CORONAVIRUS: 10 WAYS TO HELP YOUR SMALL BUSINESS DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
When you got ready to start your business, you always knew there would be easy times and there would be hard times… But you never expected a global pandemic or that you might have to learn Coronavirus Small Business Marketing Tips.
Luckily, you’re not the type to give up.
Although the Corona virus, or COVID-19, is going to make things tough for a lot of businesses over the next few months, those like you who endure and innovate will come through it stronger and more successful than ever.
Yes, you’re going to be one of them.
Here are 10 ways that you can keep your business alive, support your clients, and even strengthen your community during the Coronavirus outbreak using innovative strategies.
1. Take Your Business Online
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that your city has been told to work remotely and keep face-to-face interaction to a minimum. Even if that’s not the case, most people are preferring to stay close to home these days, so the best way to provide your services is to improvise and do it online.
This is going to be easier for some businesses than others.
If you’re a business consultant, a bookkeeper, or a life coach, for example, you can move your sessions online. You might already use Skype or Zoom to run virtual meetings and consultations. If not, it’s time to learn how to use them. Google also just announced that they’re offering free access to their advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing platform until July 1, 2020, so take them up on the offer.
If you’re running a nail salon or you’re a personal trainer, for example, things could be a little more challenging, but you can get creative. People are actively on their device more than ever and are actively searching for education, entertainment, and community. Try offering webinars and tutorials through webinar platforms, YouTube, or Facebook Live. They could be live, or recorded for on-demand access. Use this opportunity as a way for your business to provide value in your expertise and most importantly, GATHER EMAILS!
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By offering your audience an at-home sugar kit or a brow tinting kit that you have developed all on your own, you now open up a completely new window to generate revenue for your business. Remember when I mentioned are actively spending more time on their device than ever before? Yes. Well, this applies to ONLINE SHOPPING as well.
2. Introduce A New At-Home Alternative
Chances are, if you’re a small local shop or salon, you’ve probably got some sort of physical product your business can sell or offer to customers. Let’s say you’re @barebodysugaring and you usually have thousands of people come in every week to have their hair ripped out of their body by your (not evil) staff. Or maybe you’re @browsbyg and you remind people of just how much something as simple as eyebrow hair can shape the entire dynamics of your face.
Look within your capabilities and resources into potentially opening up a new source of revenue for your business by refocusing your efforts towards eCommerce. Your audience has NOT forgot about how you made them feel. In fact, they’re probably craving that feeling and experience you gave them right now.
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3. Keep In Touch With Clients And Customers
Coronavirus has impacted your Small Business and now communication is everything. If you keep in touch with your clients and remain a part of their lives, the chances of them coming back to you when the pandemic is over is high. The last thing you want is for your competitor to be reading this, taking action on all of these, while you spend your time sippin’ margaritas (although that does sound nice) and you lose market share to someone else taking action. You can even grow their loyalty if you stay in touch and provide valuable support and information during this difficult time. Remember, those tutorials and webinars are going to work wonders right now.
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Keep your communication channels open by sending emails with updates about your business, suggestions for ways to cope during self-isolation, and inspirational messaging that raises people’s spirits.
It’s important to be open and clear about what changes you’re making in your business. If you’re replacing face-to-face sessions with virtual ones via Zoom, let your clients know as soon as possible. If you have to reduce some of your services, cancel sessions, or make alternative arrangements, the sooner you tell your clients, the better.
Your clients will also appreciate hearing about the steps you’re taking to keep up a high level of hygiene and prevent the spread of the virus. Let them know that you’re promoting a strict regime of hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, so that they feel reassured about using your business.
4. Improve On-Site Hygeine
Chances are, you aren’t quite running face-to-face sessions, like hair styling, massages, or in-person therapy. But you may possibly still be doing curbside pickup or maintaining a somewhat human interaction in your day to day duties. Ensure that you are providing the necessary hygiene items. Make sure that your clients can access a sink with soap to wash their hands, provide plenty of hand sanitizer, and wear a mask to make your clients feel safe about sharing a room with you.
Again, ADVERTISE the additional precautionary measures that you are taking in your day to day activities!
5. It’s Time To Take A Look At Business Development
If Coronavirus has made your small business slow, take the opportunity to work on business development. If you can’t spend time seeing clients, use it to think up improvements to your business, add service lines, and find ways that you can be more efficient.
