Reopening a business after the coronavirus shutdown can be a daunting task, especially with the pandemic still raging and no vaccine or cure in sight. We truly are living in an age where you have to balance your hardships. Things may not be normal, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a new normal that you can adapt to and work with – especially in regards to your business.
There is a lot to take on with reopening a business in the midst of a pandemic. Health and safety concerns aside, your biggest challenge will be communication, and the three most important things you will need to communicate are:
- Making sure your customers or clients know you are open for business
- Explaining to your staff and the general public how you are handling current health and safety concerns
- Offering clear information for your staff and customers on your current procedures for doing business.
Health and Safety Concerns
Before you open your business up to staff and the public, do your research on what steps to take to ensure everyone’s health and safety. To be clear, we are an internet marketing and web development company – health and safety are not something we are comfortable giving advice on. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) however has created a wealth of resources to help you monitor Covid-19 and keep you, your customers, and your staff safe.
The key here is to not cut corners. Learn and follow all health guidelines and make sure your staff does the same. Once you have done that, it’s on to the marketing – and that’s where we can help.
Update your Website
The very first thing you should do (if you haven’t done it already) is to make it clear you are open for business on the homepage of your website. If you are a few weeks out from reopening, give the date of reopening boldly on your homepage and change this to a “We’re open!” message as soon as you do open up.
It is also a good idea to have a page clearly marked in your navigation that details the precautions you are taking to ensure the health of your customers, staff, and the community. If your site has a blog, posting about how you are handling the pandemic and how you are safely serving customers or clients can also go a long way to establish rapport and trust with those seeking information about your business.
Reach Customers via Social Media
As a web marketing company, we often advise clients not to overemphasize organic posting on social media at the expense of skipping paid advertising. Organic business posts generally are seen by far far fewer potential customers compared to paid ads.
However, in this age of Covid-19, customers are now actively seeking information about which businesses are open and what protocols are in place. For the time being, keeping that business social pages and profiles active with up-to-date information and organic posts is critical for those customers wanting to know those three important things we mentioned at the beginning of this article. So, for now, posting organically is a great way of letting people know that you are not only open, but actively doing business with satisfied customers who both feel safe and trust you.
You can learn some more great social media tips here: How To Leverage Social Media During The Coronavirus Shutdown
Okay, so here’s where we make the case for advertising on social media. Paid social advertising (especially Facebook) can offer very granular targeting, including geographic and very particular demographic information. What this means is that if you know who your ideal customer is, you can target them specifically via social media. And it is much more affordable than almost any other type of advertising! What a great way to announce your reopening and reach new potential customers at a very same time.
Another type of internet advertising you should consider is search ads on Google or Bing. Even if your website is ranking highly for common search terms in your industry, paying for an ad that says “yes, we are open” can answer the one question many searchers are looking for: “Who is open?”
Update Your Internet Listings
Another critical yet very simple thing a lot of businesses neglect doing is updating their internet listings. These are things that show up in search on both mobile and desktop like Google and Bing business listings, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Trip Advisor.
There are thousands of listing services out there, so don’t get too bogged down in this. Focus on the top five that are important to your industry and area. Make sure your business information is correct, but also look for places to update business hours and/or make notes about hours and protocols affected by coronavirus.
Leverage Mobile Wherever/Whenever Possible
Before the coronavirus pandemic, people were on their phones nearly non-stop using them to post to social media, get the news, find a restaurant or other local business, check the weather and a whole host of other things. Since the pandemic, people still are doing the same things on their phones, but they are also using their phones to navigate transactions more than ever and looking for more granular information on functioning in a post-covid world.
Businesses and consumers both are leveraging mobile in new ways, not only to reach potential customers, but also to conduct business. There are some great new affordable solutions that can enable your customer to communicate with you via text through your website. For example, maybe you have already had the experience of ordering online before going to a restaurant to pick up your food and receiving a text message when your food was ready. Maybe you had a question and conveniently could then text with the restaurant and get an immediate response.
Services like this make communication with customers a breeze along for less frustration and greater trust in this era of Covid-19. There are an infinite range of possibilities with SMS text platforms, so give us a call if you have more questions. You can also read our more in depth blog post: How To Leverage Mobile During The Coronavirus Shutdown
If you have the resources, there is no time like the present to engage in community outreach. With a tremendous amount of people out of work and immense challenges just navigating day-to-day life for people everywhere, businesses that step up to the plate with solutions and help are quickly recognized and appreciated in their community.
Community outreach doesn’t have to cost much. Money is tight these days, so if you have a limited budget, think outside the box on how your business could provide goods or services that could be helpful. Bottom line is that it’s a great way to market your reopening. Do a little good for your community and build appreciation and trust for your brand. Plus, there are all the warm fuzzy feelings you get for doing something good for your community. It’s a win-win situation!
Realize Business Opportunities
We’ve saved this business tip for last, but it is without a doubt the most important. While your business may be experiencing a lot of financial hardship and logistical challenges right now, so are your competitor’s businesses. You could think of this as an opportunity to retool and grow stronger, rather than panic and wither on the vine.
Adapting and moving forward confidently is the key here. Our blog, Retooling Your Business For Post Covid-19 offers more in depth tips on navigating a small business through the pandemic. For the foreseeable future, this is our new reality, so the sooner we adjust and move forward, the better.
If you need help retooling your business or getting your marketing cranked back up after shutdown, our team can help! Give us a call at (941) 548-9950 or fill out the webform below!