Smaller businesses and those which rely on footfall or other types of social contact with customers are likely to be the hardest hit by the current social distancing measures.
In an effort to stay connected, businesses are turning to the internet like never before and we have heard of lots of innovative ideas as they do their best to adapt. From hosting online pub quizzes and exercise lessons to virtual music lessons and even live streamed concerts.
If you have been forced to close your doors to customers or fundamentally change how you operate – now is the perfect time to get to grips with your online presence. You can use your social media and keep your customers up to date or promote online services. Use your email newsletter to keep in touch with your customers and let them know what you are doing, how the current situation affects your services and what you are doing to try and minimise the impact. Many businesses are offering online ordering and home delivery to try and continue trading.
Here are some tips for marketing through the lockdown…
- Stay active on social media - It is no real surprise that social media usage has increased during the lockdown period. Facebook has recorded as much as a 50% increase in usage across its messaging platforms as we all try to stay connected. Make sure that your business stays active on your social channels to keep customers up to date, provide information and entertainment. Many businesses are finding that there are more enquiries and questions coming via social channels as well. Research has shown most customers expect a more rapid response to a query posted on social media so you need to be ready to respond.
- Make sure your website reflects the most up to date information - Most businesses have had to adapt what they do and the way they do it during the current crisis. It is important to make sure that the information you are providing online is accurate. Make sure that your business opening hours are up to date – or, if you have had to close your doors completely, be sure to let your customers know. You may also need to make customers aware if you are likely to be slower to respond than usual or if you have had to put in place special measures to deal with Coronavirus. As well as your website – it is important to ensure that information on your ‘Google My Business’ listing reflects the most up to date position. The first port of call for many people when looking for a business near them will be Google so accurate listings at this time are very important. Google has suspended some of the features on business listings for the moment, including the ability for customers to write reviews – however, listing owners are still able to get access to the platform to change their information and business descriptions.
- Publicise how you are continuing to service your customers - As we all struggle with new ways or working, adapting to the difficulties of working remotely and remaining connected, it is really important to also maintain communications with your customers. Online channels like social media, your website blog, email and video are all great ways to keep in touch with customers and let them know how you are able to continue to serve them. Whether you are publicising a new online order and delivery service, letting people know about new opening times, offering free access to online services or confirming how you are helping more vulnerable groups to access your services – continued communication is the key.
Whilst there are not many positives to take from the current situation, many businesses have already shown extraordinary resilience and creativity in finding ways to continue. I am sure that customers will remember those businesses which have made a special effort to help and reassure them through an uncertain period.
Take advantage of the ability to stay in touch with customers which technology provides. You can also use this time to strengthen your online presence and look at your website’s SEO – especially to get ready for when things start to return to normal.
If you are in need of some extra help with getting set up on social media or starting a blog, creating email campaigns or any other type of online marketing – have a look at our free services page to find out how we can help.