A website and online presence has never been more important in helping small businesses than since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Several small businesses contacted us to discuss different strategies that could help them continue. Many decided to start different ways of marketing to allow them to continue working during this strange time.
How small businesses have been adapting to deal with the pandemic
Here are how some of our clients are adapting their work during the pandemic.
Starting to sell online for the first time
For local businesses that have always been physical premises that their customers visit, the pandemic initially meant the business was closed, and trading was zilch. The only way to get sales was to go online and start selling.
Most of these businesses already had a website but not an eCommerce shopping site. We advised each business on the best way for them to get started, given that a full blown ecommerce site could take weeks. In the case of Woolpit Nurseries with glasshouses full of seasonal bedding plants, we suggested the easiest and fastest option was to create easy to use online selection forms for customers to ‘tick’ their choices and submit for home delivery. This ‘online click and deliver system’ was in place within a week and immediately promoted on social media resulting in hundreds of orders within days of the launch.
Getting a website
Some small businesses that had no website, could immediately see the benefit of having a website that would act as an online brochure to display their services or products. The focus in each case was for a simple uncomplicated website design complete with clear calls to action on how to buy the goods. We suggested that the sites should be promoted on social media to local audiences to create interest and promote the new sites.
It’s interesting that according to 2019 YouGov research, around a third of small businesses don’t have a website.
Time to consider social media as a selling tool
With the pandemic there was a swing from ‘paper based’ marketing to digital marketing that could ‘in theory’ reach a target audience more easily. We helped a business ‘freshen up’ their existing social media account, with eye catching images, optimised account details and a plan going forward on how to promote their products and build a following. As well as helpful to potential customers with info about not only their products but how they can be used, customers that have bought theme and useful local news.
Adding a Booking System to their website
As lockdown was released and businesses could start to have customers, so several businesses wanted to ensure that their customers were safe when visiting. They wanted a booking system to allow customers to book a time slot for entering the premises rather than expecting them to queue at busy times. We were able to add customised booking systems to several business sites with bookings at the time interval required and for the opening hours required. This worked well for a plant nurseries business, small retail unit and restaurant business.
Keeping customers informed
Whatever the business it was important to keep customers informed as to whether a business was open, closed, trading online only, taking telephone orders or whatever. We helped by putting updates on customers websites, on social media and Google postings to keep their customers ‘in the loop’.
Want to know how we can help support your business? Get in touch to talk about what may be the best strategy for your business to thrive in the current digital-first world.