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August 28, 2020

Recommendations to Help Small Businesses Succeed in 2020

Header: Mailchimp Small Business Insights From Tech Partners

By Paige Jones

Small businesses get the benefit and the challenge of size. 

Small and Mid-Size Businesses (SMBs), solopreneurs, and consultants are impacted by the global pandemic in a big way. And, because of their creativity and ability to react nimbly, we’ve seen some amazing things happen. 

Mailchimp’s Business Building Week 2020 showcased top minds from across the globe, hosting live virtual sessions in multiple languages—all to talk about how small business owners are innovating to make the most of Q4 and the holiday season. 

Calendly’s Head of Customer Success, Katie Christian, sat on Mailchimp’s Tech Partners panel alongside representatives from Square, LinkedIn, Xero, and Markitors to share the transformation we’ve seen in our small business communities.

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What We’re Seeing in the Calendly Small Business Community

Connecting More with Customers 

In this social distancing world, SMBs have become more intentional about their customer experience. With challenges like decreased foot traffic for retailers or the inability for consultants to meet over coffee, small businesses are turning to Calendly to make it easier to connect with their people. 

  • Open up your booking windows. Update your availability to be more flexible to fit your customers’ new schedules and situations (like working from home while kids are in virtual school!). 

  • Proactively reach out. People have so much newness in their lives, they may forget to schedule their quarterly check-in with your Customer Success team. Use email campaigns with Calendly links to make it easy to schedule time. 

Adapting to New Safety Norms

Calendly’s small business community is getting creative about using Calendly’ to adjust to new societal cautions of the pandemic. 

  • Keep things socially distant or virtual. Evolve your support engines to fit your customers’ new needs, like scheduling one-at-a-time haircuts, curbside pick ups, or hosting virtual group workshops.

  • Schedule buffer times with Calendly to scrub up. Those in the health and wellness sector, beauty, childcare, or similar—use Calendly’s buffers to sanitize between appointments. 

Continuing to Start with Human 

Small business owners also reflect Calendly’s core value to Start With Human. One of our favorite stories from the pandemic (and there are many) has been hearing about senior living providers using Calendly to connect residents with their families. 

  • Go the extra mile to connect people. Senior care staffs are using the Calendly + Zoom integration for virtual visits and mask-on in-person visits with time to sanitize in between. 

Recommendations to Help Small Businesses Succeed

We watched it happen: all Calendly meetings set by entrepreneurs and solo users went from 90% in person in January, to 40% in April. The number of Calendly meetings set using Zoom, Google Meet, or GoToMeeting have only gone up from there. 

As we enter the end of the year (and what a year it has been!), small businesses face the volume of Q4 and the holiday season. Whether you’re an ecommerce store getting ready to fulfill and ship hundred of orders, or a SMB trimming up your expenses to make room for your 2021 budget—here are our recommendations for you. 

1. Zero in on who you serve. 

If you haven’t already developed customer profiles, now is the time! Interview a handful of customers to help you put yourself in their shoes. What has changed in their business? What do they need? What are they afraid will happen, and how can you help? 

2. Meet your customers where they are.

Show up in their inbox, wave to them from their social feeds, and open up all lines of communication—that means having an all-encompassing, cohesive response plan in place! Make it easy for your customers to ask questions and reduce the friction between them and your product or service however you can. 

3. Trim up your tech stack by optimizing, not canceling. 

We all tend to go after shiny new tools and stop using old ones when budgeting for the new year. But the best way to save money is to make sure you’re optimizing the tech stack you already have. Schedule meetings with your software Customer Success Managers to learn about new features and how you can integrate, automate, and customize as much as possible. 

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4. Be prepared for volume by testing now! 

Whether it’s your first holiday season or not, this year will see more and earlier online activity than ever. Make sure all your forms, work flows, payment apps, CRM automations, and email triggers work seamlessly before starting your holiday campaigns. Round up your team, your network, or bribe your friends with a chat-snack-and-test virtual meeting to make sure your experience is on point. 

Small businesses are planning their Q4 campaigns now! If you’re a SMB leader, check out Mailchimp's directory of marketing pros for help. If you’re a consultant, start setting planning meetings with your clients and come prepared with a recommended plan.

5. Connect Calendly to Mailchimp. 

Mailchimp is built to help small businesses grow. Calendly is the simplest way to set a meeting. The perfect match. 

By using Calendly and Mailchimp together, small businesses can build audiences and update their CRM from the moment a meeting is set. 

Send over Calendly invitee information to Mailchimp and tag contacts based on the Event Type they booked. Then, trigger personalized email campaigns with a Mailchimp automation. 

Tailor your messaging to your customers’ needs to boost conversions and customer satisfaction. Try building a Q4 customer list now, and then reach back out to them in March of next year with some best practices that are specifically put together for them. Now that’s a differentiator!  

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Paige Jones

Paige Jones

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