COVID -19 has turned the world upside down, for individuals, families and businesses of all sizes. During this epidemic, we’ve been receiving a lot of inbound questions from small and local businesses on how to cope through this crisis. In order to help assist business, we’ve put together this short guide on what you can do during lockdown to help prepare you and your business once we are out of quarantine.
We must remember, this isn’t the new normal. Lockdown will not last forever. While we’re forced to close our business, there are things we can do to ensure we are better positioned to serve our customers once we’re out of quarantine. Treat this as a 3-month Bank holiday – when Bank holidays are generally times we work on our business or carry out many housekeeping tasks.
If your business has been affected by this outbreak, use this time to prepare for the influx of new and returning customers you will likely receive. Peoples buying habits will return back to normal, therefore, you need to be more than ready for their return. Regardless of whether you have an online or offline presence, you should use this time to invest and focus on your business. Here are our 3 main things you should be working on:
- Serve your Customers Better
- Think about ways you can improve your service. Returning customers will
appreciate this and will welcome the initiative after being away for some time.
- Improve your Product Offerings and Website
- When business is running smoothly, these are the things that can get
overlooked as your time and effort is used to keep the business going. If you were able to make improvements during normal circumstances, you would consistently be increasing your revenue over time.
- When was the last time you reviewed your website and landing pages?
• When was the last time you reviewed how your website was converting?
• Have you fixed all things broken on your website? (we all have them)
- Work on Long Term Marketing Channels
- As a business owner, you will be aware of the importance of marketing
whether on or offline. This can be a lengthy process and while you have been focusing on running your business, these activities have been put to one side.
- Online marketing works wonders for SEO. If you have difficulties on where to start, how about writing press releases on steps 1 and 2 above (how you’re better serving customers and how you have improved your product offerings). These articles can be featured on your website, on other websites or in offline printed materials.
After COVID-19 the use of technology will be embraced more than ever before. Our buying habits will change as we’re forced to make most of our purchases and carry out activities online. However, if you run a physical – offline business – don’t panic – yes things may be or become tough, but if you’re able to adapt, you can use the internet, to embrace change and keep growing your customer base.
Below are 5 tips on what small and local physical businesses can do to keep existing and gain more customers.
1. Click and Collect
- If you own a retail store and are struggling to sell stock, you could offer a click and collect service. Most of the big companies are doing it – so why can’t you!
- If you don’t have many people visiting your website, you can run local Google Ads just targeting people in your area advertising the products you have on offer.
- Once they have found what they want to reserve, they can register their details with you and arrange a time to collect.
- The marketing budget for this can be relatively low, depending on the size of the area your targeting.
- When the customer comes to pick up the order – please practise social distancing.
- If possible, you could place a table at the front of the door and serve them over that.
2. Help and Engage with your Customers
- There will be tons of people that are unable to buy or use your services during these times and will be struggling to conduct life without you, don’t let them do that. Assist them through their pain and struggles, for example;
- You could provide tips on how to design floral arrangements and create bouquets
- Offer advice on the best flowers to plant this time of year.
- How and what to feed your flowers so they live longer
- Hair Salons:
- Create videos on how to cut your own hair
- How to cut other people’s hair who live in your household
- Advice on hair maintenance – washing, colouring or general hair care tips.
- You can offer cooking tutorials, show your customers how they can recreate some of their favourite meals.
- Show them how to prepare a table for a romantic night in.
- Provide recommendations on wines that work best with certain meals
There are endless ways how you can engage and help your customers through these times.
3. Go Old School and Leaflet Drop
- Let everyone know you’re still open for business.
- Some people may assume you’re closed – which would be a shame if they really wanted to buy something from you.
- You can even team up with other local business owners and create pamphlets and split the cost and distribution. This would be a win-win.
4. Bring your Business to the People
- If possible, you can bring your business to the people.
- There are people bored at home unable to go out and make impulsive purchases, so why not bring your business to them
- You can even combine this with leaflet drops (tip 3).
- Let people know you’ll be in their area offering your products
- This could be cakes
- Garden equipment
- Computer supplies
- You will be surprised how many people will be interested
- Remember, these are not normal times, people are lacking in social engagement and haven’t been free to shop for some time
5. Give Something Back
- If you have stock you’re unable to sell, why not donate some of it to the community or local hospitals?
- If you own a restaurant – how about offering cooked food for the elderly or people who are ill at home.
- Team up with other business owners and create a raffle or competitions to raise money for key workers or people in need in your area?
With each one of these 5 tips, it’s important to capture your customer’s details so you can
inform them about your activities, offers, discounts, coupons or promotions. The aim is to
offer as much free value as possible, make them know you’re here to help them and their
community through these tough times. Their community is also yours, so show you care.
When driving people to your website, it’s important to have an optimised landing page to
capture your potential customer’s information. The offer on your website should be easy to
find and understand. Make sure you get straight to the point, explain the reason why you’re
offering this and the benefits it will provide, also what they will be able to achieve once they
have gone through your offer.
This crisis will pass and we’re going to get through this especially with the help and support
from businesses like yours.