The pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty to different aspects of our lives. The same is true for local businesses. As business owners, we need to rethink a lot of the previous methods that kept our businesses afloat and adapt them to the current trends of relevant markets.
While in-person events and traditional marketing methods may have worked well in the past, building online visibility is the best way to stay relevant and connect with your customers today.
In this article, we will tackle different strategies that can help build online visibility to not just get through these unusual times but make the best of them and possibly even come out on top.
1. Formulate Contingency Plans and Adapt to Changes
The best way to be visible in any market is to be selling something people want and need right now. To adapt, you need to identify what problems you and your customers are currently facing.
Listen to your customers. Make sure your communication lines are open so they can freely send their feedback to you. Acknowledge what they tell you and discuss the possibilities with your team.
Formulate solutions to these problems and see which ones are the most feasible. Depending on the problems presented, test out the solution on a small scale before fully applying it to the entire business.
Here are some questions to determine if a possible solution applies to your business:
- Can your budget accommodate it?
- Can your workforce handle the additional work?
- Does it need immediate attention?
- How can it affect your business on a long-term basis?
- Has another local business already done this recently? If yes, how did it go?
- If the pandemic-related rules are once again modified, is it flexible enough to adapt to the changes?
For example, if you have a physical store, you may have experienced a sharp decline in sales once the lockdown and other travel restrictions were implemented. To get around this problem, consider selling your products online. Hire regular couriers to deliver the products to your customer’s doorsteps efficiently.
Take all these factors into consideration when looking for new angles to be relevant in a world that is more and more online and less in-person.
2. Collaborate With Other Businesses
There are numerous benefits of teaming up with other businesses. Aside from having an extra pair of hands to help with unfamiliar tasks, collaborating with other companies can help expand your network. The biggest advantage is that you can leverage each other’s online following to boost your own visibility and get in front of a new audience.
If you need help with brainstorming, team up to exchange ideas with them. This way, you can help them while learning new things from them. You can further enjoy this benefit if you’re working with other businesses that are not within the same niche but are related to your industry.
For example, if you’re working in the food industry, you may consider working with a company in the packaging niche. You can collaborate and come up with effective solutions to safely transport food orders to your customers. You may consider eco-friendly solutions and packaging options with partitions for orders with multiple types of food in them. Each time a customer orders food from you, the other company will also collect some profit when they sell their packaging products to you.
When choosing a company to team up with, make sure that they have the same values as you do. Being on the same page will make big decisions easier and enhance your ability to collaborate.
For example, if you’re a company that values saving the environment, you need to steer clear of companies that do not care if they waste plastic resources. You’ll most likely clash on a lot of things like how you’ll package the deliveries and what materials to use.
3. Conduct Online Events
This can serve as a good way to know how your customers are doing. Host a free event at least once a month to keep them on their toes and find out what they need and want right now. Knowing this will help you come up with what type of product or service you can offer them next.
If you already have the product or service that can cater to their needs, you can make their experience more personalized by adding more benefits to what you currently offer. It doesn’t have to be a big addition. In fact, adding something thoughtful such as a note, a discount, or a freebie can make a big difference. It can even help lift their mood. This is especially important during these times that anxiety is at an all-time high.
Find out if your customers have suggestions for online events they want you to host. Consider their requests and see if it’s feasible. Use your expanding network of business owners to ask around for resources to make the event possible. If the event requires a speaker, you may invite a professional who can thoroughly discuss the included topics. Doing these things for your customers will help make them feel that you value them. Thus, they will find it easier to connect with you and inevitably spend their money with you.
4. Reconsider Your Marketing Strategies
If you were giving out flyers and putting up posters before the pandemic, know that that type of marketing will not work right now. Instead, consider increasing your online presence on different social media platforms because people use those to connect with others now more than ever.
You can start by creating engaging content that redirects to your main website. Analyze the behavior of the customers through the platforms using tools such as Facebook pixels. This will help you determine what drives them to read your content, click your link, and use your products or services.
Don’t worry if the first few weeks don’t yield significant results. It will take time to build a reliable following on social media and get useful data from your followers.
5. Rework Based on Your Website’s Status
When building your business website, it’s ideal to go for best practices such as using high-ranking keywords and publishing good content. It’s also good if you advertise through social media channels to gain more traffic for your website.
After a few weeks or months, evaluate your website’s performance and see if there are areas that need further improvement. You may need to add keywords related to pandemic policies.
For example, if you’re a food business, consider optimizing content that promotes deliveries and food packages for different occasions. If you don’t have a FAQ section for this type of content, consider creating one to make it easier for your customers to look for information.
6. Add More Relevant Content
If you have yet to create more content for your customers, go for evergreen content. You can focus on trending topics but limit them as much as possible. Trending topics are great for getting people to your website right now, but evergreen content will keep people coming to your website for months or years to come.
Use SEO tools to extract the keywords with high search volumes first, and make sure these are highly relevant to your business. Next, use these keywords as your starting points to look for other relevant questions that your customers most likely ask. You can use SEO tools to find what questions the site visitors type in the search engines. These questions can help you create content that will drive traffic to your website.
7. Organize Your Existing Content for Easier Access
Separate the time-sensitive content from the pieces that will always be relevant regardless of the season. An effective way to do this is to keep the seasonal content published and archive it when it is no longer relevant. Keep the evergreen content easily accessible and sort it into categories to make searching more efficient.
Use tags to make your content and website easier to navigate. You can also use internal links for easier browsing. Linking is also useful for increased traffic if visitors want to learn more about the topics discussed.
Times are uncertain right now for everyone, including businesses. Focus your efforts on the things you can do something about and work on making your business resilient in the face of things you cannot control.
One of the best ways to achieve this is by increasing your online presence and maintaining a genuine connection to your customer base. While the main goal is to establish your business, you still need to connect with people on a personal level if you want them to engage with you on a long-term basis. This may take a lot of work and patience, but it will be worth it in the long run.