Yes, there is an outbreak happening outside our houses at this very moment, and it brings massive economic complications to large and small businesses alike. This blog isn’t about coronavirus. It is about helping you plan your steps to keep your business afloat during economic hardships, no matter if they are happening right now or possibly in the future.
Your contingency plan isn’t as hard to make, and follow, as you might think. It takes your commitment, but it can really pay off in the end. The best part is that the one we are offering you can be applied to most industries out there.
Let’s see the 5 main aspects of the plan:
- Make data-driven decisions (including your digital marketing strategy)
- Transform your website into your virtual customer service and sales representative (if you haven’t done it already)
- Maximize your online presence efficiency through Search Engine Optimization
- Constantly track your visit-to-sale rates
- Promote your company as the local authority (for location-based businesses)
Let’s dive into each of these five and help you find areas where you can easily and almost instantly improve your business.
#1 Make Data-Driven Decisions
When things are going well in a business, it is quite normal for managers to make decisions based on risk. However, when your budget gets tight, and you need to retract rather than expand, decision-making should take a whole different approach.
In times when advertising your business online is an absolute must, you need to rely on solid data to make the decisions about your business. No matter if you are using the services of an Internet advertising agency or have people managing your digital marketing campaigns in-house, you likely run Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and are aware of the importance of managing your online authority.
Wait, aren’t you doing these things already? Well, here’s a good starting point for you. In times of economic downturns, you need to turn to the marketing tools that can yield the greatest ROI, and SEO and PPC are some of them. By tracking the data from your website traffic and your ads performance, you will be able to see patterns and outline opportunities that many or most of your competitors won’t be able to notice and benefit from.
#2 Let Your Website Serve as Virtual Customer Service & Sales Representative
There is a single most common mistake that many small business owners make regardless of their industry. They either choose to make a website for the sake of plastering their contact details on a web page without providing enough information about their company and services, OR they decide to make a website with too many pages and repetitive content that isn’t curated well. Either way, that website will only produce about 20% or less of the value than a good website.
The best thing about websites is that they are immune to physical threats like coronavirus and lockdowns. They are active day and night, 365 days a year. They are your virtual marketing assistant. And when it’s not possible to meet clients face-to-face, you have your website to do the bidding for you.
So, how can you improve the current state of your website? If you don’t have the resources to hire a web designer and a content writer, you can try a DIY solution.
Go through all pages on your website and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my Call to Action? Is it visible and clear on the Homepage?
- Do I provide enough information about what I do and where? Do I have a Services Page or a Products Page?
- Are my schedule and working hours up to date? Do I have a Contact Us page with my accurate contact details?
- Do I have customer testimonials on my website to help boost my credibility as a company? Do I have a separate Testimonials page for these purposes?
These are just some guiding questions, the answers to which will help you understand what kind of website would serve your business goals best.
#3 Maximize Your Online Presence Through SEO
We have discussed this topic on the 411 Locals blog many times, so we will give you the summarized version here. If you want a more detailed explanation about Search Engine Optimization and why getting an SEO partner is a smart investment, check out this article.
Before people land on your website, you need to make sure they can find you online. This is what SEO is all about. You need to enrich your web content with the phrases they use to look for businesses like yours. These are called keywords. You can also pay Google to run ads of your business as they will appear at the top of search results even if your website shows up on page 3 (PPC).
This is just the tip of the iceberg. As you can guess, there is a lot more that goes into optimizing a website that is findable and convertible.
#4 Constantly Track Your Visit-To-Sale Rates
One of the most important metrics, when you are analyzing how efficient your website is in terms of conversion, is knowing the percentage of people who visit your website and end up contacting you for a service. If you run a tree maintenance business, for example, and only 20% of people who land on your website proceed to contact you, this is a great opportunity to improve your visit-to-sale rate.
Look into your website analytics. Which are the pages that visitors spend the most time on? These are the ones that bring the greatest value. Make sure you outline your selling points and contact details there, so more people see them. Also, check your competitors’ websites. How do their pages compare to yours? There are many free tools you can use to audit websites, traffic, and bounce rates (how quickly people leave a page).
#5 Promote Your Company as the Local Authority
With everyone’s free access to the Internet, people no longer rely on the words of salespeople alone, they do their research first and buy later. So, your goal is to be the digital knowledge factory people turn to when they want to learn more about your industry.
Since we are talking about small, location-based businesses, you don’t have to compete with everyone in your industry on a global scale, but rather with your competitors on a local level. It’s still not easy, but as long as you produce quality, original, and topical content that answers the questions of your target audience, you will be on the right track.
How do you create such content? It is always best to use a content writing agency for that, but you can start by doing it yourself. Outline the topics and questions your clients will want to know more about, type each into Google, and review the top results. This is how your articles and blogs should look. You will have to make them better. Add your own experience and best practices. You can’t get ahead if you offer the same content.
The Bottom Line
Well, we hope this quick rundown of ways to strengthen your business during economic hardships helps you get ahead of your competitors. Remember, no effort in that direction is pointless, because there are many business owners who aren’t as engaged in strengthening their business as you are. Some of them are your competition, too. So, start planning improvements today!