Getting stir crazy? Not sure how your business will fare during this time of uncertainty? Don’t forget about all things internet that can help you continue growing your business even when people can’t come through the door!

Online Only isn’t a Death Toll

Many businesses operate with the premise of “online only”. While you may have a storefront, or you may rely on a storefront, it’s important now more than ever to pivot into avenues where you can keep revenue coming in despite customers not being able to cross your threshold. Think about huge eCommerce conglomerates like Amazon — they don’t have any physical shops you can visit, but still they rake in billions in revenue. How can you pivot your business into the online sphere?

Prep for Ecommerce

If you’re not offering a way for customers to purchase your goods without being in your store, you’re missing out on a vital revenue source. Offering even the simplest way for a customer to purchase an item from you (without jumping through hoops by emailing you or sending a money order) can help bolster your sales. In 2020, customers want ease-of-use, so focusing on “is my product easy to buy at any time, day or night” will be important. If the product is easy to find on your website, and easy to purchase, you’re taking the right steps! If you don’t have anything at all set up for taking online orders, you may want to consider consulting with a professional about setting up eCommerce for your website.

Start focusing on online-only ventures

Remember, it might be a bit before conventions start going again, or customers can come walk into your store front. Generating ideas to keep people liking your stuff and putting your name in front of them can help put you in a position to make more sales once the world goes back to its new normal!

Social Media is a big factor

You may have neglected your social media presence, but many customers may still be following your business on social media or try to find you that way. Now is the time to spend time working on making a weekly or even daily social media post, introducing new ways customers can interact with you and purchase your products.

Not sure what to do? Lots of people are bored in their homes right now. Host a live video showing off your products, or how to use your products! If you’re a restaurant or food service, for example, hop on live on Facebook or Instagram to show your staff cooking! You don’t have to spend a ton of time live for it to make sense, either. Live videos are accessible after you’re done, so you’re generating long-time content while making silly videos.

Shape up your website

If you’ve neglected your website for a long time (it happens to the best of us), it’s time to take a look at it and see if it’s up-to-snuff. If it’s not mobile friendly, it’s definitely time to contact a professional for a website rebuild in a swift manner.

Sometimes shaping up your website is not as hard, however! Swapping out the homepage images and content can give the “freshness” factor that you need to tell people that yes, you’re still open and still doing business. If you have a blog, make sure your blog is up-to-date with the latest and greatest, letting customers know what you’re doing and how you’re handling things.

Is it time for an accessibility audit?

Don’t forget — non-sighted users who utilize screen readers are also stuck at home, and if your website is too frustrating to use (and they can’t come into the store to talk to you), that could result in a lost sale! Make sure your website is ready to use by non-sighted users by having an accessibility audit conducted by a real screen reader user.

Notify people via email

If you have an email marketing list, now is a great time to get it updated with any new contacts you’ve made along the way, and send them a friendly reminder of your services. You may also want to take the time to prep and schedule more email newsletters that can go out over time (be careful not to send too many and risk being seen as “spammy”), introducing or highlighting new or interesting products that your customers and fans may want to see or even purchase. Make sure you’re supplying clear links on how customers can get their hands on these products. “Contact us to buy this product” is not as great as a “buy now” button that links directly to the purchase link on your website!

Be part of the community

Remember, the big thing that is going to keep your name in people’s minds is how you handle all of this. Take the time to talk to and engage with the community. Post to community groups and provide expertise, knowledge, and guidance. If you want to be helpful and make donations or something else, don’t feel like you’re doing yourself a disservice by sharing it on social media (social media gets the word out). Never decline an opportunity to showcase your business as a community staple!

Make sure to avoid any talk that can be derided as “negative”. Avoid telling anyone your political leanings (unless you are aiming to support a marginalized group, then your political colors may shine through a bit) or getting into any political discussions. If the naysayers come out, respond positively, and don’t be afraid to use that delete button or ban feature. Remember that not all criticism is negative, and some can be a valuable asset to helping your business learn, as well as assuaging community fears.

A good example can be sewing up fabric masks for healthcare workers — let’s say someone comes out of the woodworker to say that no, these are not N95 masks and cannot be used to combat coronavirus. You may know this, but the community may not. Now would be a great time to post about how you are making the fabric masks for healthcare workers to use over their masks so they can reuse them, or to help free up N95 masks! Be transparent and clear, and people will understand.

How are you prepping your business for a furthered online presence? Let us know in the comments below!

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