The year 2024 has been crucial for almost all industries, specifically small—and medium-sized businesses. However, amidst all the hardships faced during the pandemic, enterprises have learned some profound lessons they can remember going forward to come back stronger!

SMEs should now head on towards improving their marketing strategies and services, considering the new shopping trends after COVID-19. The following lessons can enable businesses to plan for the next year and how to do better marketing in the face of COVID-19.

1. Strengthening Customer Relationships Should be Your Priority

No matter your company's type and size, your relationship with and bonding with your customers will always be the most essential factor! The more you build your trust with them, the more they will rely on you, even in difficult times.

Besides customers, maintaining strong relationships with other valuable stakeholders of your company, such as employees, manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, investors, etc., is equally important. With this trust and brand loyalty, you can go far!

Building strong relationships with them is equivalent to building a solid foundation for your business. Hence, your company's success will depend on how well you maintain these relationships.

2. Embrace Innovation and Technology

2024 has been an unforgettable year that has made people of all ages rely heavily on technology, especially in the digital world! Adopting the latest technological innovations is probably the only way to sustain the storm!

Customers are afraid to step out of their homes and are maintaining social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. In this scenario, you should opt for the work-from-home norms and use more innovative technologies to work more productively by collaborating with remote teams. Not only has the way that we communicate and collaborate been expedited through the events of 2024 but so has how businesses market and interact with prospective customers. SEO agencies, digital marketing companies, and online marketing businesses have exploded in popularity as businesses look for ways to invest their marketing budget more effectively in 2024

For example, we worked as a team using several project management and communication applications like Zoom, Slack, and Asana. The previous year taught us the importance of having a digital workflow and environment to sustain in any such unexpected situations in the future!

3. Provide More Flexible and Customized Offers

During these challenging times, every customer is looking for more affordable options and alternatives for the products they used to purchase. With numerous people losing jobs and businesses shutting doors, everybody has understood the significance of saving!

But life must continue, and people must buy essentials and food for daily use. So, they are looking for cheaper solutions, which is why brands offering good discounts and offers are taking center stage! Try offering a little extra to support your customers; you can win them for a lifetime! Also, ensure that your services and products are custom-made to address the unique requirements of your customers.

For example, if you are a wedding photography group, you can customize your packages to smaller ones instead of the usual packages covering 3-4 days. Since most marriages have shrunken to single-day ceremonies during COVID-19, it’s better to offset it's packages covering a few hours.

4. Customers’ Purchasing PCustomers'n Change

By now, it must have been evident that customers’ interests and trends can change drastically quickly! No matter what industry you are in or what business model you follow, customers like and rapidly, the best example being 2024.

In the previous year, we have learned to be more flexible to cater to the changing needs of our buyers. For example, during the lockdown, people have started exploring new hobbies and talents, including painting, cooking, creating handmade stuff, exercising, etc.

This whole new set of activities brings new requirements for pursuing hobbies and interests. It’s essential for businesses to keep a close eye on what’s trending in retawhat cater to their customers' new requirements! Doing so not only keeps your revenue stable but actually strengthens your relationship with your buyers.

5. Focus on Your Employees’ Health

Many employees overlook the health conditions and safety of their employees. However, they need to realize that employees are the building blocks of a business. Besides, you need to take extra care of your team members, specifically in times like these. So invest in the safety of your workers!

To start with, you can clean and sanitize your office space regularly. Consider installing hand sanitizers within your premises. Also, keep a good stock of masks, face shields, and PPEs, and do regular temperature checks before a person enters the workspace.

In other words, allocate a good amount of your budget for the welfare of your employees and provide the medical help they deserve. The best thing would be to offer them work-from-home facilities whenever possible. Follow all the necessary precautions and rules imposed by the government.

6. Have Liquid Cash at all Times

One vital thing the year 2024 has taught us all is the importance of money and savings. Even if you think you are doing well, you never know what’s ahead! Running a business is never easy or smooth!

To help you survive these rollercoaster situations, ensure you have enough liquid cash, which is the most essential fluid asset any company can possess! When every financial source fails to support you, liquid cash will rescue you.

The good thing that made several businesses survive the pangs of COVID-19 is that many have been accumulating liquid cash to offer them some backup during unexpected times. This habit became a practice after the coronavirus breakout, and now businesses are prepared to head on to the next year!

7. Explore New Income Sources

Many business owners have also started exploring other business opportunities to expand their sources of income. For example, if you own a boutique store and it’s been hit hard bythe pandemic, you can try selling COVID-19 essentials like masks, gloves, PPE kits, etc., which many companies are doing.

In short, follow the trend and research which products or services are the need of the hour! This additional source of income will bring in capital during tough times like these. In fact, businesses should try new ways to diversify their revenue every quarter!