When COVID-19 prompted nationwide shutdowns earlier this year, I couldn’t help but worry about how the local po-boy restaurants, family-owned gift shops and mom-and-pop shoe repair businesses that fill my New Orleans neighborhood with charm and character would survive the pandemic.
But low-and-behold, despite having to temporarily shutter their doors, many of America’s 30.7 million small businesses, like those in my own community, began to reopen with social distancing measures and digitized processes in place. Restaurants replaced physical menus with QR codes so that patrons could view the evening’s specials on their smartphones. Hardware stores that hadn’t updated their websites in 15 years added ecommerce and curbside pickup options for do-it-yourself home repair projects. Local clothing boutiques began selling – and quickly selling out of – tye-dye facemasks and cozy pajamas via Instagram Stories.
Across the country, small and medium businesses (SMBs) are turning to digital technology to weather the storm of COVID-19. In fact, according to Salesforce’s latest Small and Medium Business Trends Report, growing SMBs are actually 65% more likely to accelerate their pace of technology investments due to the pandemic.
If small business owners are your target buyers, now is the right time to amp up how you market your cloud-based technology.
Refresh Small Business Buyer Personas
Remember those buyer personas you created when you first began marketing your product to SMBs? It’s time to dust them off and give them a refresh based on how COVID-19 has altered their core concerns, routines and decision-making habits. For instance, a 5-star restaurateur may have been against partnering with a food delivery app last year but might be interested now that in-person dining capacity restrictions have slashed profit margins.
Promote the Simplicity & Ease of Implementation of Cloud-Based Solutions
One constant that remains the same both before and during the pandemic is that small business owners are still strapped for time and resources, which means they are looking for quick, affordable and reliable solutions. Unlike enterprise business customers that typically need multiple touchpoints before making a purchase, small businesses have a much shorter buying cycle and want solutions that can immediately be implemented without causing any downtime. To appeal to SMBs, highlight your technology’s ease-of-use and immediate ROI in your marketing materials and consider offering a freemium subscription model to entice trials of basic features.
Market Your Software’s Success with Similar SMBs
To build instant credibility with your target small business buyers, highlight how your customers are using your solutions to pivot their business operations successfully in light of the pandemic. If you’re struggling to gather customer success stories, consider incentivizing case studies by offering discounted services to those that participate. Then, once you have strong customer content to tell, strategically promote it in different forms, whether that’s through concise video clips incorporated in targeted social ads for lead generation or pitching success stories to media outlets that reach the business’s specific vertical industry.
These are just a few of the strategies that you can use to market your cloud-based software solution to small businesses as they work to rebound from COVID-19. If you’re interested in more tailored strategies for your business, reach out to our team to discuss how ARPR’s Panorama Approach can help.