With recent restrictions imposed by Boris Johnson regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are finding themselves in an unprecedented position. All “non-essential” brick-and-mortar shops are closed for the time being to slow the spread of the virus. In such volatile times, it can be difficult for businesses to know the right steps to take to inform their customers of their current situation.
One thing is certain – with a nationwide lockdown in place, it has never been more important for you to manage your business’ online presence.
Here are four simple steps to help you do just that…
Local business listings
If you are predominately a local business, search engine results will often display a directory listing, rather than a direct link to your website. Therefore, it is essential that you update your Google My Business listing – and other directories you might be part of – to reflect your current situation. This is where you should list any changes to opening times, delivery slots, new contact details, and so on.
With so many people staying at home, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are seeing unprecedented use. This makes them the ideal place to inform your followers and customers of any changes to your service. Update your social media pages with your new operating information and take the time to engage with your followers to reassure them that you are still there for them.
If you own or manage a Google My Business account, you can create Google Posts that keep your customers informed about the status of your business. Such posts show up in search results and on map searches for seven days. This reassures your customers that you are on the case, and that your information remains relevant.
There are two main additions you should consider. The first is a general blog post that you can set as a temporary home page, advising your customers of the immediate impact of COVID-19. Here you can set out all the changes you have had to make, address concerns regarding stock, delivery, opening times, remote working, and so on.
The second addition is an FAQ page. Many businesses already have one of these for common queries relating to their industry and products. Including a section on COVID-19 towards the top of the page will help address the immediate questions your customers might have.
Regardless of your personal take on the subject, content marketing is a beast of a marketing tool that isn’t going anywhere. Sure, it takes a long time and yes, it has a habit of costing a fortune, but at the same time it’s one of the few types of marketing that genuinely has a long-term value.
Of course in any and all cases, delivering relevant and personalised content can be tricky. Nevertheless, there are various ways and means by which you can make it happen and reap the benefits of doing so – here is a quick look at just a few tips from the experts:
1 – KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
When it comes to determining who your audience actually is, evidence suggests it’s better to be somewhat more narrow-focused than to cast your net too widely. It’s a case of not just knowing who your user is, but also where they are, what they want and how they interact with online content. It’s basically a process of creating a blueprint of what you need to be doing from their perspective.
2 – ENGAGEMENT MATTERS
The way in which online communities appear from nowhere and suddenly explode into the biggest things in the history of history pretty clearly illustrates the power of engagement. If you’re willing to get involved in communities of those relevant to what it is you do, chances are you’ll find yourself providing personalised and relevant content somewhat instinctively and automatically.
3 – REFERENCE…WHERE RELEVANT
One of the best ways of immediately gaining credibility and authority among any given audience is to reference something that resonates with them. If for example it’s pretty clear that your target demographic is obsessed with one particular type of music, mentioning a relevant band or two from time to time could certainly curry some favour.
4 – DITCH THE JARGON
You might also want to think about investing as much effort as necessary in producing content that looks, feels, sounds and indeed was penned by a real human with something real to say. Save the professional talk and superfluous jargon for other occasions.
5 – MIX IT UP
Last but not least, it can’t have escaped your attention that more brands and businesses than ever before are stepping away from conventional content provision and turn toward a huge mix of mediums. Research suggests not only that videos increase the likelihood of consumers making a purchase by nearly 64%, but that a 12% increase in overall traffic can be generated simply by using infographics.