COVID-19 Small Business Survival Guide

Table of Contents

7 tips to help you improve your online presence so you can emerge from the challenges of today with a stronger, more resilient business.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented businesses with unprecedented challenges.

For some small businesses, establishing an online presence wasn’t a top priority, but recent shifts have forced business owners to make quick changes to their operations and strategies.

We understand that you may not have the gift of steady cash flow right now, but you have the gift of time. And there’s no better time than right now to improve your online presence.

To help businesses make this transition we created this COVID-19 Small Business Survival Guide. These are our top seven tips to help you improve their online presence and stay engaged with customers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Here’s how you can get started right now.

How to Optimize Your Digital Presence During COVID-19

#1 Optimize Your Website

Your website is the foundation for everything you do online and in today’s world, it’s the foundation for your entire business.

A whopping 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. If your website slips up at any point, users have made it clear that they won’t tolerate it.

Here are a few things to focus on:

  • Have a clear and obvious primary call to action (i.e. Buy Now, Book a Call, Schedule an Appointment)
  • Make sure all of your content is up to date and that you have a banner or pop up for any COVID-19 messaging.
  • Simplify your navigation by keeping the number of menu items on the lower end (realistically between five and seven)

#2 Take Advantage of Local SEO

As COVID-19 shuts down businesses, more people are turning to Google to ensure businesses are even open during these uncertain times.

Local SEO is very effective when marketing your local business online. Many searches have local intent – meaning that the searcher is looking for a business located close by to buy from (i.e. grocery store near me).

Here are some local SEO tips to promote your business:

  • Get your business on Google My Business (GMB)
  • Post photos and offers to your GMB profile to show what makes your business unique
  • Make sure your name, address, and phone number match across all digital properties (i.e. your website, GMB, Yelp, etc.)

Check out our guide on how to set up your Google My Business page for FAST results for more details.

#3 Engage Customers on Social Media

By now you already know that people are looking to your website and Google to see if your business is open. Many others will try to find your most recent posts on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

If they can’t find you on social, they’re less likely to trust you’re still open. Social media tools give businesses the chance to show up for new or returning customers 

Here are some tips to get engagement on social media:

  • Create a free business page on Facebook
  • At the top of your page, add a call-to-action that directs your visitors to do something, like visit your website or call your store.
  • Add a profile and cover photo. Many businesses choose to use their logo as a profile photo. For the cover photo, choose an image of your store, products, or one from a current marketing campaign.

#4 Use Existing Channels to Communicate

Businesses have the opportunity to include information about safety measures, the handling of customer inquiries, any expected delays and more on existing channels like a company website or customer emails. 

During a time when businesses might be getting many of the same questions about what hours they’re open and what services are available, drafting templated responses will come in handy to help respond to high volumes of inquiries in a streamlined way that saves time. 

Here’s how you can use your website to communicate effectively:

  • Create a COVID-19 landing page on your website that talks about your company’s thoughts and measure on handling Coronavirus
  • Use a top banner (similar to a discount banner) to add a link leading to your COVID-19 landing page
  • Use a pop-up to display a message or promotion that keeps prospects and customers engaged with your site

#5 Offer Your Products and Services Online

At a time where businesses have had to close their storefronts and offices, digital tools can help businesses transition to selling their products and services online.

Fitness studios are offering online classes so people can work out without leaving home, physical therapists are hosting online sessions to help alleviate aches and pains, and dentists are offering online consultations.

Here are some tips and tools to pivot your business online:

  • Use video conferencing tools such as Zoom to host online meetings and e-commerce platforms like Shopify to sell your products online.
  • Ask yourself, “How else can I serve my audience in valuable ways?” This simple question can help you discover new revenue streams.
  • Stop overthinking and start taking ACTION. Now is the time you need to be moving quickly to ensure your business survives.

#6 Build an Email List

Mailing lists enable retailers and service providers to inform customers about promotions and remind them about the value that they provide. They get customers to visit your website, storefronts, and to make purchases.

If you have an email list today you could: email existing customers to pivot your message, email new and existing customers to announce a new offering, and email helpful information and remind people you exist.

Here are some tips to help you build an email list:

  • Create an exit-intent pop-up on your website
  • Offer a discount or freebie in exchange for their email
  • Replace your email signature with a call to action that prompts readers to sign up for your email list

#7 Tell Customers How They Can Spend Money With You

Once you’ve adapted your business to bring in revenue online, you need to make sure everyone knows about it. Start with your biggest customers first, and reach out to them directly.

If shifting your business to online sales isn’t possible, begin publicizing specials and promotions for when things stabilize later. Focus on your future customers now. 

Here are some tips to communicate how customers can spend money with you:

  • Leverage social media and email newsletters to communicate, and even over-communicate how people can support your business
  • If your business is completely shut down like a salon or barbershop, tell customers to purchase gift cards for a future date. To sweeten the deal, think about how you can offer something of additional value to the customer but cost you little or nothing to produce (i.e. free neck shave or blowdry) 
  • Start getting the word out now about any post-coronavirus promotions or that you will be open for business whenever your customers need you

Bonus: Create a Leaner, More Efficient Business With Technology and Automation

With the unique circumstances we’re all facing working from home, it’s given exposure to a host of new tools we might not have known about before. Everything from using email autoresponders to automated workflows can have a big impact on how you and your team operate.

The opportunity is to use this time to think about how you might digitize and use technology and automation to make your business leaner and more efficient.

Here are tips to help you create a leaner more efficient business:

  • Create email automations for repetitive tasks such as a welcome sequence when people join your list or purchase a product
  • Free up time in your day by offering online booking with tools such as Calendly or Acquity.
  • Use tools like Zapier to move info between web apps automatically, so you can focus on your most important work. 

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed our COVID-19 Survival Guide for Small Businesses.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which of the tips from today’s guide are you going to try first?

Are you going to work on optimizing your website?

Or focus on offering your products and services online?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below or get in touch right now with any questions you have.

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Jason Garcia New Oceans Digital

Hey, I’m Jason Garcia – founder of New Oceans Digital.

I’m a digital marketer and a certified conversion optimization expert.

That means I’m passionate about driving revenue growth by improving website performance.

Every 2 weeks I send a newsletter with actionable growth tips for outdoor brands in 5 minutes or less.