4 Things You Can Do Right Now to Secure Your Business During COVID-19
COVID-19 has created an unprecedented situation for businesses across the globe. Businesses that were flourishing in January are now closed, seeing revenues drop off, or wondering what the next three months will bring. Nearly every business of every size and shape has been impacted in some way, and the future is uncertain.
It’s not all bad news, though. We have more time than ever before to take a step back, reprioritize, and optimize. Many brands are taking this time to reinvest in strengthening their business activities, from marketing and sales to operations and efficiencies. All of this is helping contribute to long-term business continuity and short-term efficiencies.
How we use this time could very well determine what the next few months of business bring. If you’re wondering how to prioritize, here are the top four things businesses should be doing to promote business continuity and get ready for the restart:
1. Work on your outstanding policies & procedures (HSE & Quality)
How many times have you moved reviewing your policies and procedures to the bottom of your to-do list this year? It’s time to fill in the gaps so you’re protected from risk and ready for anything the world throws at you (including pandemics).
- Which procedures do you need to achieve your goals? Are you working toward COR certification? Do you need to meet specific criteria to submit proposals for certain organizations or government bodies?
- Ask for input so you know what to prioritize and you can spot the gaps. Allow team members to provide input, as well as any outsourced business analysts or marketing consultants you have on your team.
- Create internal and external versions of your policies. Put your external versions (as short and sweet as possible) on your website for your clients to see. Then schedule time with your team to review new internal policies and procedures online.
- Think about “what if” scenarios. These are the circumstances where your policies can really step in and save you. It’s one of the best ways to ensure business continuity, even in the most challenging times.
2. Beef up your social channels
If you’re like most businesses, social media marketing is an item on your weekly “to-do” list, but you don’t dive much deeper than that on a regular basis. Now that you have the time to invest in it, you can take a step back and look at how to get more return on your investment in social media.
This is the perfect opportunity to dive into a full-blown multi-platform strategy that fills in the gaps in content.
A few steps you can take include:
- Keep your audience updated. Let them know what they can expect as the COVID-19 situation develops. Are you still open for business, or have you modified what you’re offering? Are you helping supply PPEs, funds, or support to others during this time? Keep your content light and relevant. If you have a takeout menu, keep posting it. If you’re shut down, let people know what you’re doing in the meantime and what exciting things they can expect when you’re back up and running.
- Update your business hours and contact methods. Let people know how to get in touch with you on your profiles or posts so they aren’t left wondering. Make sure you remember to update your Google My Business profile and website to match to make sure there’s no confusion when customers are looking you up.
- Look at your analytics. Most businesses don’t bother checking which posts are succeeding in terms of engagement and analyzing why because there isn’t time to sit down and really look at it on a regular basis). However, these back-end data centers are one of the biggest benefits of modern social media platforms.
- See where your advertising dollars are going. Check on your campaigns and take a look at your returns. Are you getting sales? Leads? Engagement? New followers? Find out where your audience is most likely to take action and focus your time and dollars there.
- Reexamine your content strategy. What’s working on which platforms? Which platforms are you missing? Is your content properly directed to different audiences on those platforms? Look at all the pieces in your content map and where you can expand your digital presence.
- Build out your weakest platforms. This is the perfect time to map out content and schedule it in advance. Don’t go too far ahead (especially since all these changes are happening so quickly in the world) and leave room for timely and relevant posts (such as COVID-19 updates). But save yourself some time down the road by putting together branded photos and graphics, video outlines, and written content for posts.
For more inspiration to help you rock your social media, you can look at some of the top brands on social media in 2020. You’ll also find the four essential targets they hit with their content every time they post so you can mimic their efforts.
3. Make potential client lists by browsing LinkedIn
If you’re a B2B, the best thing you can be doing for your business right now is actively finding the businesses and people you want to turn into leads. We’re all spending a lot of time on social media right now, but instead of looking at cat videos and pandemic memes, you can be putting that time to good use on sites like LinkedIn to find the businesses you want to work with this year.
- Optimize your LinkedIn page, because let’s be honest, you probably haven’t updated your profile in years. Go through and look at what’s changed and be sure to provide a well-rounded version of your experience, education, publications, and accomplishments. When it comes to getting endorsements, remember the “give to get” rule: Give endorsements to others to help encourage the people you’ve worked with to do the same.
- Get informed about the people you want to meet. What do they like to do in their spare time? What are their interests within and outside of work? Which organizations are they associated with? You don’t have to reach to try to find common ground, but you have the benefit of knowing something about someone so it’s not a completely cold approach. In fact, you can look at it like an introduction from a mutual connection.
- Speaking of mutual connections, see if you have any on LinkedIn before you charge in. Chances are your contact will be willing to make an introduction, which saves you from having to stress about how to word your introduction.
- Use LinkedIn as an icebreaker. If there’s someone you want to work with, don’t go in selling. Treat a prospect the same way you’d treat someone at an in-person networking event. Give them a virtual handshake and start up a conversation you know will interest them (and you’re guaranteed to be able to do this if you’ve done your homework in the last two points).
- Get involved in LinkedIn groups within your niche. This is a great way to get in touch with people directly without paying for LinkedIn Premium.
You can also check out these advanced tips on how to fully optimize and use LinkedIn to gain more customers.
4. Work on your website & SEO
A search engine optimized website has never been more important. Full virtualization isn’t just a “for now” trend that’s necessary for the pandemic; it’s going to stick. If you haven’t pushed your website & SEO strategy to the max, now is the time.
- Improve your loading speed by sourcing better hosting services. Website loading speed is one of the most important SEO factors out there. If your site isn’t loading fast enough, chances are that it has to do with your website build (in which case you need a developer) or your hosting services.
- Boost your user experience to keep people on your site longer. Search engines are more focused now than ever before on user experience. This includes elements like load speed, simplicity of navigation, features, content length and quality, page design, and more. Optimize by thinking about how you can keep users moving through your site.
- Provide high-quality content that’s valuable, relevant, and has context. Search engine optimized content isn’t just stuffed with keywords; it’s stuffed with value for readers. You’re also sure to be hearing more about “context” marketing in the next few months, which basically means you’re catering your content specifically to your niche readers and customers.
- Add new pages and blogs to expand your content and keywords. Regular and relevant content helps your site build context overall and enables you to rank individual pages for specific keywords.
- Check your anchor text. Most websites aren’t using context-rich anchor text. Be sure to anchor hyperlinks to specific text and keywords.
- Look for opportunities for cross-promotion to earn your website authoritative backlinks. This can be local (like guest blogging on the website of partner businesses) or more far-reaching (like articles in online magazines related to your industry).
Check out my video on advanced SEO link building tips and tricks for more in-depth techniques you can use to improve your SEO. Then head to www.jaredvandermeer.com for freebies, templates, and strategies you can use to improve your marketing, increase efficiencies, and keep your business healthy while we wait out COVID-19.