Nearly everyone is feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers have been forced to close up storefronts, jobs are on hold, and the global economy is suffering.
But for business leaders, staying calm is part of the job description. Amidst the uncertainty, we must focus on the things that we can control.
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In this article, we explore the ways you can strengthen your business right now. Being proactive now will help you recover and prosper after coronavirus concerns fade.
With most people shifting their lives online, it’s no surprise that many of these actions involve enhancing your online presence. Let’s review 9 ways you can manage the impact of COVID-19 now for a faster recovery.
Don’t stop prospecting
Right now, many businesses are afraid to continue prospecting. They worry that their lead-gen efforts will come off as insensitive or inappropriate.
However, businesses need to keep moving to survive. Without a clear picture of when things will return to normal, it’s unreasonable to expect companies to come to a complete halt.
The reality is, the only protection you have from losing work is having other opportunities in the pipeline. So don’t stop prospecting, but adjust your tone appropriately.
Rather than focusing on a hard-sell, focus on how your product or service can help people right now. Acknowledge the current situation, be respectful, but don’t let it slow you down more than it has to.
Update your Google My Business Page
We’re all doing our part to stay home and stop the spread of the virus. When we do leave the house, we don’t want to go too far.
That means that local SEO is more important than ever. You’ll want to make sure people can find you when they search for nearby services and supplies.
Your Google My Business page is usually one of the first results to come up in search. It helps potential customers find you on Google Maps and makes it easy for them to call you.
For that reason, it’s important to make sure your contact details are up to date. If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business page, now is a good time to do so.
Claiming and verifying a Google My Business page is done through a traditional mail service. It can take 2-3 weeks to receive the verification code through the mail, so it’s a good idea to start that process now if you haven’t already.
Also, make sure your name, address, phone number, and website are consistent everywhere they’re listed online. That consistency is known to help with SEO.
Ask customers for reviews
Another way to be proactive is to ask previous customers for reviews. Right now, many customers are seeking ways to support the businesses they know and love.
Ask your customers for reviews on the social platforms that matter most to your business. Sending them a direct link to leave a review takes a few steps out of the equation, and will increase your chances of getting one.
Understand that consumer behavior is not likely to return to pre-outbreak norms. Recovery will take time, and people will be more careful with their spending habits.
As such, strong reviews are a good way to instill confidence when consumer spending picks back up. Don’t forget to invite customers to like your pages on social media, too.
Reconsider push strategies
Depending on your target audience and industry, you may want to consider adjusting your paid ad campaigns. Now more than ever, you’ll need any investments you make to yield a return.
If search trends have gone down and your product or service isn’t top of mind anymore, you’ll need to pivot accordingly. For example, Wordstream has reportedly seen conversion rates drop by an average of 21% since the epidemic started.
In short, check your campaigns for drops in clicks and impressions. This is usually a signal that something is happening that will lead to a decrease in conversions.
If you do decide to continue running a paid campaign, remember that tone matters. You may want to soften copy and imagery to better reflect the current situation.
Publish new content
Creating relevant content is critical to improving an online presence. But, for many small businesses, it’s something that gets put on the back-burner.
Content is a smart investment to make with your time or money in times of uncertainty. It costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times more leads.
SEO and content marketing is a competitive space. If you’re not actively moving ahead, you’re falling behind. Putting SEO efforts on hold will make it more difficult to bounce back later.
Focus on search-optimized content that will stay fresh for readers over a long period of time. Creating informative, valuable, content will help increase your rank in search results and position you as an expert in your space.
Some ideas include creating “how-to” guides, case studies, white papers, or interviewing employees. Prioritize the types of content that your customers would value most.
Tie up your accounting loose ends
Yes, we know the deadline for filing taxes has been extended. Still, now is a good time to do some administrative housekeeping.
Round up those receipts, tackle that expense report, and invoice your customers online. Doing this now will set you up for success later.
If you’re expecting a tax refund, filing now will also help you get that money faster. Nine in 10 taxpayers who file online and are owed a refund typically get theirs within 21 days of submitting their return.
Remember, not properly planning for taxes is one of the 6 worst financial mistakes freelancers can make. So, use some of that social distancing time to get a head start.
Improve your website
At the moment, traditional retailers can’t rely on foot traffic to fill their storefronts. According to Criteo, in-store sales were down 46% last week, compared to January. At the same time, online sales have grown by 58%.
The need for a strong online presence is more apparent than ever. If you don’t have a website, consider using a free website builder or investing in a professional website.
Even if you don’t have the time or money to build or improve your site, you can still take steps in the right direction. For example, start drafting content for your site, map out the pages, and get inspiration from other websites online.
Promote offers for future services
Many businesses are struggling with sales. They were either forced to shut down, or their product is just not a priority for customers.
One way to encourage spending now is to offer promotions on future services. Add extra value to offering to entice customers to act quickly.
Remember to add value in a way that doesn’t increase your hard costs. You want to be careful about adding expenses and driving up your costs.
For example, if you’re a hairdresser, offer a free blowout with a haircut instead of a free conditioning treatment. A blowout takes time, a conditioning treatment costs money.
Prepare for the bounce-back surge
Chances are when the dust settles, many businesses will experience a bounce-back surge. Planning well now will help you manage that demand smoothly.
For example, now is a good time to write down and document internal processes. Creating internal documents like brand guidelines, invoice templates, and business proposals is key.
You might also need to hire more people later, in which case you may need employee guidelines ready. Anything you can do to improve your workflow will help you be a well-oiled machine, ready to make a big comeback.
Wrapping it up
No one can predict exactly what will happen next, and perhaps it’s best not to try. Again, let’s focus on what we can do amidst the uncertainty.
Also, remember to concentrate on how you can help people, instead of what you can sell. Crisis or no crisis, taking a helpful approach is a good way to build trust and loyalty.