The COVID-19 pandemic has created a wealth of problems for companies nationwide. Businesses have been forced to look at how they do business and adjust how they make sales and present themselves to customers new and old. Unfortunately, many companies have failed to shift their marketing efforts to accommodate what is, at least for the foreseeable future, the “new normal.”
While no business has been left unscathed by the pandemic, those that are suffering the most are those without the resources to stay afloat amid sales reductions and temporary closures or those that rely heavily on face-to-face interactions, like gyms, clothing stores, fitness studios, and beauty salons.
How to Move your Business Online after COVID-19
Before the pandemic and associated closures, everyone knew where in town to get the things they needed. Now, many of these companies had been ordered to close temporarily due to stay at home orders. Now, as businesses begins to return, no one really knows who stayed in business and or where they should go to get the items they need.
Now is the perfect time for these affected businesses to make the transition from reliance on a brick and mortar storefront to a robust digital online presence. This might also mean it is time for a new or redesigned website and social media presence. Teaming with a skilled team of website designers, graphic designers, and SEO experts can help transition your traditional processes and physical store to a fully functional digital platform.
Communicate with Your Customers
The first step to moving business online is to ensure open communication with customers. For companies who have never collected leads (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.), it is time to start building those connections that will keep business moving throughout the coming months.
Social media has also continued to be utilized to reach your local audience. Social media isn’t just utilized for sales, it can also be an extension of your business presence. Utilize it to send messages on closures to customers, hire staff, and connect with customers immediately where they’re at…..on their phones.
Send a “Coronavirus” Update
Any business that has experienced product or service disruptions should contact their customers via email (or another form of marketing media) to explain how operations have changed. Companies who have an existing newsletter or another type of frequent communication can provide these updates in that format.
Social media is also an excellent way to get the news out regarding ongoing operational changes. A public post on Facebook or another social media outlet can help keep customers who may not be part of standard business communications informed. If your business lacks a strong social media presence, look to a design professional like Bianca Frank Design to provide guidance and assistance, integrating a social media presence with a companies current website.
Update the Company Website
Times remain very uncertain. Now is an excellent time to invest time (and money) into marketing and sales tactics that can help keep products and services moving. For example, announce on the company homepage that business is still open to serve customers and include a link to the FAQ segment of the site where they can find details about delivery and curbside pickup. Also, update product and service pages with new photos and descriptions. Set up an e-commerce system for taking online orders. This can help maintain sales when customers cannot come to your storefront or are uncomfortable with face-to-face shopping.
Getting Started with SEO Marketing
SEO or search engine optimization is critical to business success. SEO is what gets a business all of those organic “hits” when a consumer enters a search term into their browser. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way consumers shop with many people avoiding malls, shopping centers, and storefronts. Now is the time to invest in SEO as it is not only delivering proven results, but it is also one of the most cost-effective digital marketing strategies. Some recommended steps for building a high-impact SEO strategy during COVID-19 (and beyond) include:
Publishing Content Designed to Build Trust
The coronavirus pandemic has led to self-isolation, social distancing, and other safety measures designed to stop the virus’s spread. As much as these may have slowed the spread of sickness, they have increased frustration among consumers. Due to shipping delays and order cancellations stemming from COVID-19 inventory problems, consumers struggle to trust businesses to follow through on their promises. Brand messages placed on a business website must be designed to educate, inform, and reassure customers of your product or service stability rather than simply demanding a purchase.
Proactively Manage your Business Online after COVID-19
Businesses who are trustworthy carry significantly more weight with Google and other search engines. For this reason, it is essential for companies to manage their brand presence online carefully. It is important to update product availability, monitor traffic sources, and keep customer information secure to present a trustworthy business image.
COVID-19 has forced businesses of all sizes to rethink their online presence and processes. While some may believe they cannot transition their daily operations online, this is likely untrue. With the ease of today’s e-commerce platforms, very few businesses cannot transition from a brick and mortar storefront to an online presence.
This largely newfound emphasis on digital marketing is not something a business should walk away from when lockdown ends. Online shopping has grown exponentially during the pandemic, and it is not going to slow down any time soon as most consumers have started to feel that web-based interactions are more convenient than in-person. Storefronts can and should re-open when safety allows; however, businesses will now have expanded the way they do business and found new ways to engage customers new and old.
A well-optimized website, well-planned marketing tools, and a strong social media presence are essential to successfully navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic (and beyond). As walk-in customer sales likely remain slower, now is the best time to sit down with the design professionals at Bianca Frank Design to talk about improving SEO, updating your business presence on social media and ensuring your website is built to serve customers new and old who have turned to online shopping for products and services. At Bianca Frank Design, our website marketing and website design experts can ensure your business continues to thrive online throughout COVID-19 and beyond.