As the Canadian government urges people to stay at home, businesses are struggling. Brick-and-mortar retailers, in particular, have rolled down the blinds and closed their doors, unsure when they will open again. The current coronavirus pandemic is having a seismic effect on business owners, but the bad times will eventually pass. In the meantime, retailers and service providers should shift their focus online, where they can still engage with customers, generate sales, and boost awareness.

Why You Need to Move Online Right Now

The extent to which retailers and providers can move online all depends on the scope of their business. Store owners will find it easier than plumbers, for example, but most business owners will still benefit from migrating to a digital environment until the pandemic passes. If you already have an online presence, you should ramp up your digital efforts right now.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Your store is closed but you still want to sell products.
  • You want to engage with customers who are stuck at home.
  • You want to continue to generate revenue.
  • You want to see a boost in business when the pandemic is over. 

There are many things you can do to reduce the economic impact of COVID-19:

  • Improve your business branding.
  • Optimize your downtime.
  • Look to the future, not the past. 

#1. It’s All About the Branding

Whether you currently have a website or need to set one up, you’ll soon realize that digital is a very visual medium. Online branding is important because you want to make a good first impression. Research suggests good online branding builds trust, boosts credibility, and increases marketing effectiveness. 

Here are some quick tips for better branding:

  • Invest in a great logo that reflects your brand values and mission.
  • Choose a colour palette for your website.
  • Keep your branding consistent across all platforms — website, blog, social media, etc. 
  • Use your brand logo and colours on all “offline” marketing materials — business cards, flyers, catalogs, etc. 
  • Hire a branding expert for more explosive results

Did you know… Keeping your brand consistent across all platforms increases revenue by as much as 23 percent

#2. Optimize Your Downtime

If you’re stuck in a sales slump because of the pandemic, don’t worry. This will blow over, and things will get better. But there’s no time for procrastinating. Use your downtime wisely, and you’ll experience a major boost in business when life gets back to normal. Experts predict the economy will rebound when the pandemic wanes, and consumers will start spending again. In the meantime, stay at home and be productive. 

Work on Your Website

Now’s a better time than ever to fix your website. Research shows that 94 percent of website first impressions are design-related, so giving your pages a much-needed makeover could prove lucrative in the post-coronavirus world. 

Here are some things you can do to keep busy:

  • Optimize your website for search engines like Google (search engine optimization/SEO). 
  • Set up e-commerce solutions that serve your business.
  • Make your website more visually appealing with images, videos, headers, menus, and more. 

Not sure where to start? Invest in a good website design and development company to maximize your results. 

Need some design inspiration? Check out our recent blog post, Great Website Style Ideas to Set You Apart From the Competition.

Invest in Quality Content

Right now, there are more people at home than at any other time in history — and most of them are using the internet. Online traffic has increased by as much as 60 percent in some areas as people close the doors, hunker down, and “shelter in place.” What this means for you: more people to engage with. 

Even if business has slowed down, content marketing is a shrewd investment. Blog posts, email newsletters, social media posts, you name it — you can still connect with your audience during the pandemic. 

Here are some COVID-19 content marketing ideas:

  • Keep customers informed about any store closures, delayed shipping times, and the steps you are taking to keep them safe. 
  • Remind customers they can still order products from your online store and have them delivered to their homes. 
  • Advertise promotions and discounts to encourage sales and improve cash flow at this time. 
  • Keep it local: Explain how you are helping with the local response to the virus or highlight community heroes. Local marketing is great for SEO, and an expert can help you get it just right

Manage Your Online Reputation

If all else fails, you can use this time to manage your reputation online. If you do this now, your reputation might have improved significantly by the time things get back to normal. 

There are various ways you can manage your reputation online: 

  • Reply to negative reviews on platforms like Facebook, Google Business, and Yelp. 
  • Ask loyal customers to leave you online feedback to counteract any negative feedback. 
  • Create more content so it pushes negative content further down search engine results pages. 

Why is managing your reputation online important? Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as friends and family. 

Read more: Check out our recent blog, Why Does My Business Need Google Reviews?

#3. Look Forward, Not Back

This is a difficult time for everyone, but it’s important to stay positive. Investing in your branding, improving your reputation, and working on your marketing is a long-term investment that will benefit you long after the pandemic ends. Put in the hard work now and you could prosper for years to come. 

When it comes to your business, the most important thing is your customers, and you need to build relationships now. Customer retention is much cheaper than acquisition, and 65 percent of a company’s business comes from existing customers. Regular communication during this time will strengthen the bond between you. 

Looking for a valuable marketing partner at this unusual time? Evergreen Digital Marketing has your back. Click here to get a quote, and let’s create something special together. 

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