10 Ways to promote your business online during the COVID-19 Lockdown
While the most devastating consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic is the threat to human life, there's no denying the enormous impact that it's having on the global economy. Thousands of businesses have had to close their doors and work from home where possible. With the changes from day to day and the pervasive threat pushing anxiety levels high, many business owners are tempted to just keep their business going for the time being.
But keeping your business afloat and putting out fires as they emerge isn't all you can do right now.
It's important to look ahead at the future of your business. It's vital to continue to promote your business online during the lockdown while you plan. Here are ten ways you can promote your business online.
1. Rev up your blog
Our situation during the Coronavirus pandemic is constantly evolving and each day brings changes and news. Do your customers know the status of your business? Yes, you can post notices on your blog or website to address the situation. But communicating with them in a more conversational manner on an ongoing basis will increase the chances that you'll maintain your relationship with them. A blog gives you a wonderful way to do this.
If you have a blog, now is a great time to create new content for it during this crisis. After all, people are home now and have time to research and shop that they don't normally have. If you don't have a blog, start one now. If your store is closing, you can blog about it in addition to any announcements. Otherwise, if your business is staying open, you can blog about the steps you're taking during the crisis to keep everyone safe.
You can also blog about your business. Interview employees, talk about how your business got its start or talk about your mission. Take the opportunity to share behind-the-scenes information with your customers.
Blog posts can also be optimised to help boost your visibility in search engine results.
2. Put search engine optimisation to work for you
Unless you're able to hire someone who is knowledgeable about search engine optimisation (SEO), it's your job. You may know the basics or do the bare minimum to keep your online business presence competitive on the search engines. Now is a great time to do a little homework and brush up on your SEO. Like life during the Coronavirus pandemic, SEO can change often. It's not a static set of techniques to set and forget.
The blog posts are a great way to boost your SEO because the search engines love fresh, relevant content. The content should provide valuable information about your business to your customers. It should also be all original content. Duplicate content can hurt your standings in the search engines.
It's also a great time to review SEO on your blog or website. You can check your links to make sure they all work properly. Check for outdated or incorrect information and evaluate any keywords you're using. It's also a good time to update your Google My Business profile.
3. Improve Google My Business profile
Two of the most important online resources available for your business are Google and customer reviews. When customers want to know anything about your business, the first thing they typically do is Google it. They will also search Google to see what other customers have said about your business, products, or services.
Google My Business combines these two amazing resources for you into one powerful marketing tool. If you haven't created a Google My Business profile, now is a great time. It can also help you harvest valuable positive reviews about your business.
You can edit your Google My Business profile at any time which is useful. Is your business currently operating on special hours? Are the contact details correct? Are your contact options for your business different under the circumstances? Are you taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19? Google My Business provides an easy way to let your customers know what has changed.
If you're feeling ambitious, remember that the other big search engines have comparable tools. You may consider setting up your business on Yahoo! Local and Bing Places. Both like Google My Business are free.
4. Revamp your website
Some businesses to cut expenses are disabling their websites for the moment. Google is advising against it because taking your website offline, even for a brief period of time, can do much to hurt your SEO efforts and kill your rankings.
Right now might be the time to revamp your website and get it ready for when restrictions are lifted. Once the world economy is getting back on its feet, having a website that's improved and optimised is only going to get you back on the road to recovery that much faster.
Take the time to fix and update your website. Is there something you've wanted to add for a while that you just never found time for? Maybe you want to add a FAQ page or a page to feature video content. Now is the time. Check your links, update your information, make announcements, and develop your blog. If you want to make cosmetic changes, you can do that too.
If you have been able to accumulate reviews from Google My Business or other venues, make sure those are on your website along with any customer testimonials. Customers online value the opinion of other customers and your website give you the opportunity to put them in front of your audience quickly and easily.
And once you have your website in great shape, it's time to look at what else the site can do for you. Your website can serve as a hub for any social media platform you use. You may also be able to bring in good, organic traffic through the use of online events, instructional videos, online workshops and webinars, and more.
5. Create Video Content
Internet users watch millions of hours of YouTube videos every day. Now that many people are home because of the crisis, they are watching millions of hours more. If you're not creating video content for your business, you're missing out on an incredible opportunity to get your business, products, or services in front of a worldwide audience.
If creating videos for your business sounds intimidating, start with the idea that you're sharing knowledge. How can you use video content to improve your customers' lives? Once you have the answer to that, it's relatively easy to learn how to create, edit, and publish videos to provide quality, relevant content for your audience. It's a great way to maintain that rapport you have with your customers. You can also attract new potential customers who find your videos where they are hosted like YouTube or Vimeo.
6. Have an online event
One of the hardest parts of the Coronavirus lockdown was the cancelled events. If your business normally offers live events, there's still a great opportunity here. Millions of people stuck at home are looking for entertainment. Why not have an online event?
Thanks to social media utilities like Facebook Live or Instagram Live, you can do just that easily. You can launch a new product or service and in a live, streaming format, you can take the time to explain this to your consumer in a personal, entertaining way. You may find yourself with an audience that you wouldn't normally have.
Online events could provide you a great opportunity to find new customers and a way to keep the connection with your regulars.
7. Online workshops and webinars
Is it possible to go digital with your services? If you can, chances are there are customers who are sitting at home will love the chance to support your business. Free tools like Skype and Zoom allow you to potentially offer remote services.
If this wouldn't work with your business, perhaps you could launch a Vimeo channel allowing customers to pay to see your videos. Using a paywall to give content to customers for a fee, Vimeo offers a way for you to provide workshops, webinars and more. If you work at a hair salon, perhaps you could do an instructional video on how to do colour touch-ups. If you work as a pet groomer, you could offer a demonstration on proper animal bathing.
While you may not earn what you normally do for your services, you may be able to establish a smaller stream of income that you can retain once the crisis is over.
8. Harness the power of social media
Social media platforms are powerful communication tools and have millions of users. If your business is on these platforms, you have a quick and efficient way to communicate with your followers if there's an immediate need. It also gives you a great way to let followers know about the online event you're holding, changes in business hours or contact points, special offers and more.
It also gives you a way for you to interact with your customers. By answering questions or providing more information when asked, you can appeal to potential customers in a friendly, professional way.
9. Use discounts
If it works with your business model, discounts might offer appealing incentives for your customers. Retailers can consider offering free or reduced shipping for online orders. You could offer special discount codes on online events. Maybe the first 100 people to stream your event get a discount on a product or service. If you offer memberships of any kind, you can lock them in for one year at a great initial rate.
10. Email marketing is still a thing
While many people think email marketing is a thing of the past, it's very much a viable, valuable marketing asset. Your email marketing efforts should go a long way in maintaining and improving customer relationships. When used well, they can also be used to forge new relationships with potential clients.
Tools like Campaign Monitor and MailChimp have many great features, are easy to use, and are reasonably priced. They are both compatible with many third-party apps, allow for great customisation, and even offer a drag and drop editor to help you design your email campaigns.
More importantly, these tools allow customers to subscribe and sign up for your mailings through convenient website subscription forms. Using them, you can build a database of customer emails for future communications whether they are new or regular clients.
Feeling inspire to reinvigorate your online marketing efforts but need help?
We are experts in email marketing and more. Contact us today about online marketing possibilities.