Many business owners I know are concerned about how they can best weather the COVID-19 storm that we now find ourselves in. The future is full of uncertainties, and many businesses are temporarily closed. In this post, I will share ideas from business owners across the San Francisco Bay Area for keeping your business as healthy as possible.
Let Your Clients Know You Are Open for Business
If you generally meet your clients face-to-face, many of them may be assuming that you are currently closed, even though you aren’t. If you’ve captured their email addresses in your files, consider sending them an email letting them know that you are open for business and can work with them remotely. Your email doesn’t need to be fancy, just informative. One of my clients who is an attorney, for example, has reached out to her past clients to let them know that she can file legal papers with the Court on their behalf, without needing to meet in person. Another client, a nutritionist, has emailed everyone that her workshops have moved online, and she is ready to help them be healthier.
Get Your Business Online
Many professionals who normally work in-person are offering their expertise online. A therapist client, for instance, is doing all of her counseling via video conferencing. Another client, a yoga and Pilates instructor, is holding 1-to-1 personalized sessions. There are several products out there that support online meetings and screen-sharing. The hands-down favorite for the businesses I know is Zoom.
For retailers, following is some helpful information from the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce: “This a is a great time to invest in your business by creating, or improving your ecommerce stores. You could also add an online store on a new platform to augment sales during this disruptive time, such as Esty, Amazon Marketplace, Bonanza, Ebay Store, Wish, Shopify. Here is a helpful article for small businesses to evaluate the pros and cons of different online marketplace options.”
If you have a marketing budget set aside to help get you through a downtime like this, consider running Google Ads. Google Ads lets you choose the location where your ad will appear, including within a certain radius of your store or an entire region. You can set a monthly budget cap, so you’ll never spend more than you intend. Studies have shown that when your business comes up in search results twice, such as your website as well as in a Google Ad, the success of getting a click multiplies by more than a factor of two.
Offer a Discount
If your fixed business costs allow, you may want to offer a discount for your services or products. Are there prospects you’ve talked with in the past few months who thought your fees were just a little outside their price range? This may be a good time to reconnect with them and see if they are still interested.
Do Projects that Will Help Your Business Grow When Things Pick Up Again
Have you been putting off some essential marketing activities because you were just too busy to work on them? For example, is your website text out of date? Could it use SEO to help people find your business online? Do you need a new website altogether, or perhaps an updated logo? If you have the budget for it, now may a great time to get some of these projects completed, before you become too busy again.
Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business is a free business listing from Google that better enables you to reach searchers who are looking for your products or services in your geographic area. I see businesses every day that have not “claimed” their Google My Business listing. It can be a 15-20-minute process, if you’ve already collected your logo and images of your business. As soon as Google verifies your information (usually 3-5 business days), you will have increased visibility in certain local searches. How do you know if you have not claimed your Listing? You will see a purple “Own this business?” right under your phone number in Google search results.
Find a Nonprofit to Help
Many nonprofit organizations are feeling very stretched these days. Do you know a nonprofit who could use your time and expertise right now? Although this suggestion may not help your business sustain the threat of COVID-19, it may help YOU weather the storm. Rather than being glued to the latest Coronavirus news, reaching out to an organization you care about will help you stay focused on a goal, while also feeling good about what you are doing.
If you would like to discuss these and other marketing ideas in light of your individual business situation, I offer a free 30-minute consultation. Please reach out by email: [email protected] or text 415-250-1347. Thank you.
Carolyn Kohler is an SEO writer who specializes in helping businesses get found online. Her company is Website Wordsmith, and she is located in the San Francisco Bay Area.