The current business climate is a stressful one to say the least. The financial crash in 2008 was bad, but I think that all would agree that the Coronavirus crisis is having a far bigger impact, sending many businesses into ‘tail spins’, and some no doubt, to the wall.
However, regardless of how bad it is now, there is NO doubt that things will get back to normal within the foreseeable future.
At this stressful time Businesses need to answer two questions
The first must be ‘How can we survive this situation’ and secondly ‘What can we do to come out stronger?’
This post will not concern itself with the ‘survival’ question, as it will be covered in great detail by other, more qualified minds, than mine. Suffice to say there is Government help for many and it is hoped that this will allow the majority of businesses to survive. We can but hope.
‘What can we do to come out stronger?
The vital question is how a business can emerge from the crisis stronger, not weaker, what actions that could be taken now, to ensure that when we get back to normal, the business will be running fast, rather than blindly stumbling forwards.
Examples of these actions are
- Where you are able to operate, to offer discounted costs and / or delayed payment plans
- Where you cannot provide a service now, to take bookings for when you can, perhaps offering a discount where a deposit is paid.
- Providing free services in order to re-enforce the relationship with your customers
All of the above will require use of email databases (or of the telephone) in order to reach your customers (or indeed new potential customers), and all have the potential to bring in cash to the business at some stage.
‘Could we improve our marketing?’
This is perhaps the most important question that any business could ask during the Covid-19 pandemic. The biggest reason why this question deserves attention now is that many businesses will have more time on their hands than ever before. There are not many business sectors that are busier now than before the outbreak, so it stands to reason that they have time to consider improving their ‘marketing message’.
‘What sort of things could we do?’
There are many areas that could be reviewed. Perhaps the best place to start is the ‘Mission Statement’ of the business. This requires some deep or lateral thinking, it could be very useful in providing a different approach to acquiring new customers and to keep existing ones.
At Serendipity our Mission Statement is
“Stopping our Clients Cash Going into their Competitors Bank Account”
Until we have worked with a business to improve their Google rankings and increase their traffic levels, their competitors, who have done the work, are winning the orders that should by right be won by our clients. The result of which is that the cash they should have is in their competitors bank instead.
Once this is decided, all the marketing material should be aligned to the mission.
Should we be using Newsletters?
The method of contacting potential customers and maintaining contact with current ones, could also be changed, perhaps by sending out regular newsletters. Now is an ideal time to consider such matters.
‘What about our website?’
This is an area close to my heart, as even though I do not design websites, I have a deep understanding of what a good one looks like. The sad fact is that the huge majority of sites are not very good, and are not assisting in the businesses’ growth.
Some of the first questions that should be asked are:-
- ‘Does our website actually portray our mission statement correctly?
- ‘Is the navigation of the site easy and does it answer the questions we know our customers ask?
- ‘Are all the call to actions clear?’
- ‘Have we set goals that we want visitors to reach on the site?’
- ‘Are we tracking how many people are reaching these goals?’
There will be many more, but these are a good start.
‘Does our website get any traffic?’
Besides looking at the website itself, it is worth checking on whether anyone is getting to it in the first place. If not, many of the questions mentioned above are redundant, but worse than that, the business will be missing a huge trick.
Sources of information here include Google Analytics and Google Search Console, the latter being especially useful as it provides information on what key phrases are bringing in visitors. Google Analytics on the other hand provides an incredible amount of information on all the channels resulting in visits together with which pages they like and how they navigate the site. Both sources should be examined by an expert, as they can provide insights as to how the marketing process could be directed in the future.
Ignoring the Gift Horse in the room
We all know about the elephant in the room, the one that no one talks about, but there is another creature than many business owners don’t even see. This is the ‘gift horse’. It’s called that because if it is given the attention it deserves a business website will see a large increase in traffic, each extra visitor representing a potential sale or enquiry.
All that is needed is to make sure that the website is aligned with Google’s rules. It is about attending to the issues that are stopping a site from getting the listings – and therefore traffic – that it should be getting in the first place.
Making these changes is not that difficult, the aim being to help Google understand what a site is all about. This is achieved by putting things where Google expects to see them.
In the light in what is happening with the virus I have allocated space for 10 Free audits (normally £299). This work is time consuming and will be provided on a first come first served basis. So, if driving traffic to your website is a priority, take advantage of this offer.
Call Graham: 01981 259 885 TODAY and book your FREE Audit
A Final Check
Once you have gone through this list and have a website that you believe meets the needs of your business and that of your customers, there is one last check to do. This is all about User Experience, a vital component of any websites’ success.
User Experience is different from Usability or Accessibility, being more concerned with the customers journey through the site, hopefully to the point of making a purchase.
The Four Questions Users Ask Themselves when they visit a site
- What does this business OFFER
- Do I TRUST them and believe that they can DELIVER
- What are the REAL BENEFITS of their SERVICE or PRODUCT
- Should I really be here and not somewhere else
It is vital that the answers to these questions are CLEAR and easy to understand, because if not, it is more than likely that the visitor will leave without engaging with the business in a meaningful way.
Trust is difficult to win, but making sure that your About Us page demonstrates that the business is real – a bricks and mortar address is vital. Pictures of the staff and premises should also be displayed as they all help. Just remember that in reality, the visitor is not really concerned about your history and what you have done in the past, they want to know what your skills and products can do for them, and are looking for proof.
Testimonials and Case Studies will help to prove that you can deliver. Both of these also allow you to set out the benefits of using your products or services.
The Right Place – Your Place – Your Website
Together, these will answer the last of the 4 questions, demonstrating that the visitor is in the right place, a place that will help them solve a problem, or that meets a need they have. Your place, your website.