13 Tips to Improve Your Business During Quarantine
Let’s speak in laymen’s terms here. This is my first blog on Team Hiploch and I want to set the tone for future blogs. I believe this approach will be appreciated and you will find the information useful.
COVID19, the Coronavirus or the Rona is very real. Despite its numerous nicknames it has become the undisputed king of our daily lives. All functions are now performed with the virus in mind. Business plans are being altered. Operations are being changed. It’s stoking real fear into business owners. So as business owners what are we going to do? Are we going to sit back and be victims, or are we going to find ways to work around it and come out of this pandemic in a better position?
The history of this country says it’s up to the people to find solutions. It’s up to business and community leaders. As business owners I say we plan and prepare. We will beat the virus! The real question is what state are we in when we do? Let’s walk through thirteen things we can do to propel ourselves during this unprecedented pandemic, and fight towards normalcy.
1) Update all your digital listings.
Quick disclaimer. As a marketing “expert” I think of SEO first. The reality of our current digital life is we all work for Google. That doesn’t bring about a warm fuzzy feeling, but it’s true. With that said your digital listings must be accurate and literally all over the Internet. Not just listing your business with Google Business, but listing your business with every directory site available. Here’s why? Google ranks sites based on their “newsworthiness”. How reputable is the site? The more your website is listed on the Internet the more reputable it appears to Google. Now there is some debate about this topic. Some feel it doesn’t matter at all. I would argue that and considering we have never missed hitting number one for a client I tend to believe we are correct.
Unfortunately, this task could take weeks, but fortunately there are companies that could list your site with hundreds of directories for a fee. Just email us we can assist.
2) CRM Time
It’s time to invest in a CRM: Customer Relationship Management. The most important acronym in business. What is a CRM? A CRM is a software that allows you to keep all of your contacts in one place while allowing you to add critical data like files, order history, payment history, email dialogue, phone conversations and even social media history. When a client calls some CRM’s will even automatically pull up their profile for you. It’s the ultimate time saver, and when used properly it drives sales.
3) Update all your client contact information
Once you have invested in a CRM or even if you are searching for the right CRM, it’s time to update client contact information. Call, email, direct message or text, and ask your clients to verify the information you have on file. Having the correct contact information is essential to staying connected with your clients. Also ask for any upcoming events that may have, and make sure you attend (even virtual events). This may lead to a direct sale. Any reason to contact a client is a good reason. Be sure to verify and ask for the following information:
- Facebook URL
- New employees
- Events dates
4) Start a newsletter
I’ve been in marketing so long I remember fax services that would fax your marketing material to fax numbers around the world. Sounds crazy now but it did exist. To sum it up it was like “Hey company that doesn’t know me. I am going to use your ink to talk to you. Literally make you pay to receive my message. Now do you want to buy a product or service from me?” Crazy.
Since those times digital marketing has become the dominant medium, and thank goodness for it. Digital marketing is data driven and highly effective. Included in digital marketing are newsletters. What is a newsletter? An email constructed and sent to a specific demographic (typically your existing customer base) pertaining to news and deals about your company. A newsletter is the single most effective tool a business can use to maintain customers and drive sales. The audience has signed up to receive information they find valuable, and there is no other marketing medium that is similar. Not even social media. Here’s why. Social media platforms restrict the views of post. Only 6% of what is posted on a business’s Facebook is seen by their followers, while 100% of the emails sent will reach their destination. A destination that has reached a welcomed audience. It’s marketing gold.
Go through all your invoices and emails and build a newsletter database. Send out a newsletter thanking your customers for their business and offer them exclusive deals for being a loyal customer. You will drive immediate sales.
5) Update your social media
First let me say I am reasonable about the effectiveness of social media. I’ve seen some newcomers to marketing believe it is only the medium that is necessary. I would agree it is effective and necessary, but it is only a variable in a good marketing plan and should not be the only medium in a marketing plan.
Lately I’ve seen companies use social media only for marketing and they start fast and end fast as well. Views do not equal great sales. Views bring brand recognition which can help sales, but it’s the data from views that has the real value. (Off the soap box.)
