The pandemic has the business world reeling. From the largest corporation to the smallest mom-and-pop joints, everything is affected, from the way we network to how we do business and keep our communities prosperous. If you’re struggling to keep your small business afloat, there are ways to weather the storm—and perhaps even turn things around so you thrive.
Social distancing changed how we’re conducting our daily activities in a multitude of ways, and the internet has proven to be a lifeline to small businesses and their clientele alike. There are many internet-related business solutions you can turn to, and the list begins with an e-commerce website.
If you run a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment, the transition to e-commerce will take some doing, but with a little planning, you’ll be set up for success. You’ll want your website to include appropriate features and functions, like a shopping cart, links to your social media pages, blog push notifications, and contact information. A Level Up Design & Media can help you with creating your website quickly, saving you the time, money, and energy of trying to DIY a solution and ending up with a site that’s less than adequate.
Another e-commerce aspect to consider is having your own app. A stand-alone mobile app offers a plethora of key benefits to small businesses. It’s a chance to build customer loyalty and tailor your marketing efforts directly to your clientele, capitalizing on their web and spending habits. You also amplify your visibility. Since you’re just a simple tap away, you can become their go-to.
Delivery of Products and Services
Keep in mind that since you won’t have customers heading to a cash wrap counter, you’ll need to decide how you want to handle shipping and fulfillment. You can DIY the process, or you can hire a third party to tackle it on your behalf. Explore your shipping options to provide a good value to your customers, and remember that while you probably won’t be able to offer next-day shipping in the current climate, a decent turnaround time at a reasonable price will often more than satisfy your customers.
Similarly, those running service-based businesses can change their delivery method if they haven’t already done so. For instance, consultations can be performed online, in a similar fashion to telemedicine. Salons and spas can focus on selling related products for the time being, offer gift certificates, and even sell T-shirts and other promotional items featuring their logo. This way, you not only generate some income, you’re building marketing into your sales.
Gone are the days of Yellow Pages ads, and until travel picks up, almost nobody is seeing billboards. With social distancing measures in place, social media has taken on an increasingly significant role in people’s lives, and in the lives of small business owners. Small Business Trends explains that it’s an ideal place to connect with your customers, especially right now. With everyone cooped up inside, use is up dramatically, and it only makes sense to make it a part of your business’s marketing strategies.
Social media provides your followers with the opportunity to get to know you more personally, and you can chat and comment with them, deepening the relationship and connection they feel with you. You can highlight new products and services, answer questions, and share information about your reopening, create a new website, and so forth.
While the obvious outreach via social media channels is to post blurbs about your business, you can use it in other ways as well. Consider hosting a live event, for instance. Think about how it can mesh with your products and services. Bars are able to host trivia nights, boutiques can offer live sales, and musicians can perform for their followers. Having professional social media management can be a huge advantage.
While it’s tempting to just try to use your smartphone’s camera for your broadcasts, for a more professional presentation, plan to set up some gear in your home or workplace for live events and other video recordings. Some lighting, an appropriate camera, microphone, and so forth, will make all the difference in producing a quality video to impress your followers and translate into sales. You can also opt for professional video and photography that can not only be used socially, but also make your website interactive through 360 degree photography and AR (augmented reality) services that are extremely affordable.
This option can open up a world of marketing and advertising options you may have had interest in, but didn’t know how to accomplish. In turn, this opens the door to your own video channel for your business. An advantage to recorded videos is the ability to control the output more cleanly, so you can highlight different aspects of your business than you might in a live presentation, and if you don’t like how something comes out, it’s easy enough to edit it accordingly.
Adapt Your Space
When the guidelines limiting travel were released, did you close your doors indefinitely? Depending on where you live and how quickly the nation recovers, you’ll need to reopen. Now is the time to think about what that might entail.
As CNN explains, stores are struggling to get masks for their workers, so you might want to consider what solutions are at your disposal. You can make them yourself or order them through crafters, or you might be able to source them online when the need isn’t so great.
In-house, many retailers and other small businesses have installed plastic shields to enhance employee and customer safety. Some stores have taped lines on the floors and hung signs to indicate where lines can form and where customers can wait their turn. Offices might need to space desks more broadly, and restaurants might need to spread out booths and tables. If you haven’t reopened yet, contemplate what reopening could mean for you so you have a plan.
Lastly, you need to determine what cleaning and disinfecting solutions are necessary for your small business. Executing government guidelines involves some planning and, just like with masks, some cleaning products are difficult to come by. If that situation continues, you need to decide if you will hire a cleaning service or attempt to acquire products sufficient to keep up a routine.
Keeping your small business afloat during the pandemic is challenging, but it’s far from impossible. Ensure you have your products and services available in a format customers can obtain, have a strategy for delivery, market wisely, and prepare for resuming operations. Things may or may not return to how they once were, but either way, you’ll be ready.
To help position your business for growth, turn to the digital marketing services of A Level Up Design & Media. We can take your vision and create the best user experience that will level up your business.