As small businesses adapt to the changes surrounding COVID-19, one major concern is finding a way to stay relevant during these uncertain times. With most companies essentially striving for the same thing, how can organizations stay ahead of the competition?
Let’s start by saying, there is hope. When people face uncertainty, they turn to the digital space for answers. Below are eight tips for making the most of your digital exposure during a time of crisis.
Be Flexible – Adapt Marketing Strategies
Quickly adapting your marketing strategy is crucial during times of crisis. The majority of organizations that build customer loyalty and stay afloat during difficult times excel at this. Every challenging situation will bring about a unique set of obstacles for businesses. To execute this well, consider the following questions:
- What does your audience need during this time?
- What can your company/organization do to help?
- What changes, if any, can be made to accommodate new concerns?
I came across a perfect example of a company doing this well recently. On one of the first nights of California’s stay-at-home order, I decided to order pizza from my favorite local pizzeria online. To my surprise, this business had already changed its website to feature their new ‘contact-less drop off’ delivery option in light of the coronavirus. They had changed their business strategy to meet their customers’ new needs, and did so overnight!
Look for the ways to support customers through difficult times. Not only will customers notice, but they’ll likely build a sense of loyalty to your brand and services long into the future. It’s a win, win.
Keep Customers In The Know – Share Important Information
Many have probably received one, two, or several ‘COVID-19’ response messages. Keeping customers informed communicates that a company understands and appreciates their customer’s role in your business.
However, make it a point to not send emails with ‘fluff.’ Ensure that the message has information consumers want to know. In response to a time of crisis, ask the following:
- Will your business stay open?
- Can people still schedule/cancel appointments online?
- Is there a virtual option for conducting business?
- Can customers cancel or reschedule services without penalty?
Stay Visible – Update Google My Business Hours & Information
As part of keeping customers informed, it’s a good idea to update any hour changes, on-site closures, or other modifications on Google My Business. Making changes to Google My Business will update the information people see on Google Maps and Google Search. If temporary modifications have been made to operating hours, these can be added under the ‘Special Hours’ feature.
Share Positivity – Update Social Channels
In a time when people are flooded with unsettling news from the media, friends, and family, take to your social channels to share positive news with users. Whether it be an inspiring act of kindness online, something a business is doing to support the community or just a few motivating words – a little can go a long way.
Customize User Experience – Redirect to Response Pages
If there is a significant change to your business due to the crisis, redirecting your customers to a specific landing page explaining your response can be a good way of keeping everyone informed. Setting up a 302 temporary redirect can lead users to pertinent information about your businesses quickly, and you can use that information to track users’ engagement with those pages. If users arrive at this new landing page and then navigate through your site, it might indicate that your response is helping retain customers. Here are a few tips on adding a redirect on WordPress.
Show You Care – Share What’s Being Done to Protect Employees
Now more than ever, consumers want to know the companies they are supporting are doing right by their employees. If your organization has gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of your staff, let your customers know.
While this message is informing users of what’s being done internally, it should still be customer-focused. Go beyond simply telling customers a work-from-home policy has been implemented. Share news of virtual tour, video consultation, email support, or other options that are newly available in light of these policy changes. Let customers know how they will be impacted by these changes and how they can find help.
Respond Timely – Set Up an Email Auto-Reply
If you’re closing indefinitely or have limited availability for the foreseeable future, setting up an auto-reply email with answers to frequently asked questions is a good idea. For steps on how to do this, visit Google’s tips on setting up auto-reply emails.
Stay Relevant – Create Quality Content
Now can also be a good time to draw in new potential site users and customers. This is a good time to be proactive about producing high-quality content. Creating new content can do three things for your business including:
- Introduce new users to your site
- Give you more material to share and engage users with
- Promote higher rankings for your site through more site visits and boosting domain authority.
To get this step right, make sure content is engaging and relevant to your audience. There are many tools out there that can help find current trending topics, such as Google Trends, BuzzSumo, and AnswerThePublic. Twitter is also a great resource. Whichever industry you’re in, make sure you’re creating something the audience will want to view, interact with, and share. This is the recipe for creating content that builds a brand up and propels it forward.
For those who would like additional help implementing these practices or advice on your online marketing strategy, connect with at [email protected].