Now is the perfect time to assess your business performance. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has thrown the world of business into confusion.
From decreases in sales and logistical issues to employee furloughs and money issues. There is no shortage of problems facing business owners today.
Things are not easy for business owners right now. But COVID-19 is the perfect opportunity to assess your business performance. Read on to find out why. You can also get some tips on how you can assess your business performance during the downturn.
Why is now the time to assess your business performance?
Let’s talk about the issue of sales.
Some retailers, such as those in the fitness or entertainment industries, are thriving. They are enjoying higher sales as a direct result, or in spite of, the pandemic.
This is a reason in itself. Enjoying an increase in sales? Now is the time to take advantage of that.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for every industry. The lockdown has decimated many businesses. Sales either dwindle to nothing or drop far below usual expectations.
If you are one of these businesses, you might find yourself with more time on your hands as a result.
But every cloud has a silver lining. This time is the perfect opportunity to fine-tune your business. Use that time wisely.
The lockdown won’t last forever. When things start to return to normal, it’s essential that your business can hit the ground running.
Take advantage of the downturn. Focus your attention on areas of your business that you might have neglected in the past. You are free from the pressure of orders, logistics, customer queries, and so on. This lets you start preparing for the future with care and consideration.
What aspects should you look at when you assess your business performance?
There are myriad aspects of your business that can enjoy a tune-up during COVID-19. Here are a few essentials to get you started.
Conduct a marketing audit to finesse your strategy
Marketing is an essential part of running a business. It requires constant care and attention. This ensures your campaigns are successful. This level of care and attention extends to the evaluation of your strategies too.
Continuous assessment of your marketing helps you improve upon it. It identifies which channels are worth pursuing. It also identifies how your paid ad strategies are performing, and so on.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the most popular platforms used by brands in 2020. But 50% of TikTok’s audience is made of people aged below 34. 26% of its audience is aged between 18 and 24. It’s a valuable channel for brands with young target customers.
Audi your marketing strategy to spot these valuable opportunities. This lets you hit the ground running post-COVID.
Conduct an audit of your marketing campaigns and channels from the last 12 months. Assess how they helped you reach your KPIs during that period. Highlight key metrics such as follower increase counts on social, CTRs on email, and so on.
Use these metrics to identify problem areas in your strategies across the board. Divide your efforts by channel: email, social, PPC, and so on. Focus on one channel at a time before moving onto another.
This process is time-consuming but a necessity. It helps you lead the charge when sales increase again. A marketing assessment like this is essential.
Use a split-testing campaign for your ads
You likely already run paid ad campaigns, ranging from PPC to social ads. If so, you’re probably winding down your budget for these until the situation returns to normal.
But while people might not be making sales, they are still viewing and clicking on ads. If your sales are in a slump then the stakes are low. So now is a good time to pursue a round of split testing. It will improve your ad strategy.
Split testing your ads makes them more effective. Show two variations of the same ad to audiences. This helps determine which is more likely to drive clicks.
And this is no vanity exercise. 58% of companies run A/B tests on their paid campaigns. That’s more than half, a modest but significant majority.
You’re paying for your ads. Why wouldn’t you want the best ad possible on show to your prospective customers? Split-testing your ads helps you find the ad that is most likely to succeed in getting.
With the added downtime afforded by the lockdown, you can really get granular with your A/B testing.
Some useful A/B testing tips
Hopefully you already target your ads according to different customer segments. This is foundational work. But you can drill down into this by further dividing your ads according to:
- Who visited your website
- Page likes
- Who already engaged with your previous posts
- Similar interests
But you can further drill down into this with some design adjustments. Examples include:
- Graphic image vs photos
- Bold colors vs subtle hues
- Multicolors vs one or two colors
This applies to your copy too. Consider the following:
- Upbeat tone vs serious approach
- Emojis and copy vs just copy
- Informal slang vs professional vocabulary
It’s worth using a tool here for better results. 58% of businesses rely on split-testing software, and with good reason. It delivers more accurate, quantifiable results. This lets you finesse your adverts in a way that is cost-effective and results-driven.
Optimizely is a good CRO tool with a free option. It’s ideal for helping beginners get to grips with split testing.
Conduct a product line assessment
A product audit is something every business needs to do at some point. This isn’t something that should be done regularly. But it’s a worthwhile exercise. It can help you identify best-selling products. It also identifies those that aren’t selling.
This can help you determine which products to display on your homepage. It also helps you decide which product pages need more attention, and so on.
This is particularly resonant during the coronavirus pandemic. As mentioned earlier, consumer tastes are changing. Certain industries are experiencing increased sales as a result of the situation.
So why does this matter? Look at the luxury brand Browns for an example. It enjoyed a 70% increase in sales of loungewear during the lockdown. Fashion sales were down between 27-30%. But sales of comfortable loungewear increased. This is because customers were spending more time indoors.
Sales of puzzles and board games increased by 240% for the same reason.
Without a product assessment, many brands would not have been able to profit from spikes in sales. Re-evaluate your product line smartly. This lets you increase your sales in the same way.
Some useful product line assessment tips
Identify products that are most useful to individuals stuck at home. Rank these in your marketing efforts.
This is especially resonant for dropshipping businesses. Dropshipping stores do not have the logistical commitments standard retailers have. This means they can pivot easily.
This presents a ripe opportunity for growth. Identify popular dropshipping products by finding those that fit a particular niche. These could be mountain biking, fishing, and so on. Particular niches soared in popularity due to COVID. Pivot your product line to these popular niches. This lets you quickly increase your sales.
Plan your offline events for next year
It goes without saying that offline events are off the table given the current situation. Social distancing measures are only beginning to ease. Therefore, pop-up shops and similar events will be hard to implement.
However, now is the perfect time to start planning such events. Time is on your side here. Create an entire calendar of exciting offline events to meet your business goals.
Pop-up stores are simple to set up and great for tapping into offline foot traffic for sales.
80% of retailers who launched a pop-up shop declared it a success. And the benefits go beyond increased sales too. 51% of retailers recorded increased market visibility. A further 46% enjoyed increased engagement on social media too.
Clearly, the benefits of pop-up shops are myriad. Now is a great time to start planning your own.
Some useful offline event tips
Use this time to plan the logistics, even if it’s just on paper. Look at possible rental spaces, potential costings, and so on. Create a spreadsheet and record all possible expenses — it’ll save you a lot of hassle in the future.
It’s also worth selecting your best-selling products to sell at your pop-up too. Increase your profits by putting these products on display.
You could use your pop-up shop to launch a new product. Or you could mark the relaunch of your store once restrictions ease.
Consider more experiential events. Sampling sessions, guided talks, and so on. Reach out to influencers or experts within your niche. Offer them a speaking spot at your pop-up. This increases engagement on social and boosts market visibility.
When the time comes, you will be able to quickly populate your calendar with these events. This lets you increase sales and brand awareness.
The coronavirus pandemic has presented a unique set of challenges. While things are tough now, it’s important to stay proactive. This lets you hit the ground running once the world eventually returns to normal.