Life doesn’t take any breathers when it comes to shifting gears and changing everything about the way we do things. It can be as huge as COVID-19 this year, or as small as removing a link or two from your website. Whatever the changes may be, massive ones such as COVID-19 are going to be felt throughout all businesses even after the dust has settled. As of today, lockdown may be partially lifted, but it’s still recommended to stay inside if you are sick or wear a mask or cover if you’re going shopping, and physical distancing is still a requirement for safe outings.
This is why your business needs to adapt to such changes, particularly when it comes to the website. Here are a few ways to adapt your business’s website to such radical changes, both for right now and going forward into the future.
- Digital Sales
If you were using your website before as the equivalent of a business card, it’s now time to make your website a little more usable than that. A business card can and should display your information, and if it does, that’s great! But if that’s the only purpose of your website, you are missing out on so much more that customers are now looking for:
- Placing orders online, such as for groceries and purchases, or deliveries;
- Contacting you directly, usually on mobile devices;
- Finding information, such as recipes or how to tips on gardening (these are both very popular right now!), or whether you’re better compared to company A or company B from their list on Google, and why;
- Booking appointments via video, phone, and e-mail, as opposed to in-person (unless it’s for veterinary purposes)
Now is the best time to track your digital sales and figure out where your customers are clicking through the most. Google Analytics can be of help, if you’re not already using it. (PS: if you need help with GA, here’s part 1 of the basics to get you started.) By examining this aspect of your business, you may discover some new information about your target audience. Paying attention to this part matters because really, it’s the customers who are driving businesses forward now. If you still can’t make the connections needed to lead them to your site, then you need to have a talk with experts.
Speaking of experts, here’s what else you need to do.
- Sell Expertise Instead of Products
Certain products can only get you so many sales online. It’s what’s behind those products that most people look for, i.e. the quality, how reliable they are in terms of function, the effort put into it…things like that. For example, one thing people are looking for the most right now are recipes (because, after all, many are still choosing to self-isolate or quarantine). Compared to, say, cars, recipes are an excellent example of selling one’s expertise rather than the actual product. Yes, they are probably selling products in addition such as cookbooks, but really the entire draw of their brand is that they are selling their expertise as cooks or chefs who know, for example, how to make a delicious meal with what’s available now.
Recipes are only one example of selling expertise. Do you know a lot about your company’s industry? What do you have to offer other than your products? And most importantly, why should they matter? Now is the time to think of your customers’ wants and needs before your own. If you can offer them expertise and give them that, you’re well on your way to selling expertise and thus improving relations between you and your customer base.
- Focus on Channels that Will Stay, Even Post-Pandemic
Your website is only one channel that will survive post-COVID-19. Think of all the other channels you can put your marketing efforts into, such as social media, webinars, videos, and e-mail. These are all flourishing channels used by your competition even before a pandemic took place. Perhaps it’s time to really learn how to use these channels to your business’s advantage? Are there channels where you are usually active on both a business and personal scale? Have you always wanted to try using Instagram? You may find you have more time to really get creative with your newest marketing messages.
- Put Your Customers First
As we mentioned earlier, now is not the time to focus on sales first and your customers later. Now more than ever you need to reach out to your most loyal customers and make sure everyone is okay. Put empathy for your customer base first and really pay attention to their needs and wants these days; the data you may have collected before 6 weeks ago is already out of date.
It’s tough to do, and it doesn’t help that new decisions keep being put into action every day. But if you’ve already been doing this before a pandemic even took place, then now more than ever is the time to keep up that sense of empathy. Keep your channels open to communication, inquire with a simple letter that doesn’t mention COVID-19 (because at this point, everyone knows about it), and just let your customers know you’re around if you need them. Sometimes the best way to market your company is to do just that.
- Always Ask This: “What Can I Do to Help?”
This is a trying time for everyone, in every industry. The most you can do at this point is to stay calm and go with the flow in terms of new developments, even if that means having to face uncertainty. Asking yourself “What can I do to help?” even after COVID-19 protocols have lifted can generate a ton of good answers from your customers, and it may even open up to new customers too. By following the previously mentioned tips, you are in turn opening up to being receptive, authoritative in your experience, and willing to give and help in others’ times of need—and right now, that’s what we need the most.
Do you need assistance with your website and other online channels of marketing? If so, we can build you a site that can help your business and your customers out in this time when you’re needed the most. Give us a call and let’s start building what your customers need the most now, together.