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The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting businesses left, right and centre. Whether it’s remote working, reduced hours, regular video conferencing or temporary closures; we’re finding ourselves constantly shifting to adapt to the new norm.
Whatever the adjustments are that you are facing, it’s vitally important that you take some time to also update your online presence to reflect these changes.
We’d like to give some advice by listing below some of the key things you should be doing to update your online business in light of the current circumstances.
Review your ad copy
One of the first things you should do is update your ad copy. Whatever industry you’re in, it’s likely your offering has shifted in line with covid-19. Whether that’s the fact that you’re now offering an extended free-trial period, extended returns, or maybe your product or service can provide a solution to complement remote working and so is even more in demand right now.
In some instances, the ad copy messaging is still relevant and so might not need updating. However, you might want to at least review your account, in particular your ad extensions.
A search for ‘book flight to spain’ shows an ad for Loveholidays, with a sitelink extension for ‘last minute holidays’. Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain that there are not many people searching for those right now. Instead, they could update the call to actions within their ad to encourage users to browse destinations and create a wish list or similar.
Update your Google My Business profile
Many businesses have had to temporarily close in line with the government guidelines. Google has updated the functionality within Google My Business to allow businesses to mark themselves as temporarily closed.
“Marking your business temporarily closed will not affect search ranking and it will be treated similar to open businesses”. For more information on marking your business as temporarily closed, take a look at the updated post from Google.
It’s also no surprise that there has been a rise in the search volume for terms such as ‘opening hours’ and ‘opening times’ as people try to find nearby shops and businesses that remain open. If your business is still open but you’re running with reduced hours, make sure you update your Google My Business profile to reflect this.
It’s also recommended to use Google Posts within your business listing, keeping your customers up to date on things such as reduced hours or adjusted services. If you’re using Google Posts to update your customers in relation to Coronavirus, take advantage of the new ‘COVID-19’ post type to ensure your update is prominent.
Like many businesses, GMB has stated that they are working with reduced staff levels. Features such as new reviews, review replies and Q&A are currently unavailable as they prioritise the quality of information available such as opening hours.
Update your website messaging
You may have seen a spike in visitors to your website as people are spending more time online. Just like a Google My Business Post, make sure you update your website messaging to reflect the changes or adjustments you are making to your business.
Many e-commerce businesses are allowing longer returns periods, whilst some restaurants are offering takeout or delivery only. Whatever the shift is, make sure it’s clear to your online audience.
Adjust your website functionality
Some e-commerce businesses have temporarily closed their online shops due to the current Coronavirus outbreak. Family-run department store Fenwick has temporarily suspended both online and offline retail, due to the fact that they don’t have huge warehouses or automated systems, they need to protect their employees.
Footwear brand Schuh has also closed their offline and online stores and updated their website functionality; it’s still possible to browse the products available and add them to the basket, but it’s not possible to view the basket or checkout.
Alongside this, they’ve added a button at the top to invite their customers to keep in touch by joining the mailing list. There’s also the option to add products to a wish list, so they can be saved for later when the store reopens.
Continue to market your business
One of the most important things you should be doing right now is continuing to market your business online.
Whilst it may not be ‘business-as-usual’ and you may have scaled back your paid media marketing, it’s important to keep up the organic presence and also keep in touch with your audience. Keep up your e-mail marketing, continue to create great content and ensure your clients and customers know that you are still there.
They may not be buying right now, but circumstances will change, things will get better and they will need your products or services again. Make sure you are front of mind for when they are ready to return.
What not to do
The above recommendations are so important, but it’s also worth noting that there are some things you should not be doing right now.
Possibly the worst thing you could do right now is go silent on your clients or customers. No matter what industry your business is in, don’t go quiet. Keep your social channels fresh, keep creating great content and maintain the client or customer relationships that you already have.
Ignore the pandemic
It’s nigh on impossible to ignore the pandemic, but if you make absolutely no reference whatsoever to the current climate, you may come across as insensitive or in-human. Don’t risk losing existing or potential customers by just ignoring it.
Continue self-promotion without being empathetic
Many businesses are continuing to function as normal. For example, companies that are used to working from home or companies whose offerings are still required. Where possible, be empathetic to those that aren’t in the same boat.
We’re all in this together
It’s a difficult and strange time for so many people right now. This isn’t something many of us will have ever experienced, and it’s possible we may not experience something like this again in our lifetimes.
If you’d like to talk through the adjustments you need to make to your business online, please feel free to get in contact or reach out to me via LinkedIn.