If not, it might be time to consider an update.
When COVID-19 hit in March, many businesses were scrambling to get information out to their customers. The easiest and quickest way was to use social media platforms. This worked great for those customers that were already following the business, but for those who relied on a business’s website, information was often lacking and confusing.
The new buzzword was “pivot”. How did you pivot your business model to accommodate the restrictions? Were your customers able to find that information easily and quickly? The pandemic requires a company to be flexible and over-communicate to customers the information necessary to do business with them. The best way to do this is through your website.
With a second wave upon us and new restrictions in place, we are once again having to pivot and reinvent our businesses. What did we learn in the first round? We know that social media played a role in trying to support local businesses. Local social media groups were created. General information and industry specific that provided a platform to keep their customers up to date.
We also know that many businesses tried to focus on doing more businesses online. But their websites were not set up for it and many tried a hybrid online store. Customers would fill out a form and the business would reach out for payment and pick up/delivery instructions. Although this worked in a pinch, many businesses found that the amount of time spent on the phone answering questions was not sustainable.
Improve your digital presence during COVID-19
A vaccine is on the horizon. Speculation is that we will be under some form of restrictions/guidelines until at least the spring of 2021. Now is the time to look at how your website can connect with your customers. With restrictions and staffing shortages your website is going to be an even more crucial piece of your sales and marketing strategy.
Communicate your COVID policy
Add a short message that fits in a few lines of the most important part of your COVID-19 policy on your home page. This will let customers know what safety precautions you are taking to keep them and your staff safe. A simple banner on at least your home page that can be easily changed as needed. This banner could also be used to update hours, specials, and other relevant information your customers may need.
The way we interact with our customers changes on a dime right now, one constant is your website. Having a dedicated space on your website to communicate these changes is key for your business. You can accomplish this in several ways. We have recommended a pop up notice that opens when a visitor enters your website. The banner mentioned above can serve this purpose as well. Another way is add your Facebook or Instagram feed on your website. Call Pro Web Marketing at 877-577-6932 and talk with us about what the best solution is for your business.
Many businesses have shifted their focus to online sales by adding an ecommerce store to their website. Now it is more important than ever to offer this option to your customers. For the first time, more than 25% of holiday sales will occur online. In the United States, consumers are expected to spend 43.3% more with online retailers this holiday season than in 2019.
In-store sales are projected to decline 3.7% year-over-year. To combat this you can offer online, pick up in-store or curbside pickup.
Most of your customers are familiar with online shopping. Many would prefer to stay local even if they cannot visit you in person. Give them that option with an online store. Offering options of shipping or picking up is one way to retain revenue you may lose from your customers who are not comfortable venturing out right now and another option once the pandemic is behind us.
Online menu and carry out ordering
If you are in the food service industry communicating with your customers if you are open, what hours, how to place orders, etc. is necessary. Providing an easy way for your customers to see daily specials, menu offerings and then placing an order helps the order flow process. This will also help cut down on phone calls looking for that information.
Whether you are a restaurant or a retail store, online ordering should include the ability to pay for your order online as well. If you currently have a merchant processing account, these can usually be easily integrated into the order system. If you don’t there are many options available for online payments.
Scheduling appointments and pickups
Many businesses are being allowed to remain open with strict scheduling guidelines. Fielding numerous and potentially lengthy calls to schedule with proper spacing will either require an employee to man the phones or take you away from your tasks.
Avoid long waits for curbside pickup. Space out your customers arriving for their order so that your customers don’t wait more than a few minutes.
Consider adding a scheduling feature to your website. There are many free and reasonably priced options available. You will also want to have clear instructions of the pickup process. Do you want them to call, text or email you when they are on their way or have arrived? What is the location of the pickup? You may want to consider asking them for the color, make and model of the vehicle they are picking up in and have someone monitoring the pickup area.
Add an email sign up link to your website for updates on specials, menu items, hours, etc., this is an easy way to communicate with customers already doing business with you. There are many email marketing programs that will easily integrate with your website to keep you in contact with your clients.
Social media platforms still play a role in communicating with your clients and should be used in conjunction with your website. As mentioned above, the one flaw with only using social media to communicate changes is that the only people seeing it are those already following your page. Your website is not only for your current clients but potential clients that are also changing the way they do business.
Social media is also a great way to generate traffic to your website for online ordering or shopping. Posting links on your social media pages to your menu or a sale item will help drive revenue you may otherwise miss out on.
Don’t forget to keep your Google My Business listing update with the correct hours and relevant information. If you don’t have one and need help setting it up, give us a call at 877-577-6932 and we can set it up.
Continue posting your updates on your social media pages, but your website is still the place many people will look for information on how to do business with you. Make sure you are not missing out on potential customers by only focusing your marketing in one place. Learn more of the importance of having a website along with your social media.
How we can help
COVID-19 has hit businesses hard and we all are rethinking how we can connect with our customers. Having an updated informative website and social media is crucial so that you can be found on search engines and appear credible. If you are not sure where to start, Pro Web Marketing can help you with designing a website or updating your website with all the COVID-19 necessary features. If you need help setting up social media accounts, posting the updates, etc. we can do that too!
Covid-19 resources for business: