Orlando Web Design Company
The COVID-19 crisis is presenting small businesses with uncertainty and difficult decisions. Small business owners are doing everything possible to react strategically and maintain their full team (or rehire them as soon as possible), while adapting their business model to a virtual context.
Whether you have had to temporarily close your business or are striving to maintain an essential business through COVID-19, we want to share best practices and recommendations to increase your online presence during this time. We are also offering some services for free to local Orlando businesses to help you transition.
Even as businesses reopen, our ability to reach customers while they’re at home is a make or break factor. This guide outlines a game plan for things you can do for your business while operating online or reopening a physical location.
In this Article:
- Post a COVID-19 Update on Google My Business
- Place a Banner with COVID-19 Info at the Top of Your Website
- Use Social Media to Communicate with Your Customers
- Consider Investing in Google Ads to Appear on the First Page of Google
- Optimize Your Website for New Opportunities
- Replace Outdoor Marketing with Digital Marketing
- Offer Virtual Consultations and Free Services
- Enable Online Ordering
- How We Can Help: Free Services from M5 Design Studio
1. Post a COVID-19 Update on Google My Business
Update your profile on Google My Business to let customers know that you are still open, how they can reach you, what services you are providing, and what measures you are taking to protect customers from transmission of Coronavirus during this time.
Google posts like updates and offers are a great way to make your message standout. For example, the “COVID-19 Update” that Google recently added appears directly underneath your business name in mobile devices when people search for your business.
See our article “How to Update Google My Business for COVID-19” for a full guide on updating your Hours, Services, Posts, and Business Description on your Google My Business listing.
2. Place a Banner with COVID-19 Info at the Top of Your Website
Add a simple banner to the top of your website to let customers know your current hours and any important changes to your business during COVID-19.
In WordPress, you can do this with the plugin Simple Banner by Ryan Petersen. Here’s an example.
3. Use Social Media to Communicate with Your Customers
Even if you think of yourself as “an analog person in a digital world”, it is essential right now that you tame the tools of social media and make them work for you. This is how you maintain a strong connection with your existing clients, and reach new customers in your industry. Here are our top recommendations for social media right now.
- Update social media platforms and post frequently.
- Update the “About” section all of your social media profiles with the same information you placed in your Google My Business update (hours, services, how to reach you, and safety measures). Continue letting customers know that you are open in all of your posts.
- If you are normally a “people person” in your business, use features like Facebook Live, IG TV and Youtube to maintain a personal connection. Set up a well-lit spot with a nice background and record yourself speaking directly to your customers.
- Use the correct hashtags to reach new customers.
- On some platforms such as Instagram, users follow hashtags and can see your posts if you use the correct, relevant hashtags for your business. Use the hashtags with the most activity for each specific platform.
- For example, for posts related to COVID-19, you should use #covid_19 on Instagram but #covid19 on Facebook.
- Don’t miss high volume hashtags while using ones with little traction. For example, instead of using #OrlandoFoodSpots which has only 626 posts, be sure to use hashtags like #OrlandoFoodie (173k posts), #OrlandoEats (167k posts), #OrlandoRestaurants (35.7k posts) and #Orlando (18.3M posts).
- Boost posts that could spark interest in your brand.
- A $20 boost budget on Facebook can go a long way to reach new potential customers. You can select the audience so that it only goes to people in your area, creating more of an impact for a local business.
4. Consider Investing in Google Ads to Appear on the First Page of Google
Reports based on past U.S. recessions show that businesses that continue or increase advertising during a crisis grow. See this article from Whiteshark Media for examples of how this has worked for companies.
As always, the ability of small businesses to adapt strategically impacts our ability to protect our share of the market. By taking advantage of new opportunities, we position ourselves for growth especially after the crisis has passed. Google Ads are not cheap, but they are effective. Consider making an investment now in strategically placing your business at the top of Google results for relevant keywords.
