COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. As a result, mandated school and business closures are happening across the United States in an effort to increase social distancing and slow down the spread of this disease.

For small businesses, this is a stressful and scary time. The uncertainty of the months ahead is leaving local business owners wondering if they will be able to survive.  While we are unable to provide a full solution, we have outlined a few key dos and don’ts that will help you weather the storm.

What to Do

1. Communicate

Probably one of the most important steps is to keep your customers apprised of changes such as updating business hours and limited offerings. Utilize tools like Vivial’s Marketing Platform to update your directory listings such as Google My Business and Bing, and post regular updates on your social channels.

2. Be Transparent

Be forthcoming with where you stand. People are rallying behind their communities and local businesses. Let them know how they can help support you during this time.

3. Adapt and Be Fluid

Think outside of the box. Whether it is moving the focus from in-store sales to online or modifying your current offerings to work within the bounds of the new restrictions, develop strategies to keep things going while staying socially responsible.

What Not to Do

1. Panic

Easier said than done, but it is vital to remember that this too shall pass. The economy will rebound, businesses will recover, and as a country, we will get through this. The road may not be easy for some but take advantage of systems and programs put in place by the government and national/local organizations.

2. Stop Marketing

It may seem like the answer is to shut down all marketing while we ride out this pandemic; however, it is not. With doors closed or hours limited, budgets are tight. Understandably, money may need to be cut to survive; but it is essential not to lose the momentum you have worked so hard to build in the first place.

  • Paid Advertising: Your paid advertising campaigns will continue to drive high-quality traffic and leads to your business even during this uncertain time. However, consumer behavior will adjust so make sure that your business is nimble.  For example, you can adjust the focus of the campaign, where a mortgage company may move from promoting new home loans to refinancing or an attorney may promote virtual consultations instead of in-person meetings.
  • Content Marketing: Take this time to ramp up your content game! Work on providing valuable information for your target audience and publish it on your website and share it with your audience on all social networks.
  • Social Media: Posting on your social channels is a great way to keep your online presence alive. Plus, with many people stuck at home, people are going to be more active on social channels. Use that to your advantage by running low-budget social ads and boosting posts for greater exposure.

Ideas to Help Keep Business Going

1. Promote Gift Cards

People may not be able to come in-store or sit-down at restaurants, but they can still support you by purchasing gift cards online. Run a special promotion like $50 in gift cards for $40 or buy a $25 gift card as a gift and get an extra $5 for yourself.

2. Go Virtual

If you sell products, try setting up an online store on Google, Amazon, or even Facebook.  For services, try offering them virtually. For example, gyms that have been required to close can live stream workouts for their members to do at home. This way they still get some benefit from their membership and won’t feel the need to put it on hold.

3. Limit Hours

Instead of completely closing, limit your hours to allow extra time for cleaning and disinfecting.

4. Offer Pick-Up and Delivery

Allow customers to call in or order online to get the items they need. This is especially helpful for restaurants or convenience stores. Set up an outside pick up line or deliver necessities to older citizens who shouldn’t be out and about. This will also allow you to keep your employees working.

5. Use Available Resources

The government and other associations are doing their best to provide support during these tough times. Many of which, like the Small Business Administration, are offering a variety of tools to help sustain your business until it can be fully up and running again.

We are all in this together, and Vivial’s team is here for you every step of the way. For our current customers, please reach out to your Account Coordinator if you have questions. If you are not currently a Vivial customer and would like to find out more about how we can help, please contact us.