The Coronavirus hasn’t just impacted our health and our lifestyle, but our businesses as well. The latest data reveals that Coronavirus is expected to cost the worldwide economy $2.7 trillion, and send us into a global recession.
Across the UK, we know many businesses who are seeing a dramatic change in their business as Coronavirus has put the world in lockdown. From consumer-facing businesses such as pubs, restaurants and retail shops that sit silently on the highstreet, to b2b businesses including recruiters and software providers, who are facing possible redundancies.
But just because your customers may be slowing down, and sales reducing, now is not the time to sit back and wait for it all to blow over.
In fact, right now, you have the space to enhance your business and ensure it comes out the other side of this pandemic stronger than how it went in.
With more time on your hands, you should be treating this lockdown as an opportunity to create loyal customers, and finally, get around to that long marketing check-list you’ve never had time to do.
So set aside the panic and fear that the world is ending, and put yourself into action mode, as we give you the top things you should be doing right now to keep your business alive.
Help Your Customers
It’s true what they say – people remember how you react in a crisis.
Now is a time to serve your customers and serve them well.
You may be losing customers, but what can you do to help them in this crisis?
After all, they will be suffering in some way too. Your loss is not from bad service; it’s just from a bad situation – so don’t take it personally.
Turn your attitude of loss into one of service, and you will be remembered by your customers for being supportive and helpful in a time of crisis. And when the crisis is over, who do you think they will come back to?
The attitude of many businesses has already started to show, and it’s certainly not going to do their brand reputation any good.
Across the media, we’ve seen a number of stories about businesses not providing refunds for events or even supporting a postpone plan. Businesses behaving badly is not how you want your business to be remembered.
- What can you offer your customers to help in the interim?
- Improve your customer service
Clean-up Your SEO
No matter the size of your website, you’ve most probably got an SEO check-list that has been gathering dust since your last audit. I bet you’ve been looking at it for months saying you’re going to get around to it at some point – well here’s the time to get it done!
Now is an ideal time to ensure that your website has the strongest chance of ranking well.
This means spending time on all those small SEO admin tasks you’ve been putting off, and finally doing them. For example, adding alt tags to your images or updating your meta-descriptions and meta-titles.
- Add alt tags to your images
- Update your meta-descriptions and meta-titles
- Review your current backlinks
- Ensure your Google My Business Page is up to date
Audit Your Content
Here’s a question for you – when was the last time you audited your website content?
While you may not have the tech tools to give you all the data – you only need Google Analytics to give you a good idea of what your customers love, and how well your pages are generally performing.
Auditing your content right now means you can spend time improving your pages, and learning more about how your customers interact and engage with your blog content.
With website pages, you can understand where customers are dropping off, and review your overall layout, the written content and your call-to-action.
With your blog content, you’ve probably got so much content on your blog that you haven’t even looked at it for at least six months? – But reviewing it can give you an insight into which topics are popular. From this, you can gain inspiration for creating better content on your website and extending it out into videos or podcast topics. Once you know the most popular topics, you can build on this with other types of content.
- Create great content – eBooks / videos / resources
- Improve your blogs – images / call-to-actions / internal linking
- Improve your website pages – layout / content / call-to-actions
Get to Know Your Customers Needs
It’s understandable that in a time of crisis, people stop spending and start going into survival mode. With a knee-jerk reaction such as this happening on a global scale, right now it’s important to understand what people are spending their money on, and where their head is at.
By understanding more about your customers, you can not only pivot your business offering, but you can start to create content or even new services that serve a need.
Maybe your business is classed as a ‘non-essential’, but there must be something you can provide that may help your existing customers, or a different audience?
Carry out an audience insight that identifies what your customer’s needs are right now. What are their biggest concerns and worries? What do they need help with?
The insight you carry out doesn’t need to be super technical; in fact, you could even just use a traditional mind-map format. Then looking on tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google Trends, look at the biggest trending hashtags and what people are talking about. Even doing this, basic research can help you understand what people are feeling and thinking.
- Conduct an audience insight – identify customer concerns
- Use tools to understand the needs of your customers
If there’s one thing you need to do while surviving a crisis as a business, it is to keep visible so that people know you are still open for business and operating.
Yes, you might not be operating at full capacity, but you’re still there!
Rather than shutting down your digital exposure, now is the time to max it out, because people are online more than ever in a crisis as they want to keep in touch with colleagues, friends and family, and keep updated with the news.
This doesn’t mean you should be posting every hour on the hour flogging your services, but you should at least be part of the conversations that are happening and be present.
Journalists and media outlets are also highly active at times like this, looking for positive or alternative news to keep people from feeling like the news is just bads new. With this in mind, keep your finger on the pulse of the journalist requests to see if there are any quotes you can provide to support their features.
If your business has also done something positive for the local community, then also get in touch with your local news, as this is a great way to share the positivity and gain a little business exposure at the same time.
- Keep an eye out for PR and journalist requests
- Pitch a positive story to your local newspaper
- Stay active on social media
While your business may not operate digitally, a webinar is an ideal way to continue to promote your products or service without being pushy. It can also help you to capture new leads who would like to know more about your product or service before they make a purchase.
If your business has the capability to go online, then think about a digital package that could be offered to people during this time.
As many of your customers or potential customers will be stuck at home, think about the webinars you could create to help them.
Ensure to make your webinars relevant to the time and to your industry. There’s no point trying to push a service or product if the timing is off as people will feel like you’re out of touch. Consider the current crisis and build your webinars around that.
- Create relevant webinars
- Think about going digital with products or services
Strategise for the Future
A crisis may appear to be a truly negative and dark situation, but actually, these experiences are chances for businesses to adapt and learn. See it as an opportunity for growth, and your mindset will shift to one of action and creativity.
The more you reflect and change during this crisis, the better you will be when it’s all over.
To keep you focussed during this crisis, use the time wisely to strategise your future. Because there will be a time when this is all over, so what are you going to do on the upswing? – What new services or new products will you be sending out into the world?
- Revise your 2020 strategy
- Create actions for when the crisis is over