Guest Post by Vincent Sevilla
Few anticipated this global pandemic to affect our modern world at such scale. No fewer than 212 countries have been affected. Now, thousands of people are stuck at home, fearing the virus, with almost all schools closed, and countless businesses halting their operations.
COVID-19 has affected businesses in many ways. As entire cities and countries impose strict rules on quarantine and social distancing, many companies had to close down temporarily, while some operate with limited capacity and staff. Shipping and deliveries are paused or delayed and goods are stranded in warehouses or ports, resulting in order cancellations and loss of customer confidence. Travel, hospitality, and food service industries are also impacted in an unprecedented way.
Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits as most small businesses are left with no choice but to lay off some of their employees or even shut down. Not all businesses have enough cash reserves to withstand this crisis, after all.
As a business owner, it’s understandable that you are worried. However, you should also know that it’s not a hopeless situation. There are a number of things that you can do to not only keep your business afloat during this pandemic, but to make it thrive even.
You may not be able to control what’s going on around the world but there are things that you have control over, like your physical and mental health. By taking care of yourself and working on having a clearer mind, you’ll be able to come up with creative solutions for what your business is going through right now.
There is a substantial decrease in the cost per click as there aren’t many small businesses placing ads. Because ad networks earn by using an auction system and there isn’t much competition right now, ads are cheaper. As a result, return on investment of paid ads increases during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you haven’t had any paid ads yet, now is the time to give it some thought.
Entrepreneurs are often sp busy taking care of what’s currently going on in their small businesses that they hardly find time to check their metrics. Even if checking your metrics is part of your daily routine, you might not have been able to take a really good look at the whole picture. But now that things have slowed down, you have the opportunity to make monthly comparisons to see what the trends are and how you can improve conversion rates, click-through rates, customer retention rates, and ultimately, your sales revenue.
Before the pandemic changed the way you needed to run your business, you were probably used to addressing tasks at work as they come. While this may work for you, you might also want to reassess the way you do things and approach tasks in a more organized way.
You can make a task list based on level of importance and come up with detailed plans that include time frames for each task that you aim to accomplish while working from home. Don’t forget to keep track of your progress so you’ll always know where you are.
Depending on your industry, you might want to consider offering some educational training courses. You can approach this in two ways. You can sell your own courses at a discounted price to people who are looking for ways to improve specific skills or to prepare for a new job. With workers losing jobs everywhere, people are seeking new opportunities. You can help them with that.
You might also want to provide your employees with relevant educational-based training so their work performance could be improved. This could help improve their chances at getting promoted in the future.
You want to get more sales but at the same time you want to help your customers who are also affected by this pandemic. By offering your products at discounted prices, or perks like free shipping, free access to otherwise premium services, not only will you be making sure that your customers will continue to support your business but that you are also showing them that you care about them.
Professionals who offer SEO services for small businesses can really help your brand become more visible online. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn what you need to know about SEO. It wouldn’t hurt to familiarize yourself on SEO strategies, know where most of your traffic comes from, what platforms perform well for you, and what you can do to make sure you are ahead in the game.
Given the situation right now, you can expect that more people are spending hours of their time on social media. Therefore, that’s where you should be, too! Reach as many potential customers as you can via the most popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but don’t miss out on what platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube can bring. Stay tuned to what your target market is paying attention to right now and what their needs are. Then aim to meet those needs.
Don’t just focus on posting more frequently but also on posting what’s relevant to your audience. Stay true to your brand and take the opportunity to show everyone what your company is really about. While making purchases might not be at the top of their priority list right now, by being visible and by reaching out to your audience, you can be sure that you will be on their mind when they do decide to make a purchase.
You might not be used to working from home and having your team working remotely, too. It could be challenging to adapt to this new work environment but thankfully you are living in a time when there is an abundance of helpful tools that you can use to make sure you and your staff stay productive. Some of these tools include Slack, Trello, Timeclick, Evernote, and Google Drive, among others. Look at your current process and identify areas that can be improved by using these tools.
Of course, you also need to condition yourself and have a positive mindset. Be disciplined. If you need to work certain hours, focus on just work during that period and don’t be distracted. Commit to your goals and don’t forget to reward yourself when you finish your tasks.
Artisanal marketing means adding that personal touch to your marketing approach. You might wonder how you can do that with digital marketing, right? For one, stop using stock photos for your blogs. Find that voice that really represents your brand and use it consistently. Don’t rely on bots when it comes to communicating with your customers and make sure contact is made personal. By doing these things, your customers will see how invested you are in your brand and how much you value your customers, too.
Many businesses still take content marketing lightly — just writing and posting articles on topics that they deem interesting or what they believe their audience would like. But should that be the extent of your content marketing? Your answer should be “no.”
You should have a solid content marketing campaign plan in place. Have specific goals for the next three to six months. Know your audience and what keywords they search for so you’ll know what information you need to provide them. Design your content wisely as design elements play a big role in a content’s readability and shareability. Lastly, implement a strict schedule for your content creation and stick to it. When you strengthen your content marketing, you’ll be able to establish yourself as an authority in your industry, reach more people, and get more leads.
Your landing pages play a big role in turning web traffic into leads and even loyal customers. So if you haven’t been paying attention to your website’s landing pages, it’s time to breathe new life into them. How do you do that?
Check if your landing pages are still enticing and relevant. Chances are, the content and design need an update. Make sure that your landing page’s voice and mood is consistent with the ad that redirected them to that page, the entire website, and the brand itself. Don’t try to add too much to your landing page or try to incorporate multiple conversion points that will appear too pushy or confusing to your audience.
The world is experiencing not only a health crisis but an economic one as well. While it’s true that the need for social distancing can affect your business greatly, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Take this opportunity to clear your mind, take creative steps, and make use of all the resources available to you, and build up your online marketing strategy to ensure that you and your business will get through this pandemic even stronger than before.
Vincent Sevilla is a professional web designer and inbound strategist for HostingFacts. His goal? To innovate ideas, create good art, and to travel to all the best places in the Philippines. You can follow him on Twitter.
August 17th, 2022
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