So much has changed in the past few weeks and it’s more important than ever to have a strong online presence during these uncertain times. You might be wondering if you should even be marketing your business during this time – and yes, you still should! Even if that means just checking in with your audience to let them know know you’re still here for them.
Just because people aren’t spending like they used to, continuing to market your small business online keeps you at the forefront of your audience’s mind. So once non-essential businesses start reopening, they’ll choose you over the competition, not a business they haven’t heard from.
Even if you’re working with little to no budget, here’s how you can use existing tools and resources in new ways to make the most out of your digital marketing strategy during COVID-19.
Simple Ways to Market Your Small Business Online
Update Your Google My Business Profile
When people google your business, it should be the first thing that pops up in search results (or at least be somewhere on the first page). Verifying your Google My Business listing is an easy way to boost your organic ranking and continue reaching your audience. It’s a free business profile on Google that includes business information like your hours, location, phone number and website.
Use additional Google My Business features to update your special hours (or mark your business as temporarily closed) and modify your description to include how COVID-19’s affecting your business. Your Google business profile’s also another platform to share your website blog posts, upcoming online events or limited time offers to keep your audience engaged.
Host an Online Event
With pretty much all in-person events cancelled, businesses are taking the show online, making it the new normal for interacting with each other while social distancing. Whether it’s educational sessions, webinars or private meeting rooms, many businesses have converted their in-person events by using video conferencing platforms like Zoom, WebEx or even Facebook Lives to get people together.
Even if you weren’t planning an in-person event, hosting one let’s your audience feel connected with you even though they can’t physically be there. The good thing is you don’t need to spend big bucks for renting out an event space, registration fees or sponsorship commitments. You could offer a mix of live streamed and pre-recorded content to keep people coming back and get them engaged with features like real-time polling, quizzes and chat boxes. Plus, you can always repurpose the content for later.
Move Your Product or Service Online
It’s not business as usual when you’re used to relying on foot traffic and in-person services to make money, so you’ve got to be flexible enough to make things work. Maybe that’s starting an online store if you sell physical products, moving regular client meetings online or providing virtual one-on-one consultations.
Start selling your products online by using WooCommerce for WordPress, Shopify, Etsy or even a simple contact form. You don’t have to build an eCommerce store to take your business online – promote gift cards, take pre-orders or create an online training. For online meetings, Calendly‘s great for call scheduling and Zoom‘s a popular video call option. But if you’re looking for an affordable all-in-one platform, MeetFox let’s people easily book a time in your calendar, host video calls and even automate invoicing so you can get paid.
Just so you know, I’ll make a commission if you make a purchase using my affiliate links. I only recommend products and services that I personally use and I think will add value to your own business. MeetFox‘s one of those services, so go check them out!
Collaborate With Other Businesses
There’s no better time to come together and help your community navigate these challenging times. Small businesses are reaching out to their audience, local organizations and even other businesses to find ways to support each other during this time of need.
Whether that looks like making monetary donations to a relief fund, volunteering in your community, offering free limited time services or partnering with struggling businesses who temporarily closed up shop, find ways to serve your community. Of course I know you’re not helping your community just for the gram, but it does make for shareable content and people love sharing the good that small businesses are doing. The exposure you get for your business and the new audiences you reach are just a plus.
Engage with Your Audience on Social Media
More people are spending time online than ever before so up your social media game and maintain those relationships. Aside from answering COVID-19 customer questions, take this opportunity to shift your social media marketing approach by providing helpful educational content, reinforcing all the ways you can help and just sharing posts from other small businesses.
Go live on Instagram or Facebook to answer questions from your comments, do a giveaway (maybe gift cards supporting other small businesses) to encourage engagement or offer a free training to get people on your email list. With people in the mood to support local businesses, you might want to ask your existing clients or customers for those testimonials, too.
Continue to Check in With Your Community
Digital marketing has always had an incredible impact on creating brand awareness for small businesses and now’s the time to get in on it if it wasn’t a priority. And while these easy to implement digital marketing strategies can help your business adapt to this challenging transition, the main thing is that you’re being helpful to your audience.
Instead of focusing on conversions and sales, take this down time to create community, build your brand and relationships with your existing clients or customers. It also helps to redefine what digital marketing looks like for your small business in the post-COVID future.