Everyone’s affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we know that many small businesses are feeling particularly vulnerable right now. It’s an uncertain time with lots of unknowns, and while we don’t have all the answers, we want to share what we do know and offer some guidance for our customers and other small businesses that may be experiencing shifts in their business.
Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer that’s temporarily closed your doors or an online business that’s experiencing a spike you weren’t anticipating, we’re here to help you identify the best next step for your business.
Create a Website
If you have always postponed creating a website for your business, now is the time to create one more than ever. Given that we are now on quarantine and working from home, the number of online shoppers is bound to increase. Here are some useful links to get you started:
- How much does a website cost in Kenya?
- Differences between a Website Builder and Web Hosting.
- How to create a website from scratch using HostFiti Website Builder.
Get your Business on Google My Business
As COVID-19 shuts down businesses, we expect more people to turn to Google to ensure businesses are even open during these uncertain times. By creating a Google My Business account, you can proudly display your business hours, address, posts, photos, and even reviews across Google search and Google Maps. Learn how to add your business to Google my Business.
Be active on Social Media
Your customers expect that your business might change during the pandemic and they’re looking for updates to confirm whether and when you’re open. Some will turn to Google or your website, but many others will try to find your most recent posts on Facebook or Twitter. If they can’t find you on social, they’re less likely to trust you’re still open. Be sure to create a free business page on Facebook and give your customers a periodic update so that they know your business is still open.
Here’s an example of how a business was about to lose a customer because it hadn’t updated its Twitter and Facebook account for sometime.
Working from home can be hectic at times due to the many distractions. Communicating effectively and efficiently is going to be key to maintaining your customer relationships.
Notify your customers how your services will change and how they will be affected as soon as possible. Google recommends updating your business hours and description in your Google My Business profile. Aside from letting people know when they can stop by your business, you can also update your description to give more information regarding any additional precautions you are taking or if there are changes in services. These changes will update your business information on Google Search and Maps.
Also update your ad copy and extensions to reflect any changes. This is especially important if you have any callout extensions stating your business hours.
Adjust your strategy
If you are running ad campaigns for your brick and mortar business, you may consider reducing their budget or stopping them altogether and then to focus ad spend on branded terms due to the higher quality traffic they naturally receive. For those SMBs that have tight annual budgets, the reallocation of ad spend toward more effective marketing periods could be essential to their success.
Stay Connected – Network Online
If you find yourself in need of inspiration and encouragement, don’t hesitate to reach out (virtually) to your community of fellow entrepreneurs. We’re all in this together, so try to set aside some time to share a few stories, trade information about what’s working well, and build a stronger sense of camaraderie with your peers.
It’s also important to stay connected to your customers and supporters, too. Here are a few ways you can do it.
- Keep folks updated. No matter what type of business you’ve got—whether you run a hair salon, a clothing store, or a stall at the local farmer’s market—there are plenty of people out there who want to hear from you. Consider adding a signup form to your site and sending regular email updates to keep the conversation going with your customers, fans, and friends. Not only does it help you keep folks in the loop about any changes to your hours or product availability, but it’s also a great way to let them know how they can support you during this difficult time.
- Strengthen bonds with your community. Right now, a lot of people are adjusting to new daily routines. For some, that might mean working from home, for others, that might also mean taking care of (or homeschooling) their children. If you’re able to provide any resources or services—even if it’s just a free, downloadable coloring book to help keep kids entertained—consider creating a landing page to help you easily share it with those in your community.
There are a variety of ways businesses can respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic, but our suggestion is to be pragmatic and resourceful. For your business, this means being cognizant and considerate of the real impact on your customers. Consider your relevance to the situation; don’t try to force-fit your brand into places where it doesn’t belong. Reach out to your audience (by creating a survey, for example) to find out what they need—and what you can do to help.
If people can’t come to your business in-person, think about creative ways you can bring your business to them. For example, if you’re a restaurant or coffee shop owner who’s not able to serve customers right now, maybe you can create a series of online classes to teach people how to prepare some of their favorite dishes or drinks at home. Or, if you operate a gym or yoga studio, perhaps you can offer live streamed sessions that members can attend online.
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