“We are all in this together.” That is the statement that we keep reiterating to all of our clients. While these are very uncertain times for all of us small business owners, we need to remember that our tenacity and grit has often allowed us to push past the immediate challenges we face only to reappear on the other side stronger than ever before.
COVID-19 is no different. This is a time-out for many business owners, and it gives us the ability to push back from the desk and look at everything we’ve been overlooking because the urgency of our daily business drags us into countless directions. The saying: “The baker’s bread always gets baked last” holds true.
While the circumstances are horrible, may we suggest to consider this a breather, a respite from the proverbial rat race, but also an opportunity to do the things we have been putting off. As the owner of an established digital marketing agency, I believe this situation not only gives us a unique insight into the mindset of many different business models, but it also allows us a platform to provide guidance. The result has produced a multi-step checklist that will help your small business navigate, prepare, and survive (perhaps even thrive) these difficult current events.
Step One – Confront the Problem Head On
A good first point of action is to think of the clients who depend on your services and ease their minds. Which ever way your business operates, some form of it will be impacted, and it’s integral that a message be sent out to the people who need you. Assure you provide information that is readily visible on your website telling your customers how you are operating and what ways they can come to you. This could include information on deliveries, business hours, sanitizing, etc. Put this content on your home page with a link to a blog for further information. Consider broadcasting the same information out via an email broadcast and social media. The more the better.
If you are a business that can function virtually, encourage your clients to join you via virtual meeting software, or tell them that you can be reached via phone or email. People may be stuck at home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t virtually meet with them.
For businesses that expect an influx during the quarantine, it’s important to reach out to your webmasters to ensure that your site will maintain function during high traffic times. This includes bandwidth usage and resource allocation, anything to keep your site up and running for everyone.
Step Two – Get Proactive
A great way to keep the cash flow going is to offer some type of a pre-purchase program. You’ve probably seen this with new health clubs that are under construction. There is usually a way to purchase a membership early. This “early-bird” membership may come with extra perks or at a discount. We are suggesting to do the same. Offer your clients to purchase something now and deliver it when the threat of the virus has passed. This will help the cash flow of the business, show your employees that there is work coming in and allow your customers to check another task item off their to do list.
Use this time to dig into your competitors. When is the last time you actually mystery-shopped them? When is the last time you looked at their online web presence? We recommend looking at their website and Google Business Listing. Pay close attention to their content. We recommend reading it in detail. Compare their content to yours and figure out if you have any gaps. Assure to cover the same information they are, preferably expanding on it.
Look at your competitor Google reviews. Are they responding to the reviews? What is their rating? How many reviews do they have? How many reviews have they gotten in last month? Take this information and then forge a strategic review aggregation plan. Set a goal of how many reviews you need to get to match theirs.
Finally, grab your favorite drink and devote 30 minutes to your Google analytics. We venture to bet you’ll find some information in there you haven’t thought of before. Look at which pages get the most traffic and which pages get you the most leads. Make sure that those pages have great content and great images. Get these pages refreshed and updated while work is slow.
Step Three – Bring It Full Circle
At the end of the day, keep an open line of communication with your clients, your employees, and most importantly yourself and your loved ones. Use this time to recuperate if you need to, or devote yourself to a passion you’ve put off. We have been granted this period of reprieve whether it’s in our best interest or not, but acting to make it better will give you a strong sense of accomplishment and enrichment. Recharge your batteries so you are ready to go when this has passed.
Stephan Boehringer is CEO of Get The Clicks, a world-renowned digital marketing agency with over a decade of practical experience and measurable results. Having been a contributor to Fox News 35 and been published in USA Today and Entrepreneur Magazine, he is one of the most trusted authorities on creative Digital Marketing. 1 Part Executive, 1 Part Problem Solver and 3 Parts Dad. He can handle anything you throw at him.
Survival stock photo by eamesBot/Shutterstock