What makes social media effective and necessary? An active social media profile helps with SEO. It is part of Google’s algorithm. If you do not maintain an active social media presence it will hurt your chances of your site ranking number one. Therefore, make sure you update your social media and stay active with your post. Keep in my mind it doesn’t have to get a ton of likes or views, but it should be consistent with newsworthy content.
6) Write a few blogs
Write blogs. Write more blogs. Keep writing blogs. If you’re not a good writer, keep it simple, but write blogs. Look I know writing is an underrated skillset and it can be difficult, but writing blogs is essential to your rankings.
What should you write about? Write about what you know. Your experience in the industry. Start by reviewing products you believe in. Products you know have value and are good purchases for your customers. Next write blogs about your expertise. You can show before and after images of your work or even have customers send video testimonials and embed their videos into your blog. The more you write the higher your rankings will be. Plus, your blog URL links are free newsworthy content for social media.
7) Organize your inventory
If you have inventory what better time to organize what you have in stock? Once you have an accurate inventory count you can start to create some amazing specials that help move product. You should also look at the current and past price points. You may be able to trade in some old inventory for better products.
You should also take pictures of your products. You never know when this will come in handy for future projects like robust eCommerce, writing blogs or sending out quotes.
8) Evaluate your digital presence
This is my favorite tip of the blog. Google your business name. What do you see when you view your business online? Not just where you rank, but what do you see when you view your website? What are your thoughts about your own business? Do you look reputable? What do you see when you view your profiles on social media, Yelp, Google Business, and other directories? If you don’t like what you see the chances are potential customers will not like it either.
A poor digital presence is not a deal killer for some customers, but it sets the tone for your price points. It also sets the tone for customers to under value your skillset and invite them to negotiate your prices. Conversely a good digital presence sets the tone for customers to appreciate the value of your business and even generate referrals and repeat business.
Let’s take it a step further. A part of your digital presence is your Google rankings. Google a relevant search term. If you are a plumber google the area you service and plumber (Houston plumber). Where does your website rank? The business that ranks #1 gets 33% of the web traffic from that particular search term. 18% for second and 11% for third. The ultimate goal is to rank #1. You don’t have to be satisfied with the results, because just knowing is a start.
Now you can make a plan to improve your digital presence. If you need assistance we are experts in improving your digital presence. Just email us. We love this stuff.
9) Evaluate your software needs
I evaluate hundreds of businesses a year. Hands down this is the area most companies fall short. Most companies have no idea what software they should use. Typically some salesman has come and sold them on a software that does not fit their needs. I call this running a marathon in the wrong shoes.
I recommend just googling the type of software you need. Literally googling the task itself. Software for plumbers. Software for country clubs. Just see what options are out there. Whatever software you choose please make sure it comes with a CRM (Customer relationship management). If it does not have a CRM run!!! It is antiquated and you will switch within the next two years.
10) Look for online training
There is so much online training I am starting to wonder why schools and colleges have buildings anymore. Since we are all safe in the house, now is a perfect time to increase your knowledge base.
Search LinkedIn for training that is relevant to your industry. They have a ton of training models that could assist you in your professional growth. Seriously! LinkedIn has FREE training and I mean an abundance of it.
Silent fact in small business. Happy customers do not write reviews. Even though they are silently happy they also hold key information that can help you improve your customer experience. Send out surveys and polls to your customers and ask them how you can improve your operation. Be prepared for some honesty and make the needed adjustments.
Also be creative with your surveys. Make them fun. If you need help just email us. There is a ton of data you can extract with surveys that can help you create an amazing marketing plan.
12) Make a digital hub
What is a Digital Hub? Its where you keep all of your digital products in one platform. Consolidate your domains, emails and hosting accounts into one platform. If you purchase domains from one provider, emails and/or hosting from another, you should have an access to them under one platform. We recommend using MemDog Domains. They have 24 hour customer support and we haven’t found more affordable domain, hosting or email pricing.
13) Log Out
This is the perfect time to get some rest. It is also the perfect time to log out. Log out of your social media and spend some time with yourself. Did you catch that? Spend time with yourself. Go pull out your old yearbook and flip through the pages. Pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read. Organize your closet, garage or even pantry. Spend time improving your life for you. Do it just for you and no one else.
Thank you for reading my first blog. Stay safe inside!