How to manage your business during COVID-19

As a marketing consultant, I work with a lot of small businesses. It’s been devastating to witness the impact that the coronavirus and the subsequent Shelter in Place orders have had on my clients. But I am pleasantly surprised to notice the resilience exhibited by business owners during these testing times. 

We’ve started to receive a lot of client requests, asking for advice on how to adjust businesses structures and approaches to better serve their communities. Even though each business requires a specific strategy, I would like to share a few critical adjustments that you can implement to meet these challenging times head on.

1. Update your Google My Business page. 

Provide your new business hours, mention any changes to your services or products, and offer promotions related to COVID-19. Google relies heavily upon the information provided by GMB. Use this downtime to optimize your GMB page as well as all other directories and citations (Bing, Yahoo, etc). Citations include local listings, review sites, and any other websites that list your business information on their platform. Consistency is very important, your business name, phone number, and address should precisely match the details listed on your website. When Google notices mentions of your business across multiple mediums, it gives your website a higher quality score, which in turn can potentially drive your website higher up the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and gain you more visitors. 

2.   Optimize your website. 

Most of my clients are so preoccupied with their day-to-day operations that they often neglect to optimize their websites. Whether you sell products or services, your website should work as a lead generation tool for you. The quarantine presents a fantastic opportunity to re-design your website, update website content, build new sales funnels, or revisit on-page SEO optimization. With plenty of individuals stuck at home, new features like online payment systems, CRM programs, and email marketing tools can all help you to increase online reach and conversions. Any investment made in your website now, could reap considerable dividends in the near future. 

3.   Optimize your paid marketing channels (Google, FB ads). 

It’s time to make significant improvements to your marketing campaigns to minimize unnecessary expenditure. For instance, why not get creative with some new banners that address COVID-19 while presenting your business in a positive light? I would not recommend removing your current ads. Instead, add new ones and let Google’s algorithm split test and re-distribute ad budgets to the highest-performers. Make sure to remove any keywords that drive poor-quality traffic. 

4.   Pay close attention to your email campaigns. 

A lot of my clients have automated newsletters that go out on a regular basis. Make sure you either pause them (if your business is no longer operating) or adjust them to address the changes taking place within your industry. Craft new emails to your customers to provide helpful information on how your company is adapting to the COVID-19 outbreak. Asking your employees to use masks, enforcing regular hand washing, offering online payments, and providing no-contact delivery are all measures that are likely to reassure your customers that you take their safety seriously. 

5.   Stay Agile. 

Think of how you can make adjustments to your business to reflect the new trading conditions. Can you offer your customers the ability to purchase your products online, for example? Can you provide services with no-contact pickup and delivery? Can you build a mobile app that allows you to notify your customers when an order is ready while facilitating contactless payment? Think about how you can alter your business and still effectively serve your community. Just as is the case on a plane, the closest exit may be right behind you. A few minor tweaks could help you to find new clients and perhaps even elevate your business to the next level. 

6. And finally, the most important recommendation. 

Take care of yourself and your family. After all, this could be the break you always needed but never had the time to take.  

Implementing these changes will not only help you remain robust during these difficult times, but they will also give your company the chance to steal a march on competitors when things return to normal. Good luck!