As a small business owner, you don’t always have the bandwidth to address some of the other jobs and tasks on your to-do list. Until now. If you are one of over 90 percent of the U.S. small businesses being affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) economy with sudden and unexpected downtime on your hands, this is your opportunity to weather the storm of the present and start planning for the future.
While these have been unsettling times for virtually everyone, here are some ways to stay positive and proactive and immediately tackle some jobs and tasks to benefit your business.
Reevaluate and Enhance Your Brand
Your brand is a direct reflection of the experiences your customers and potential clients have with your small business. Building trust and credibility with your audience starts with open and honest communications with your customers from your website and social media. You then build on that trust through the way your employees handle the purchase process and provide customer service. But how can you reevaluate your brand strategy and make necessary tweaks and updates?
Start by defining what your current brand represents. What do clients think about your company? Why do they keep coming back to you as the solution to their challenges? Use the answers to improve your customer experience. Continue by staying up to date with what’s going on with your competition and the marketplace. Obviously, we’re all exploring new terrain due to coronavirus and you will probably need to adapt your approaches based on this challenge.
However, don’t lose sight of how you’ve defined your brand from the beginning. Although your messages and tactics sometimes need to be updated based on the changing needs of your customers, the heart of your business – your beliefs and values – should remain the same. Staying as consistent as possible with your brand presentation will help you build an image of stability and reliability. Customers will know that you are there for them even in times of crisis.
Create a Content Calendar
Over 70 percent of consumers prefer content over traditional advertising. While content can be a highly effective way to connect with customers, without a focused plan, you will just be winging it. A content calendar is crucial to deploying an organized content strategy that is timely, relevant, and engaging. If done right, it can be an effective tool for developing blog posts and social media. While over 80 percent of businesses utilize content marketing, only 30 percent have a written plan. If you do not have a content calendar, now is a good time to implement one.
Start by thinking about your customers. Define their challenges and how your brand is the solution to their needs. Develop topics for blogs, podcasts, email campaigns and social media posts that will appeal to their pain points and provoke them to take action and make a purchase. Organize these topics and strategies into an online content management system like Percolate or Airtable. List your content by title, medium and post date.
If you have the staff, you’ll want to assign an owner, prioritize topics, and organize each project by where it will post. You’ll also want to assign a writer, editor, publisher and scheduler. Integrating those basics will help you stay focused, organized and on track. By developing a functional calendar, you can turn your great ideas and strategies into actionable items to advance your business goals.
Examine Your Marketing Tactics
The consumer landscape has changed dramatically over the past few months. As a result, you may need to rethink how you engage with your audience. This is a good time to take a deeper dive into your marketing strategy, which can benefit your business today and once the economy begins to recover from the pandemic.
Take a closer look at your marketing metrics and identify areas of improvement to investigate new marketing channels that could result in stronger sales. If you don’t have a website, Web.com can help with drag and drop web templates that you can use to get your business online in 60 minutes or less. Keep your customers updated about your products, services and business with targeted email campaigns. Make it easy for customers to find you in online search rankings and attract more visitors to your website with search engine optimization (SEO) content.
By adapting your tactics to match the current situation of your customers and prospects, you will reach them more effectively, build greater brand engagement and increase revenue.
Strengthen Your Social Media
Use any downtime to examine your social media presence. It's the perfect time to do some dust-busting to give your company a clean start when business picks up and new opportunities develop.
You should also take care of a little housekeeping on all of your social channels. Update your profiles and contact information on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to make sure it accurately reflects your business hours and product and service availability during coronavirus. If you have a LinkedIn business page, the about category has several fields for identifying information about your business – be sure to update these too.
Use your social posts to keep customers informed and encourage more sales. If you are a restaurant, for instance, create posts that let your customers know they can still place orders through your drive-through or curbside service and if you have any plans for reopening your dining room in the near future. Especially during times like these, your customers will be watching you for the latest updates and details and social media is a great way to reach them.
With more people staying and working from home and many store locations closed, online sales have become a virtual lifeline for many small businesses. In fact, eCommerce has seen a 40 percent increase since mid-March.
Even small refreshes can make a big difference, such as modifying landing and product pages and optimizing the checkout process. It is especially important now to make online purchases as easy as possible for customers. Nearly 70 percent of all eCommerce visitors abandon their orders if the checkout process is inefficient, too complex or lengthy. Verify that your checkout works on all devices while ensuring it is compatible with Android, Apple and Windows operating systems. Make sure your eCommerce site is up to speed with the needs of your customers.
Use this pause as a time to refresh. Customers want an efficient experience when visiting your eCommerce site. Web.com can help you build or enhance your eCommerce web page to help your business generate more online sales now and in the future.
While these are tough times, there is a silver lining. All this unexpected downtime is a great opportunity to address the tasks you cannot fully focus on during busier times. By getting more organized in these areas now, you will be primed for better times ahead.