3 Steps Your Business Should Take to Mitigate Covid-19's Impact on the Local Ecomony
The Coronavirus reshaped the world economy. The discussion around health, jobs, economics, and business has also seen dramatic changes and fundamental shifts. Tens of millions are now unemployed. 92% of small businesses report negative effects.
Without a doubt, now is the time to start your business's recovery process.
This is our three-step plan to help create a future beyond Covid-19's impact on economies in Montana. This plan focuses on a digital strategy to help your business and grow during the pandemic.
Step 1: Assess
The first step toward recovery is assessing the pandemic's impact on your business. Start by determining the hard numbers of your business. List factors such as assets, liabilities and any changes in revenue that you now face as a baseline.
Next, examine how your cash flow changed year-over-year. Look for key performance indicators (KPI) like profit loss and change in gross revenue. If possible, we also recommend forecasting your loss in future business. This process outlines the income you need to generate to recover any losses.
It’s also key to identify other impacts for your business and industry. Questions to consider include:
- Has your unique industry experienced a negative impact during the pandemic?
- Have you had to lay off employees? If so, how has this affected the number of customers you can serve?
- If you were doing any advertising and marketing, have you reduced your budget?
- Have you lost customers to lower-cost competitors?
All this helps you clarify the pandemic's economic impact and the funding needed to continue operations. Consider applying for the following to help you offset any losses:
- SBA Loans
- The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- Economic Injury Disaster Loss programs.
These programs can help you bolster the loss of revenue in uncertain times.
Step 2: Adapt
Covid-19 may have impacts on your industry that you haven't experienced. Staying aware of those changes is necessary for business continuity and disaster recovery.
For example, many stores used to rely on foot traffic. The pandemic has had a fundamental impact on that market. Finding new ways to reach and serve your customers—like an online store—is essential.
We also recommend thinking of ways to engage with customers. The stronger your relationship, the more likely repeat business is.
You may consider the following strategies to find new business:
- Networking events
- Featured speaking roles
- Developing webinars or podcasts
- Explore new sales channels
- Referral partnerships
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-click advertisements (PPC)
- Drip email campaigns
Above all, we recommend establishing an online presence. An online presence allows you to raise your visibility in a larger market. We will cover this more in the digital opportunities section below.
Step 3: Plan for the Future
It is important that you assess the Coronavirus's impact for your business continuity and disaster recovery. Consider how customers will interact with your online presence. We also recommend reviewing your responsiveness during the outbreak. Were you able to adapt and serve your clients in a quick manner?
In short, plan for the unexpected so you can work in a sustainable way. For example, do you have the ability to offer a remote work option for your employees? If so, what tools will they need to remain effective and productive?
If you think about your reactions to possible changes, your business will be better for it.
Digital Opportunities to Help Your Business
Flexibility, data analysis, and increased reach are all reasons to pursue digital marketing. This is more true in the new economy. Digital marketing offers some of the most cost-effective options for increasing brand visibility.
Growing your digital presence online can allow your business to:
- Open new sales channels
- Reach new customers
- Create more brand visibility
In short, your business’s digital presence should be an extension of your brand. So pay attention to your messaging, digital marketing efforts, and visibility. We've included several digital marketing strategies below to grow your brand.
Build or Refresh Your Website
A website that promotes your brand is the cornerstone of a complete online presence. If your current brand does not support your goals, consider a rebrand or change.
Your website acts as your calling card.
We recommend pointing all other digital efforts toward it. Then make sure that the elements on your site push users toward a conversion action. Including calls to action (CTAs) throughout your website is a great way to do this. CTAs can ask visitors to fill out a form, buy a product, etc.
We also recommend creating content that's informative, value forward and rich with details. When we're asked 'how did covid-19 affect the economy?' our normal response is 'Google's Content Guidelines.' Read more about Google's E.E.A.T. content guidelines here. In our experience, rich content is one of the best ways to improve visibility.
We also recommend working with an experienced web developer like us. We can create a website that helps your business go further, faster. Your developer should be your digital partner. We support your goals, create smart strategies and site architecture.
Whether you already have an established site or this is your first, a site can help your brand to pivot fast. Read how a website redesign can benefit your economic growth in our article.
Local SEO Efforts
For many small businesses, their target market is the local community. Local SEO is one of the best ways to begin appearing in searches by your local market. Consider the following for success in local SEO.
The Google Business Profile is a free tool offered by Google. Businesses can create a profile that includes contact info, location, services, and more. A well-optimized GBP can appear on the results page when local users search.
Your GBP can also appear in the Google Local Map pack. Both can have a dramatic impact on business. Keep your profile accurate, active and up-to-date to improve your local search ranking.
Google Business Profiles also allow you to make public-facing posts and photos. Make a habit of adding photos and posts to improve your search engine results page (SERP) rankings. You can read more about Google Business Profile in our article.
Reputation Management and Review Solicitation
Search algorithms take many factors into account when ranking your site. This includes customer reviews on different platforms like GBP, Yelp, Foursquare, and Manta. So ask for reviews to help grow your visibility in search results.
Responding to these reviews, both positive and negative, is also essential. The more engaged with your customers you appear, the better. Engaging with reviews shows search algorithms you care about the experience your customers have. Read about reputation management in our article.
Local directories are another way to reach new customers in your local market. Local directories act as referral sources for local users looking for your products or services.
The information they provide is also useful for local SEO. Listing your business in local directories with consistent information helps your site to rank higher.
Refreshing your website design can be a great way to present a more engaging user experience. A website refresh can also accommodate any new marketing efforts you are pursuing. Adding fresh content to your site can help to raise your site’s ranking in search results.
A typical website refresh might include:
- Updating the copy and imagery of your site.
- Adding new landing pages for your digital marketing
- Adding rich media like embedded videos.
- Adding resources like white papers, guides, webinars, etc.
- Adding an email signup form
- Adding an automated email system to engage with customers
Social media platforms offer a great opportunity to connect with your audience and community. They also give users a place to highlight their brand and company culture. This helps users better connect with your business and also keeps your brand in front of their minds.
Consider using social media to post your new services, products, resources, or blog articles. We post frequent updates about site launches, industry tips, and My JTech improvements.
Your social media posts can drive traffic back to your site while defining your brand voice. You can also provide timely updates for accolades or awards. These posts will further distinguish your business by building trust.
Social media is also great for cross-promotional opportunities. Leverage relationships to help one another and highlight yourselves as industry leaders.
Finally, social media makes it easy to distribute information to a large audience.
People seek out information and resources. You can position your business as a resource for people to engage with and learn from. By doing this, people may come to depend on your business for news, insights and trends. As a bonus, this often encourages them to learn more about how your products and services can help them.
Assess. Adapt. Plan. Keep Going.
In the new business climate following the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are looking for ways to recover lost revenue.
So, be sure to analyze any losses taken by your business to improve your business plan. Afterward, take the opportunity to identify and develop new sales channels so you can pivot your business. Moreover, digital marketing offers the most adaptable and data-driven options to reach new customers.
If your business is looking for new ways to reach new customers, our web design team is here to help. We're excited to offer our expertise to support your goals online.