How Your Small Business Can Survive and Thrive During COVID
I’ve been a web designer and internet marketer for over 17 years. I thought I had seen everything—the formidable challenges of the 2008 Recession, the intense demands of a global marketplace, and the fast-changing technologies and brilliant ideas that continuously re-shape our online world. I felt confident about the ways my skills and experience were helping my clients build their businesses. Life was good.
And then the year 2020 arrived. Ironically, the numbers 20/20 symbolize perfect vision and clarity. Instead, 2020 shattered our normal lives, shook our faith, and brought many businesses to their knees. The alarming pandemic effects will be with us through most, if not all of 2021. Now it is time to get creative and explore some business-building options during this trying time.
Business Strategies for Rebounding
Many of these 20 strategies are free with an investment of your time, while others require small, monetary investments. You may be employing several of these business-building, marketing strategies already. Our hope is for you to explore a few more ways to recapture lost revenue and build a more recession-proof business. See which ones make sense for you.
1. Start networking in your community.
Networking is the most cost-effective form of marketing available to entrepreneurs, start-up businesses, and companies new to the community. Begin by joining local chambers of commerce and networking groups, and go to their meetings. Your small investment in membership fees and time spent at meetings will pay off over the coming months. Additionally, list your company in online directories where you can be found by prospective customers.
2. Re-evaluate your pricing structure.
In our uncertain economy, customers and prospects welcome special deals. Review your products and services and see if it makes sense to reduce prices or create limited-time offers. Consider bundling products and services at a lower price. Create new, cheaper products and services. Offer short-term intensive programs at lower prices. Offer a COVID discount. Introduce convenient payment plans.
3. Take extra-good care of your current clients and customers.
Listen to them, and be responsive to their concerns. Create special offers and programs exclusively for them.
4. Market more often to your customers and prospects in low-cost ways.
Provide a steady flow of free information for your target markets that addresses their problems, questions, and concerns. Show them how you can help them, including:
- Write regular, SEO blog posts on timely, informative topics.
- Post links to your blog articles on your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (etc) pages.
- Create an informative, weekly or monthly newsletter, and email it to your in-house list.
- Trade space in other companies’ e-newsletters. Offer to “share” e-newsletter space and social postings to cross-promote each other’s business offerings.
5. Freshen and enhance your website content.
Use this time to write! Add SEO blog posts to your site. Expand your service pages. Feature customer testimonials and case studies. Add more photos. Search engines reward websites that regularly produce fresh content with higher visibility 1n the SERPS (search engine result pages).
6. Review your website’s stats.
If your website is connected to a good statistics program, or you use 3rd-party programs, review your traffic. See which phrases and pages are performing well and make sure those pages and posts are stellar. Also, see which phrases and pages are close to page 1 and implement strategic content changes to get them moving in the right direction.
7. Experience the marketing power of long-tail keywords.
Research fresh, keyword phrases. Don’t join the battle of expensive highly-competitive, generic keywords like “women’s shoes.” Instead, look for more specific, long-tail keyword phrases like “women’s size 10 wide shoes 3-inch heels.” These less-competitive keywords will attract new leads with minimal time and expense. Solid keyword research can uncover a goldmine of highly productive keyword phrases for your website. Long-tail keyword phrases may have less traffic, but their ROI can be much higher. Prospective buyers searching with long-tail keywords are easier to convert and are more serious about buying what you are selling.
8. Boost your Facebook Posts
Boosting FB posts is easy and cheap. Give these proven strategies a try in your local market:
- Boost to grow your page likes and followers
- Boost to send targeted traffic to your web pages
- Boost to get people to call your business
- Boost to get people to sign up for a newsletter or a program
9. Offer remote services.
Utilize remote services to reach out to your prospects and customers in the virtual world. Be prepared to handle remote interviews, work sessions, webinars, and Zoom calls.
10. Create an affiliate program for your products and services.
Affiliate marketing is a revenue-sharing, billion-dollar business model used by thousands of businesses online. The goal is to financially reward other people for promoting your products and services. Your affiliates earn commissions on sales made by their referral efforts. Payments to your affiliates can be a fixed dollar amount per sale or a percentage. The entire affiliate marketing process is automated and is a perfect “make money while you sleep” way of generating income. Explore your offerings and determine if an affiliate marketing program is a good fit for your business. Setting up an affiliate program on your website takes time and money, but it is not cost-prohibitive. For some businesses, it can dramatically increase your profits.
11. Add affiliate links to your website.
This marketing strategy focuses on promoting other businesses’ products and services on your website via affiliate links embedded in your website content. Amazon has an Affiliate program. Other Affiliate marketplaces include ShareASale, CJ (Commission Junction), and Clickbank. This approach can be very profitable for your company if you follow these critical guidelines:
- High-quality content. You must have high-quality content on your website that easily connects with your target markets, excites them, and motivates them to take action and become customers. High-quality content builds trust and increases sales.
- Compatible affiliate-links. Your affiliate-links should be a good fit for your business with products and services that are compatible with your business’ offerings. Affiliate-link marketing on your website is performance-based and trackable. Every time a prospect clicks on an affiliate link and buys that product, you automatically receive a commission.
12. Pursue joint ventures
Reach out to complementary, but not competitive, business owners to join forces, collaborate, and work together to grow your own business and your partner’s business.
13. Offer personalized commissions
Think about prominent people in your sphere of influence or loyal clients and customers who may be interested in earning a commission for referring business to you.
14. Expand into more social networks.
Set up new social media accounts that are easy to manage, like Twitter, Tumblr, Liker, and Pinterest. If you are already posting, you can spend a few more minutes cross-posting in other social accounts you run.
15. Volunteer with local non-profits.
Volunteering helps non-profits increase their reach in your community. It also provides opportunities for you to meet other prominent, local citizens who may become key contacts in your business and personal life.
16. Don’t get sloppy.
Be the consummate professional in all your business dealings. Stay sharp and respect your customers’ time by showing up promptly and professionally dressed for virtual meetings. Your equipment should be in good, working order. Your backdrop should always be tidy and professional. No children or pets allowed!
17. Track your marketing efforts’ effectiveness.
You need to keep track of the costs of every marketing campaign, the number of new and repeat customers, and the revenue generated. This vital information will help you build on your marketing successes and better understand and improve the under-performers.
18. Add eCommerce to your website.
Add an eCommerce function to your website so that clients can pay online. Make it easy for customers to do business with your company. Provide a local pickup option for items that clients would normally have to order through the mail and wait days to receive.
19. Add a scheduler/calendar to your website.
Avoid frustrating telephone tag and email tag by adding a convenient, online scheduler/calendar for clients and prospects who request a private consultation with you. This lets them choose a time that best suits them.
Add freebies, perks, or unexpected bonuses to customer purchases. Delight them with value-added surprises that show you care.
How to begin rebounding
Rebounding is all about simply making a start. Don’t be overwhelmed by this long list of marketing ideas. Make a start with one strategy that appeals to you most and fits with your goals. It’s exciting to realize that some of these strategies only take your time, not your money. Be empowered, knowing that these marketing ideas can help get your business back on track.
Need help implementing some of these features into your website? Give Charlotte a call at (928) 300-9147 today!