The coronavirus pandemic has affected most small businesses. With changes in consumer behavior, businesses are still trying to adapt to the new normal. If you’re finding it difficult to stay afloat, you should start boosting your business’s online presence.
According to Facebook US State of Small Business Report 2020, 34% of small businesses increased their use of online or digital tools to grow sales.
The number is not surprising because the COVID-19 pandemic brought in voluntary and mandatory lockdowns. And business needed to figure out ways to serve customers in these difficult times.
Facebook US State of Small Business Report 2020
Small and midsize businesses always find it challenging as they often have limited resources. And they not only compete with each other but also take on big corporations. So a little hiccup has a significant impact on SMBs.
However, it is COVID-19 we are talking about. Nearly one-third (31%) of SMBs closed in April 2020 with the onset of the pandemic. And closure rate fell slightly in December 2020, becoming 25%.
One business leader said in the survey,
Almost zero business income, not able to get a job, not qualified for small business loans…I have no idea of what or how to move forward at almost 60 years old, without putting myself at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
In April, most businesses closed due to government and health reasons. But in December, there were multiple reasons like:
- Government restrictions (33%)
- Financial reasons (30%)
- Reductions in demand (26%)
Many of the businesses that were forced to close earlier in the year started to adapt to the situation and eventually opened their operations.
Here are the factors that allowed businesses to reopen:
The Pandemic Lowered Small Business Revenue
During the entire 2020, there were reduced consumer demands. What’s worse, social distancing measures affected in-person business operations. All of this hit small business revenue badly.
The report finds that 52% of SMBs had lower sales in the last 30 days compared to the last year.
Businesses having an online presence got a little relief because people wanted to support small businesses.
One consumer stated in the survey,
At this time, unless there is an online shop, I will find it difficult to support local because I don’t feel safe.
And people’s support resulted in sales as well. There was a 60% increase in the share of purchases made through a digital channel.
The increase in digital sales can be attributed to the shutdown of physical locations and changes in consumer behavior.
So there is no surprise that 34% of businesses have increased their use of online/digital tools since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
The report also states that more businesses started selling online for the first time amid the pandemic. Look at the proportion of sales made through digital channels before the pandemic and in the previous 30 days.
Strategies to Grow Your Business Online
With more and more consumers shifting to buy things online, you must amp up your online marketing efforts to attract customers.
Here are some proven marketing strategies to grow your business online:
- Make a functional website with a simple design
- Do SEO to get more traffic from search engines
- Leverage social media to connect with your audience and start social selling
- Start participating in online communities
- Run pay per click (PPC) ads
- Build an email list
Also, you should follow the best content marketing practices to help your audience make the right decisions.
About the Survey
Facebook collaborated with Small Business Roundtable to conduct the survey to understand the challenges COVID-19 presented. The survey included 11,203 online business leaders, 8,066 employees, 6,666 consumers across the United States. The findings of the survey help understand the impact of the pandemic throughout 2020. Click here to learn more about the survey.
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Source: Smart Hustle