There’s no doubt that local businesses have been greatly affected by the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. From restaurants and cafes to salons and retail, recent government restrictions have forced a range of small businesses to close their doors. Others are taking a different approach altogether, as they find new ways to keep customers and stay in business. So it’s no surprise that during this time, many businesses are shifting online to promote their services and products.
With no clear end in sight to this pandemic, resuming business as usual is bound to be difficult. But with the help of the following online tools, you can adapt to the current situation, or even use it as an opportunity to change up your methods, and potentially gain customers.
Set up a website
With store fronts closing, it’s more important than ever to focus on your business website. Even if customers cannot physically walk through the doors, a well thought out website can attract plenty of online traffic, and is useful for showcasing the products and services you provide. Regular website updates are also crucial for letting existing customers know that you’re still operating, and open for business.
In addition, you may even choose to include an eCommerce store (Shopify) on your website to make online sales. A number of service-based businesses are now choosing to promote vouchers, intended for future use. Many restaurants are also taking orders online, with the option of delivery or pick up. In this case, having your own website is a much better option than using delivery apps such as Uber Eats, which typically take a 30-35% cut of every order.
Up your social media game
In these uncertain times, it’s never been more important to maintain an active social media presence. This allows you to maintain communication with your customers, and remind them that your brand exists. It also makes it easy to answer enquiries directly, and keep customers updated on any developments related to your business.
During lockdown, there will also be a significant increase in social media usage by consumers. You can use this as an opportunity to be discovered by new customers, by providing engaging content that will draw users to your business page. Fortunately, after these restrictions are lifted it’ll still be beneficial to maintain a strong social media presence. Don’t forget to keep updating your social media platforms, and continue to reach a diverse range of customers.
Get creative with video content
As COVID-19 continues to dominate our newsfeeds, consumers are actively seeking entertaining content to distract them from the current situation. So don’t be afraid to branch out, and experiment with video content on your social media platforms! By using features such as Facebook Live and Instagram stories, you can create innovative content that will capture the attention of viewers. If you’re a restaurant owner, you could show sneak peaks of your cooking process, or post delicious-looking food videos that will leave customers drooling. As long as you’re not afraid to get creative, your content is sure to stand out from the crowd.
Start Marketing / Advertising
As consumer spending drops, more and more businesses have had to reinvent themselves to adapt to the current situation. Use this as an opportunity to increase online sales, by making use of social media advertising to reach a wider audience. Facebook ads that showcases your services or products can be effective at maximising your sales, and increasing the number of visitors to your website or online store.
Email marketing such as Mailchimp would be a good tool to capture your customers details even when they are not ready to buy from you.
However, don’t forget to consider the current restrictions in your media strategy, and focus on products or services that will benefit your customers at home.
With these tips in mind, there’s no reason you should be intimidated by the idea of moving your business online. In addition to helping your business stay afloat, an effective digital strategy can help you find new customers, and keep your regulars coming back for more.