A quiet period is a time to improve your marketing strategy, revamp and relaunch your website, and fine-tune your social media channels. Think of it as an opportunity to work through your business to-do list of all those things you’ve always intended to do, but never had the time. Look to your team for new ideas or ways to optimize your business that you may not have thought of yet. Sometimes the best ideas come from those who are face to face with customers each day and not always from the top down. And a leader is only as good as their team!
6. Reach Out To Your Community
Part of succeeding as a local business means becoming a vital part of your local community, so that people don’t just think of you as a faceless company, but as a caring neighbour. That’s even more true during times of crisis.
Look for ways to support local residents, like checking up on your elderly clients and asking if they need help getting in groceries or taking out the trash. If you have clients in self-isolation, reach out to ask how they’re doing and see if they need you to drop off some vital supplies.
If you run a childcare business or tutoring company and you had to cancel activities, or you’re in a county where school was canceled, try recording videos to keep children entertained at home, or offer cut-price childcare in small groups or individually to help out working parents.
7. Reconsider Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Now might be the perfect time to rethink your Social Media Marketing strategy. You’ve been so busy all year preparing for tax season, auditing staff, managing payroll, looking for ways to scale, that you haven’t had a chance to even think about what you’re going to post next Tuesday. We’re not judging you for posting a cute cat licking a pizza (I mean…) but there are definitely better ways you could be using social media to attract new customers.
Research your top-performing competitors in other provinces or states. If they’re a large account with 5,000-20,000 followers, chances are, they’re working with a social media team to develop some kick-ass content. Or at least, they’re trying to. Nonetheless, study what type of content they’re sharing and how their audience is engaging. Does their audience love flipbooks, videos, photos, or maybe… Just maybe… They love photos of pizza-eating allergy magnets (you guessed it–cats).
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You may notice this super cool and edgy social media marketing agency @onlynu.ca recently reconstructed their entire Instagram Strategy from a lot of stock photos to 100% original content, showcasing their past work, their own lead generating ads, as well as educational flip books to help other entrepreneurs and small businesses navigate through using social media to increase their sales. Give them a follow, we’re sure you’ll find a lot of incredible content in there.
8. Prepare Your Business For The Bounce-Back Surge
The coronavirus outbreak should fade for your small business (just as it has in China) after a few months. That’s when normalcy returns and consumers’ spending habits stabilize. You have to remember that marketing is more of a long-term strategy. What you do today for your marketing campaign will affect your organic traffic months from now. Pausing your marketing campaign now could have a detrimental impact on your revenue potential a few months from now when the coronavirus starts to become a distant memory.
9. Improve Your Local SEO & Review Listings
We’ve all reduced our travel and are staying close to home. In the rare times when we do leave our house, we’re looking for nearby destinations for services and supplies. So you want to make sure your business is using local SEO strategies to optimize your website for “near me” searches. You want customers in your geo region to be able to easily find you online so they turn to you first. At a time when we’re all looking for more convenience, this gives your business a chance to provide assistance during a critical time for families.
Another way to boost your local SEO during this time is to not forget about the importance of adding positive reviews. During the coronavirus, online reputation management is as important as ever because this is a great time to really connect with your target audience during a chaotic time. To provide the right service or product for people during a stressful time like this — when they need it most during this COVID-19 pandemic — is likely to be rewarded with a glowing review.
Even though Google My Business (GMB) has temporarily suspended publishing online reviews, you should still push to get reviews submitted so they publish when GMB returns to normal. One way to boost your brand during a crisis is by turning to a professional marketing company to help you with your review responses.
10. If Forced Into Lockdown, Plan For The Future
If you are in lockdown, you probably have more time on your hands than you are used to. Just because you may feel stuck at home, doesn’t mean that you can’t plan for things once the Coronavirus crisis Small Businesses face comes to an end.
Many business owners complain that they are always busy and haven’t got the time to do such things as analyze their website performance and check on their SEO. Well, if you are in lockdown, you have plenty of time now.
Now is an ideal time to plan your future marketing and how you will get yourself back up and operational gain. Depending on your situation, you may have to plan your marketing rebirth on a shoestring budget, but digital marketing doesn’t have to be overly expensive. This is one of the reasons that you still need to keep your website up-to-date and keep on updating your social pages. If they still exist, you won’t have to spend time rebuilding them from scratch when the world comes back to life again.
As well as spending the time to check the current performance of your website and existing marketing, making appropriate changes as needed, you could also begin to plan out your recovery content. Sketch out your future campaigns, create content, write scripts for videos, and anything else that you can do by yourself without being in your full work setting.