With an entire nation on virtual lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, business owners have more and harder decisions to make than ever before. Amid this backdrop, it’s easy to understand how SEO and developing your marketing can seem like a very low priority. After all, you have more immediate concerns closer to home, such as how you’re going to keep your doors open, your employees working and your business profitable.
The good news is twofold. First, as with any pandemic, the measures being taken by the government and private entities to limit and manage COVID-19’s spread and impact mean there’s a good chance we caught it early enough to help ameliorate the damage. Second, even as you’re reconfiguring your business, there are powerful tools available to help you and your business thrive and look forward to resuming “business as usual”—and perhaps even get an edge over your competitors! Here are five things you can do to keep your business healthy and attract a wider customer base for when the storm is over.
#1 Apply For Business Financing Assistance
SBA Disaster Loans
No, this isn’t an SEO task. However, the first step to making sure you’ll have customers later is by taking proactive steps to ensure you can keep your business functional now. From the SBA website:
“SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters. SBA disaster loans can be used to repair or replace the following items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster: real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets.”
Whether you’re a work-from-home independent contractor or working on behalf of a multistate corporation, an SBA disaster loan can help you get the resources you need to keep yourself and your employees are taken care of so they’ll be ready to take care of your customers when the time comes. To learn more about SBA disaster loans, click here to visit the SBA website.
Facebook AD Grants
Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where we operate. We’ll share more details as they become available. Apply here for details. https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants
Yelp Is Offering $25 million to local restaurants and nightlife businesses that are seeing a massive drop in business as a result of the crisis.
From Yelp.com. “Today, we’re announcing $25 million in relief, primarily focused on supporting independent local restaurant and nightlife businesses, in the form of
waived advertising fees, and free advertising, products and services, during this period. As part of this relief effort, restaurants and nightlife businesses that remain open will receive free access to Yelp page upgrades, including Business Highlights and Call To Action, as well as Connect, which will help them communicate timely information to their customers. Restaurants will also receive three months of free access to Yelp Reservations and Waitlist.
For restaurant clients that offer delivery and/or takeout, we’ll provide $100 in free search advertising. In addition to waiving advertising fees for independent restaurant and nightlife clients during this period when they’ve been most impacted, we’re also offering support for independent local advertisers in other categories that are struggling to pay their bills during this difficult time. ”
#2 Use Facebook tracking pixels.
Installing a Facebook tracking pixel on your website is a powerful tool that can develop even a modest audience into a large potential client base. By simply installing an extra bit of code on your website, you can enhance your reach 5-6 times over. Even better, once it’s installed, it does all the work for you, growing your audience while you focus on making sure your company is ready to serve its VIPs: your customers!
#3 Google My Business and other Social Media Channels
Now more than ever, it is important to keep your customers apprised of changes to your business model because of COVID-19 or other disasters. Google My Business or GMB, Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp! allow you to talk to your clientele, giving you wider means to answer questions, post announcements and maintain communication with potential customers. This may include letting them know about altered hours, social distancing requirements for brick-and-mortar establishments, giving access to online menus and delivery schedules, which can help you manage their expectations. This is an important step because it lets your customers know they are still uppermost in mind and helps them find businesses that are still functioning during this crisis. Even better still, for the cost of a few minutes of your time each day, you can help customers find you as a “sure thing” in times where certainty isn’t exactly the word of the day, putting your company ahead of your competition in prospective buyers’ minds!
Why is Google My Business so important?
✅ 46% of all Google searches have a local intent.
✅ 93% of local searches feature Google My Business listings before normal search results.
✅ 68% of people contact a business directly from search results (without even visiting their site).
#4 Email Marketing Try MailChimp!
MailChimp has become synonymous with customer relationship management because so many people, from writers to multinational conglomerates, use it for their CRM. You can check out MailChimp for free, making it a good alternative to more expensive CRM platforms, and it delivers powerful functionality that allows you to get your message out to your customer base quickly and efficiently. This is a great option for letting a lot of people know about flash sales, sudden closures, potential health risks and other important information fast.
When using MailChimp or any other automated CRM for email marketing, you need to make sure you have arranged for “double opt-in” so as not to annoy existing customers or prospects with unwanted communications. Perhaps even more importantly, to comply with state and federal laws, you need to provide a way for contacts to opt-out of receiving email from you. California is particularly dedicated to cracking down on unwanted contact and can charge you even if you have no physical footprint in the state, so it’s worth your while to make sure these things are handled.
#5 YouTube Live Streaming For Your Business
YouTube is frequently overlooked as a marketing channel, especially by small businesses. However, a well-conceived and -executed video really is worth a thousand words, and these days, video marketing is a great way to get your message in front of a lot of at-home workers and people who, for whatever reason, cannot leave their homes. Better still, you can download the raw video clip from YouTube and reuse it on your Facebook business page, giving you a huge reach advantage and broader access to customers than ever before.
As businesses struggle to remain viable in an increasingly uncertain global economy, using every tool at your disposal to stay one step ahead of your competition becomes more crucial than ever before. If you’re not sure how these things work or need more information, Online Advantages is here to help with information and SEO services and tools designed specifically to benefit your business. By using these tools wisely, you can help make sure that when the all-clear is given and the dust settles, customers are beating a path to your door instead of your competitors.
But all of this is secondary to the single most important thing you can do right now: Keep yourself, your loved ones and your employees safe to the best of your ability, and try to maintain a positive mental attitude. The COVID-19 outbreak, like any other disaster, won’t last forever, and when it ends, we as a nation will be ready to roll up our sleeves and get back to work.
Every day we deliver new customers to businesses through our proven search engine optimization and pay-per-click marketing strategies. Our strategies have helped businesses, large and small, reach in-market consumers, making a true impact on the bottom line. We’re here to help educate you about search marketing and choose a strategy that’s right for you and your business. We’re constantly researching, testing, connecting, and finding other ways to stay on top of this always-changing industry so we can offer the best, most relevant advice to help you succeed. The blueprint for online success is simple. We do the heavy lifting while you focus on what matters most, your customers!