No doubt you’ve read a million social media posts, blogs, articles and emails about how to get your business through the current coronavirus pandemic. Some people are telling you to pivot your business, others might think shutting down temporarily, or even permanently, is the best solution. But if you’re wondering how to get in front of your customers in a crisis, know that there are some clear, and often free, ways to be visible online.
And while this post might not be reinventing the wheel, it does round up some super simple and quick ways that you can get in front of your customers in a crisis.
Update Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business remains one of the best tools you can use to be found online at no cost.
Check the information on your listing is still valid for the current climate. If you need to update your opening hours, contact information or business offerings, do so. If they are temporary, diarise a reminder in your calendar to review this after a defined period.
If you haven’t got a GMB listing, set one up now! There may well be a delay in getting your verification postcard though so be aware of this before you start.
Use Google My Business Posts
Are you using GMB posts on a regular basis? These can make your listings larger and give you more chances to communicate with your audience on Google.
You can provide updates, share photos, videos, offers, events and products.
Think of them as your Google social media posts. Whatever you might post on Facebook or Instagram, can be shared on GMB as well. There are some character limitations though so if your Facebook post is super long, you may have to shorten it for GMB.
Posts are a great way to share new information and updates with your audience quickly and simply, without having to edit your actual listing.
Post Regularly On Your Social Channels
Being visible on social media is so important in this time. Not only are more people trying to be seen and heard, but there is more competition from news channels as well. People are consuming so much of their news on Google social media channels – so much so that Australia is taking on Google and Facebook to make them pay for news content.
While you might be thinking that people don’t need to hear from you at a time like this, they most certainly do, for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the less frequently you post, the harder it’s going to be to reach people when you do start posting again.
Secondly, we all need to remember that life goes on, and if you run a business that is still needed, still being sought out, engaged with, and you’re still operating, your customers need you.
And how will they remember you if you aren’t present on your usual online channels including social media?
So think about what might be relevant to post, but don’t feel guilty about posting.
Write Blog Posts To Answer Your Client’s Questions
With many people spending more time at home and less time travelling or at work, online searches are on the rise. And that means now is the time to create content like blog posts to address the kind of search terms that your audience would search for.
According to a recent report from Think With Google, searches for DIY have spiked globally in the last few weeks. Other search terms seeing a big rise in the last few weeks include “home delivery”, “homemade hand sanitizer” and “rental relief”.
Searches that include “with me” have also risen massively, as people create content like ‘cook with me’ and ‘workout with me’.
So taking these trends into account, think about what kind of content you can create that answers the questions that people would want to know about your business.
If you’re a restaurant, why not share some recipe blogs?
If you’re a personal trainer or local gym, create some posts around some home workouts your clients can do while the distancing rules are still in place.
If you’re a real estate agent, make sure you communicate with your tenants and landlords as to the latest state regulations and legislation. You can do this through blog posts, social posts, email newsletters and more.
Stop Avoiding Video
While I am definitely included in this category, we can’t avoid video forever! It’s a great way to get in front of your audience – both on your own website, and also on social media channels like YouTube, Facebook and IGTV.
Video adds a human element to your business and reminds people that you aren’t a faceless corporate machine, but a person aiming to offer the best service and products they can.
Short and sweet videos are just as good as longer, polished ones, so don’t think you need to create the perfect video all the time. Sometimes a quick Facebook live on the fly does just as well as that 10 minute in depth interview video that’s been edited to within an inch of its life.
Use Relevant Hashtags
When using social channels, don’t forget to add hashtags. They’re most common on Instagram but can be used sparingly on Facebook and YouTube as well.
Hashtags can be a great way to be seen on trending topics but make sure the ones you use are relevant to your posts and images. Don’t be one of those people who just adds random hashtags to be seen. It’s about engagement with the right people, not visibility with any old person.
Run Remarketing On Google
A really cheap way to stay front of mind with your audience is to run remarketing on the Google display network.
This is where you show ads to people who’ve already visited your website as they browse online. Your ads can appear anywhere that allows Google Ads to show – sites like Gumtree, local and national news websites, weather sites, YouTube, as well as apps, blogs, directories and beyond!
The best thing about remarketing is your ads have the potential to appear thousands of times a day (depending on your number of website visitors of course) but you won’t pay a cent until someone clicks on your ad.
Costs per click are often under $1, and most of my Google Ads management clients pay around $20-50 a month for remarketing.
It really is one of the most affordable ways to be seen online.
Engage With Your Audiences
There’s not much point in being present online and then not talking to anyone. So make sure you actually engage with your audience.
When people comment on your Facebook posts, reply.
When people react to your Instagram story, DM them to say thanks or start a conversation.
If someone messages your page, for the love of God reply to them in a timely manner.
And when someone takes the time to comment on your blog post, do reply to them – it takes A LOT of effort for people to comment on websites these days so that, my friends, is a dedicated follower (and potential client) right there!
Develop A New Proposition
Is it just me or does the word of the month seem to be ‘pivot’?
Everyone and anyone who is involved in any form of marketing is talking about pivoting your business in order to survive.
But before you do that, think it through.
Do you really NEED to pivot?
Pivoting involves a really big change to how you operate. Is there something you could do to tweak your offering, or expand it, rather than completely changing what you already do, and probably do really well.
Instead of dropping everything you already do and know, think about how to make changes that mean you can carry on operating safely without a potentially huge financial investment or risk. If you do need to make changes, what ones will bring you the most return quickly?
There’s no point making a $10k temporary change to your business if you know you won’t see any return on it for months.
Options are going to vary depending on your niche, but some examples could be:
Fitness niche – Moving to online classes temporarily instead of face to face
Restaurants – Offering take away and delivery instead of in-house dining during social distancing requirements
Marketing – Offering virtual workshops online instead of in person
Real Estate – Doing virtual home opens via video link instead of in person
Fashion – Making PPE for individuals and the healthcare sector
I love the saying:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Don’t think you’re in this alone.
So many others are too – pretty much the whole world. While some sectors might be booming like video conferencing software and online fitness classes, many are sadly struggling.
Reach out to complementary businesses and find a way you might be able to collaborate.
I’ve read about several businesses collaborating such as an ice-cream store that teamed up with a record shop to offer home delivered ice-cream and records for an awesome night in.
Another was a wedding makeup artist who lost all her bookings overnight when social distancing was introduced. She is now looking at starting a YouTube channel sharing what she’s learnt in the industry and pass on that knowledge to others, that could potentially be monetized later on.
While they might not always be obvious, with a bit of brainstorming and outreach, you could just come across something amazing that hasn’t been done before.
And that’s just a few ways you can get in front of your customers in a crisis – corona-related or otherwise.
How are you going during this pandemic? Has your business been affected?
If you’re looking for some guidance on your online marketing strategy, get in touch with me now and I can let you know what your best pathway through this crisis will be.