozens of people around us, breathing, moving, touching surfaces.
We don’t know when we will go back to the gym, just like we have no idea of when we will be able to attend another concert or when everything will be back to full normality. In all of this, an overwhelming number of businesses closed down and are still closed: nevertheless, there’s a few businesses that managed to stay open and cover their expenses.
Let’s look into them.
How to succeed after the global crisis
Restaurants, ice creams parlors, coffee shops – these are some of the businesses that had a shot at keeping themselves alive during this pandemic, and we helped some of them:
the “Al Parco” ice cream parlor opened its Instagram profile just a week the Italian government announced the complete lockdown. We were able to grow that profile organically, achieving 215 local, active followers who were all interest in buying ice cream and receiving it at home, thus giving the parlor a much-needed source of income.
As for our partner at Mango con Piña, two years ago we created for them an e-commerce store that in just one year allowed them to open a physical store: during the pandemic they never stopped having customers and their active social media profile made sure that their customers knew they were still there.
Finally, the pandemic helped Meraviglie Cosmetics understand the need for a social media presence and, after we launched their website, they put us in charge of starting a long social media management initiative that will put their business on the map.
See the pattern?
These are not casual examples. The only businesses that were able to thrive during the COVID-19 were, are and will be those who manage to embrace the digital side of their operations – this is our new reality, and the pandemic is just forcing many people to open their eyes.
If you want to survive, if you want to thrive, you need a strong brand, less expenses, more effective investments, and a strong digital presence that will drive your marketing and your brand away from analogue and propel it deep into the virtual realm.
Stop being romantic
As the CEO of H-M3DIA, I spend plenty of time thinking of ways to innovate and consuming content that will help me and my endeavors grow. Besides this, being Italian-Venezuelan and having many contacts in the other side of the Atlantic helps me put things in perspective and look at the whole context from both and insider’s and an outsider’s perspective: we have an European problem.
Let me elaborate on that.
From what I’ve seen at least in Germany, Italy and Spain, an overwhelming number of European business owners have two things in common:
- They are romantic about obsolete methods, practices and platforms;
- They see social media from a consumer’s perspective.
The first one is a problem because, as it often happens in our personal life, being attached to the past is the best way to prevent ourselves from becoming who we want to be: this applies to your business, too! Even if you grew up with television, radio and print as the best ways to get to your potential audience, it is time for all of us to accept that all of it is becoming a thing of the past: being romantic about the channels you use to help your business grow will only lead your business to financial stagnation.
The second point is even worse.
You see, even before social media existed the visionary Bill Gates said that “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business”. This statement not only is still true, but it has a whole new meaning to it: if you don’t have a website you’re already behind your competition because most businesses have one, yet being on the internet doesn’t mean only having a website. Being on the internet, especially after this pandemic, means putting out content that lets your potential customers know you exist. As a business owner, you need to put out as much content as you can, you need to have a plan.
Once you go past these two problems, you will find yourself spending less money on your marketing while getting more results than the ones paper or radio would ever give you. You have to stop looking at social media as a consumer of content and entertainment and start considering it an extension of your business where you are the one giving people content to consume.
Pandemic Response Program – our way of helping the community
If you asked us for a quote in the past few weeks, you already know about this. If you didn’t, let me tell you: shortly after we took control of Al Parco’s channels I decided to launch a series of bundles, services and offers that we ended up calling the Pandemic Response Program (PRP).
Unlike our general price chart, the H-M3DIA PRP is a tailor-made solution that takes into consideration the situation of the business, its field of operation, and its present image in order to give our future partners the best, most convent price – which they usually can dilute in two ore more payments. I personally developed this idea so that we can keep on helping business owners thrive: business owners are the ones who make it possible to have jobs, which means that we have to help them as much as we can if we want our families to eat and our economy to thrive.
After all is said and done and the Coronavirus pandemic will be just a memory, those who embraced digitalization will be still here, and they will be even stronger than before.
Sebastian D. P. Hidalgo
CEO | H-M3DIA, Marketing without Trees