COVID-19 Small Business Checklist
25 Sound Business Strategies to Help Your Company Through This Crisis
Define Objectives & Strategy – figure out what your company’s objective is through this crisis. Are you just trying to keep your head above water and survive? Looking to attract new business? Or are you looking to over-service your current clients to keep as many of them as happy as you can? Once you’re clear on your objective, start looking at the strategy you’ll use to help achieve that objective.
Create a 3-6 Month Mini Business Plan – figure that even if this doesn’t last for 3 months, the effect of it certainly will. Be proactive and create a 3-6 month plan, laying out things like cash reserves, projected income and expenses, strategies to undertake, staff to hire back and what that looks like etc. Figure out what your company’s new normal will look like and try to plan as much as possible for the immediate future.
Make the Shift Online – whether your business can go fully online or not, make sure you use this time to explore all the ways your company could reach customers online. Get innovative with tools like Zoom and Skype and figure out how to serve customers in their homes. This could very well turn into an extra revenue stream once this passes. Think beyond just selling products online. Can people order online and get it delivered? What about telephone ordering? Can you run webinars where you teach people via video? Host virtual client / staff meetings?
Take Pictures / Video of your Products / Shop – if your store or business is closed, look for things that you can do that you’re usually unable to or don’t have time to do. Take pictures of your store, inside and out, and then of your products. Do a video walk-thru of your store. Your goal here is to get as much content as you can for your online properties. Post images / video on your blog, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest and on your Google My Business page.
Website Popup – add a popup to your site to let people know your business’ covid hours and / or precautions you’re taking. Make sure to keep it updated with any new information including when you’re back to normal business hours. For WordPress, try the free WP Popup plugin for this.
Install Google Analytics & Google Search Console – if you don’t already have these installed on your site, you really need to get it done. These two free services from Google will give you analytics, stats and errors about your website and your customers. Start paying attention to who your site visitors are and the actions they take on your site.
Update & Post to your GMB page – Google has added a special covid-19 post type so that you can keep your customers updated via your company’s Google My Business page. As with the popup on your site, you should use it to keep everyone up to date throughout this pandemic. This is also the time to make sure that your GMB page is fully optimized. This includes filling out all of the available fields and adding video and images (geo-tagged if possible) as well as listing your products and / or services.
Update your Yelp Page – Yelp has also added some extra features and functionality to keep people up to date throughout covid.
Update Facebook and all other Major Directories – make sure you change hours / add info and updates to any of the big directories that drive traffic to your site – think Better Business Bureau, YellowPages, Brown’s Book, Angie’s List etc
Check your Online Presence – Google your company name and go through all the listings, making sure that everything is up to date, all the directories have the correct information and there’s nothing popping up in the first 3-5 pages that you wouldn’t want others to see.
Reach out for Reviews – everyone wants to help local businesses through this and one way they can do that is by leaving great online reviews for your company. Reach out to past customers asking them to leave a review on popular platforms such as your Google My Business page, Facebook and Better Business Bureau.
Send Out Hand-Written Notes – this strategy never gets old. In an age where everything is digital, it’s nice to be on the receiving end of a handwritten note or postcard. Make it personal. Show your customers that you’re thinking of them.
Call Your Customers – some people just want to know everything is going to be ok. Pick up the phone and give your customers a call to see how they are and if there’s anything you could do to help their situation.
Create a Content Calendar – you know that you should be putting more effort into blogging and social media marketing. Now’s the time to create an online content calendar (you can use Google Calendar) that maps out what and where you should be posting content online.
Repost Older Content on Social Media – reach people while they’re at home and re-introduce your social media followers to past blog posts. If your company has been posting regular blog posts pre-covid, reuse those old posts by posting them to your social media platforms. Simply write a synopsis of the blog post and add the link to read more. Engage with people who interact with your posts!
Gift Certificates / Donations / Pre-Purchases – people want to buy locally and support their community so make it easy for them to do so. Do you have a simple way that customers can purchase gift certificates and make donations via your website? What about setting up a pre-purchase program where you give a discount for people to purchase something from your store once it’s ready or whenever you re-open?
Find Pages with Increased Traffic – using Google Analytics or Google Search Console, do a comparison of covid and pre-covid traffic (i.e. compare the past 30 days to January or February or last year at this time) and look for pages whose traffic has increased. You might notice, for
example, that your about page has been getting more views or that a specific service or product is getting more views. Make sure these pages are the best versions they can be. If people are wanting to know more about you and your company, tell them!
Start / Get Better at Email Marketing – email marketing has always been a great way to reach out to your customers and prospects. It’s also a good way to get people to return to your website time and time again. If you haven’t started an email list, start one. You can use a free autoresponder such as Mailchimp. If you already have an email list, you’re likely not using it to its full potential. Use this time to write out evergreen content that you can send out week after week or month after month once new prospects / customers are added to your list.
Update your Refund Policy – if covid has changed the way your company does business, maybe it’s also affected your refund policy. If this is the case, make sure that it is clearly stated on your site. This is not the time to make enemies.
Re-write Site Content – if you’re like most business owners, you haven’t really looked at the content on your main pages in some time. Well now’s the time. Read through all of your site’s main pages and re-write the areas that need improvement. Add more content to pages that need it and make sure that you’re following on-page SEO best practices.
Write Blog Content – use your downtime to shore up on blog posts. Do a search for “your industry + blog” and take a look at what other companies in your industry are writing about. Make a list and pick the topics that you think will resonate with your audience. Better still, do some keyword research first to find the topics that people are actually searching for.
Re-write Page Titles and Descriptions – download the Chrome extension SEO Minion and use the SERP preview function to see what your page’s title and description look like. Now Google your main keyword and compare what your competitor’s titles and descriptions look like. Is there a way to further optimize your page’s titles and description and make them more click-worthy?
Learn New Business Skills – there are undoubtedly skills that you wish you had the time to learn such as possibly how to type or how to use the advanced functionality of Excel or copywriting or SEO. Find competitively priced courses on Udemy and start studying!
Re-Allocate Your Ad Spending – if you were already advertising via Google or Facebook Ads, look to re-allocate the spending so that you save some money while still targeting the most people. This could mean that you pare down on the Google Search Ads and shift to running more remarketing, display or video ads (which are cheaper than search ads). You might also want to consider shifting money from Google Ads to Facebook Ads since that’s where more eyeballs will be throughout this crisis. Remember the difference – people who use Google search ads are actively searching for what you’re selling while people on FB are being distracted from what they were doing by your ad so you need to make it click-worthy.
Plan for the End (of covid) – we’ll eventually find our way through this pandemic and you need to make sure that your business is ready for it. Think about what it will look like when you re-open. What does your business look like if you’re open and implement social distancing? Are there new ways your business can make money? Check your stock levels, figure out distribution channels and times, plan out a schedule for hiring back your staff etc. Try to pre-plan for every eventuality and how you will handle it.
I hope you found this COVID Checklist helpful!
If you’re feeling a little out of your element with some of the items on the list, shoot me an email and tell me what you’re struggling with: email@example.com
And if you’re serious about seeing your business through this and would like to chat strategy, book a free strategy session with me HERE.