Right now we’re in the the grip of a worldwide emergency, unprecedented times and without a doubt a worrying time for us all. Our focus is on protecting our health and welfare and that of our loved ones and rightly so too. For many amidst all this there have been lifestyle changes too, whether that’s working from home, dealing with childcare or even in some cases not working at all.
However, we need to remain mindful that the health of our business will be impacted by current events and it’s good for all of us to think about being fighting fit for the next chapter.
I’m not going to discuss areas that are outside of my area of expertise here, there are plenty of authorities worldwide with real advice we all need to follow. As our area is Marketing and Social Media I’ve put together a list of ten things you might consider in relation to having your business ready for getting back on track once we’re at the other side of the current crisis. And, most importantly they’re either free, low cost or might even save or make you money!
Your Website – unless it’s a new one when was the last time you really looked at it? Why not use a quiet time to review it? Look at your product or service pages – are they accurate or could they be improved? Could the text on your website do with a refresh, if so why not plan that now? Would new photos do your business justice, now’s the time you might take some new photos if it’s appropriate to your current working arrangement? Are there additional services or products you can add? And, if you don’t have a website use this time to see if you could make one work for you – most businesses can yet a large number haven’t quite managed to get one in place yet.
Your Competitors – we all know who we’re competing with for business but have you really looked at their business lately? Their website or social media will tell a story and you’d be surprised what you might pick up that can be used in your own business – never ever copy but you don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time either!
Your Social Media – Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok – how are you on each of these? Do you use them? Could you use them more effectively? Do your competitors use them more effectively and could you learn from them? Do you understand how to use them for business, even if somebody else will be updating them for you there’s no harm in understanding just why you’re using a platform and what benefit it is to you right now.
Your Professional Profile – your Linkedin presence is your virtual CV, is it complete and up to date? It’s not always the case that you update when you’re hunting for a job, it’s super for B2B sales too so make yours stand out and if you’ve got projects you’d like to showcase why not add those too? How are your profile photos, are they appropriate to the customers in your sector or would they benefit from an update? Think about your profile on networks other than Linkedin too – professional assocations, directories, community groups. And finally Google yourself, do you appear in search and if so are you happy with what you see?
Your Branding – is your logo consistent across all channels? Does it need a refresh? How about materials supporting your presence such as cover photos or landing pages? Do you have a supply of marketing materials such as business cards, pop-ups, flyers, brochures or anything else that might come in useful when you’re ready to get back out there?
Your Customers – do you have a list of current or potential customers? How do you manage it? Do you engage in email marketing? How about mailshots? There are lots of options available to help you track sales, monitor what’s in the pipeline and manage customers and whether it’s a simple spreadsheet or a CRM (customer relationship management) tool this is an opportunity to review whether it still fits your current needs.
Your Network – with so many more people working from home, why not spend a little of the time you might previously have spent commuting to work on developing your network professionally?
Your Confidence – most people will admit to not feeling overly comfortable with something. As video is becoming an ever more popular option it’s an area that many would love to try but they can’t quite work up the confidence to go on camera. Allocate a little of your time to recording video, use your computer or laptop, try the camera on your phone, experiment with lighting or make-up (yes it makes a difference!) and record and play-back until you’re comfortable with what you see and hear. You might just find a whole new way of marketing your business in the process but you’ll also find it helps build your confidence both personally and professionally.
Your Knowledge – while you may not be in a position to manage everything from updating your website and social media to getting posters designed, there’s no harm in learning a little more about the processes involved as it’s always good to understand the why’s behind elements of your business and how the effectiveness might be measured. There are ample opportunities to learn about the various elements of marketing online, remember knowledge is power.
Your Marketing Finances – review the sites or software you subscribe to, are there better alternatives available to you? Do you use every software programme you purchased for sales or marketing and if not, why not or could you learn to use it effectively now? Do you know where your ad spend is going – and if you’ve got ads running now have you reviewed them? I’ve seen ads for Valentines run in March for a Dublin hotel which should have ended a month ago and watched a shopping centre get a lot of negative feedback for a St Patrick’s Day event which was planned along with the ad before the crisis hit where they haven’t switched off the ad! Don’t waste your ad spend and certainly monitor whether ads are appropriate or need to be updated in the current climate.
Life will always bring challenges whether they’re personal or professional. Some things are out of our control but where we find ourselves in a position to create something positive out of a difficult situation it helps us with the transition to the next phase, making small changes or setting small, practical and affordable goals is a way of moving forward and making us mentally and professionally more robust and ready to get back to business when the time is right.
Right now, by all means take some downtime if you need it, get some fresh air but stick to the guidelines about being around other people and yes catch that Netflix series you’ve long wanted to watch. Don’t however abandon your business because you can’t work, not everybody can practically do their job from home but for just about every one of us there’s something in the list above that will stand to you in the long term and that’s where we’ve all got to look to right now.