Right now, there are opportunities for new keywords that didn’t exist before. For example, this Orlando attorney appears on page 1 of Google for the search term “virtual lawyer consultation Orlando.”
While his website ranks low in the organic search results, he is able to jump to the top of Google results by paying for the right search terms right now. Users generally only click on the top three results in Google, so ranking at the top of the page is important.
This is also true for new opportunities in other industries such as restaurants. For example, “takeout Orlando” has surged in the past month and is well worth the paid advertising for local restaurants.
5. Optimize Your Website for New Opportunities
In addition to adding a simple banner to the top of your website, add relevant keywords that are receiving a high search volume right now to the headings and content of your website. This is will help people searching for your services find you organically in Goolge. There are some free tools to help you discover which keywords have the most searches right now. Here are a few:
Taking advantage of these free Search Engine Optimization or “SEO” tools will also help your long-term marketing strategy. Including keywords related to your services will allow you to move up in ranking on Google search results over time to appear on the valuable first page results.
6. Replace Outdoor Marketing with Digital Marketing
While fewer people are driving around, redirect your billboard and outdoor marketing to online advertising. As compared to before March 27, social media use is up by 46%, and Google searches are up by 33% according to Whiteshark Media. Additionally, if you can cancel convention and event marketing due to “Act of God” clauses or insurance policies you already had in place, shifting this budget to digital marketing is a valuable move right now.
It is crucial that you keep advertising during this time, but spend your budget smarter.
7. Offer Virtual Consultations and Free Services
- Let customers know you are available for virtual consultations.
- Learn how to host meetings on Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, or any other video conferencing platform. Let customers know you can speak with them by video or phone.
- Offer free services that are beneficial to the community.
- For example, Impress Ink partnered with local businesses to create benefit T-shirts with a portion of the proceeds going to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Anything you can offer the community to help during a difficult time will be appreciated, and it will help you compete for valuable business.
- Consider offering free delivery, curbside pickup, and other services to match and surpass your competitor’s measures to meet customers’ needs.
8. Enable Online Ordering
- Set up Paypal and include the Paypal button on your website.
- If you don’t already have a way for customers to order online, you can easily set up a Paypal account and add a Paypal button to your website. Other options for online payment systems include Square and Stripe.
- Hold up! Did you say you don’t have a website?
- If you don’t have a website yet, there are inexpensive options for creating a simple website yourself so that customers can find you and place online orders. If you are a DIY person who is short on budget, you can consider setting up a simple website from one an online platform like Wix, Shopify or Squarespace.
- Facebook and Instagram also allow you to add a Paypal button to your business page in order to receive online payments.
- Restaurants can take advantage of ready to go ordering and delivery services like Ubereats and Doordash. Postmates is a platform that allows online ordering and delivery for other types of businesses as well.
- Plan and Prepare for the Future with an Online Store
- Creating an online store with your inventory is an investment. If you have the budget, there has never been a better time to create a customer-friendly online shopping experience. An online store will keep revenue coming in regardless of how long the pandemic lasts and will create growth opportunities going forward.
Feel free to contact us for free assistance adding a Paypal button to your website. You can also contact us for a free quote on our web design services or for setting up an E-commerce store.
How We Can Help: Free Services from M5 Design Studio
We understand times are difficult and small businesses are struggling to keep afloat. We are volunteering some hours each week to help local Orlando business update their websites and their Google My Business listings. Here are the services we are offering:
- Adding a simple banner or notice to your WordPress website with your current hours and services.
- Setting up a PayPal button for your website.
- Updating your Google My Business listing with your current hours and services.
We are happy to offer our knowledge and services to help our community make it through this crisis together. Just contact us online or call us to request assistance.
Digital Marketing Orlando
We look forward to helping you grow your business during these challenging times. M5 Design Studio has been serving the Orlando area for 10 years with customized websites and effective digital marketing. We are available for free virtual and phone consultations for our web design, digital marketing, social media, & graphic design services. Contact us for a free consultation or call us at (407) 968-6296.