- Create a 6 Month Mini Business Plan – who knows how long we’ll be dealing with covid and it’s effects so be proactive and create a 6 month plan, laying out things like cash reserves, projected income and expenses, strategies to undertake, staff to hire back and what that looks like, safety measures etc.
Figure out what your company’s new normal will look like and try to plan as much as possible for the immediate future. This doesn’t have to be a formal business plan, just get your thoughts on paper so that you have some idea of where you’re heading and what you need to do.
- Make the Shift Online – whether your business can go fully online or not, make sure you explore all the ways your company could reach customers online. Get innovative with tools like Zoom and Skype and figure out how to serve customers in their homes. This could very well turn into an additional revenue stream beyond covid.
Think beyond just selling products online. Can people order online and get it delivered? What about telephone ordering? What about delivery options? Or curbside delivery if that works for your business? Or take-out or pick-up options? What about offering a membership service where you send your customers something every month? Can you put on a webinar where you showcase how to use one of your products and then offer a discount for anyone on the webinar who buys?
- Network…..Virtually – until business gets back to pre-covid levels, you might have to do some things that you never liked doing before or have simply not tried. Networking might be one of those things. If you’ve never liked going to networking events, mingling and talking business with people, good. Because you won’t be going to these events in person, the post-covid way is to attend virtually (just remember to wear pants).
- Website Popup – add a popup to your site to let people know your business’ covid hours and / or precautions you’re taking. Make sure to keep it updated with any new information including when you’re back to normal business hours. For WordPress sites, try the free WP Popup or Popup Maker plugin for this.
- Update, Optimize & Post to your GMB page – Google has added a special covid-19 post type so that you can keep your customers updated via your company’s Google My Business page. As with the popup on your site, you should use it to keep everyone up to date throughout this pandemic.
This is also the time to make sure that your GMB page is fully optimized. This includes filling out all of the available fields and adding video and images (geo-tagged if possible) as well as listing your products and / or services.
- Check your Online Presence – This is a great exercise if you’ve never done it for your company before. Google your company name and go through all the listings, making sure that everything is up to date, all the directories have the correct information and there’s nothing popping up in the first 3-5 pages that you wouldn’t want others to see.
Try to look at the listings through your customers’ eyes. Click on every listing that shows your company name and analyze the content. Does something need changing? Should you add images? Make note of any issues (such as incorrect info, missing or no reviews etc) and make sure to go back and fix them.
- Reach out for Reviews – everyone wants to help local businesses through this and one way they can do that is by leaving great online reviews for your company. Reach out to past customers asking them to leave a review on popular platforms such as your Google My Business page, Facebook and Better Business Bureau.
If you don’t have any type of review acquisition process in place, you can do it the old fashioned way and just send out requests for a Google review via your Google My Business page link (get the link inside your GMB page). The review link looks like this: https://g.page/IdeaZone/review?rc
(Feel free to write us a review!)
- Repurpose Content – think about all the areas where you have created content before. Presentations, meeting notes, white papers, speech notes, old blog content, site pages, PDFs etc. What you’re trying to do here is come up with a list of content assets that you can repurpose and use for new blog and social media posts.
If your company has been posting regular blog posts pre-covid, reuse those old posts by posting them to your social media platforms. Simply write a synopsis of the blog post and add the link to read more. Engage with people who interact with your posts!
To save time, schedule social media posts by using a service such as Hootsuite, Publer or Buffer. Don’t forget to add your Google My Business page to the list of social platforms you post to. An example here would be to repost old blog posts on FB and GMB or break up a top 10 list and post one item per day. Or take that presentation you gave and turn it into a value-packed blog post or lead magnet. Creating a content calendar might help here (you can use Google Calendar for this or download a template from the net).
- Start / Get Better at Email Marketing – email marketing has always been a great way to reach out to your customers and prospects. It’s also a good way to get people to return to your website time and time again. If you haven’t started an email list, start one. You can use a free autoresponder such as Mailchimp.
If you already have an email list, you’re likely not using it to it’s full potential. Use this time to write out evergreen content that you can send out week after week or month after month once new prospects / customers are added to your list.
- Engage with your Customers – put more of your company’s focus on engagement. Post-covid is all about the consumer. Get to know them, answer their questions and / or concerns, help them out…and do it on the platforms that they’re comfortable on, whether that’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or via email or blog comments.
- Gift Certificates / Donations / Pre-Purchases – people want to buy locally and support their community so make it easy for them to do so. Do you have a simple way that customers can purchase gift certificates and make donations via your website? Note that your company’s Google My Business page has a new feature where you can post links to where customers can purchase gift certificates or make a donation.
What about setting up a pre-purchase program where you give a discount for people to purchase something from your store once it’s ready or whenever you re-open?
- Update your Refund Policy – if covid has changed the way your company does business, maybe it’s also affected your refund policy. If this is the case, make sure that it is clearly stated on your site and in your store. This is not the time to make enemies.
- Charging a Covid Fee – if your business is going to start charging a covid fee to help cover the extra expenses associated with cleaning and sanitizing, make sure you have a sign posted somewhere (and on your site) that explains the rationale behind it, what it’s covering etc. While some customers won’t blink an eye, others will…unless you explain why you’re charging them more
The last point to make here is that you’ll need to be patient. Social distancing and a client base that will be overly cautious will mean a slow restart. This will not be business as usual for some time.
In addition to the above points, make sure you review the WorkSafe BC Covid-19 Safety Plan Checklist
If you’d like to download a printable version of the checklist, fill in the form below and we’ll send you the PDF.
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