Let me share a few ideas for how you can turn things around and pivot things to try and keep your business going online during this time.
I do these videos to try and give a bit of insight into marketing and try and help people during this time to think about how they can do marketing in a different way. So, if I can give you some knowledge and some wisdom that can help you, then you know, I’m here to support people.
I think a lot of businesses have resisted it in the past, but since Covid has hit, I think a lot more people are using technology and are coming online to do more work or starting to think “Right, I need to get online.”
If you’re one of the businesses that hasn’t really done much online and you are thinking, I really need to get my act together and I really need to do some stuff, there are many, many opportunities that you can do. For example, if you worked in the wedding industry and it’s completely disappeared there probably are still things that you can be doing online to just keep out there and keep hustling.
My top tips today are about taking your business online.
The advantages of being online, obviously if you’ve had to close your premises, if you can’t work face to face with people, there are a lot of things that you can do online.
If you have had to close your business currently, by keeping on doing things online, you still keep a presence. You tell people that you are there, you are keeping in the forefront of potential customers minds. You can share your experiences as well, and a lot of people resonate with how you are feeling as well, during this time.
Tip number one, of course, is social media. You probably are using it, but maybe you are not utilising it as much as you can.
I’ve created lots of different videos during lockdown about how to create content, what content you should be writing during the pandemic and what’s appropriate. There is one about Instagram, and last week I added one on hashtags. Have a look back at my other videos as well, as there are probably some tips that you can find on there about social media.
If you are not using social media to its full advantage then I’d say, you need to get on it.
Social platforms are a great place to promote your business, even if your business is closed, by drip-feeding information out and even a couple of posts a week is ok at the moment. However, when you are feeling in a better space, and you can do posts, just drip-feed little things, tell people how you are doing, what’s going on with your business and what you’re up to. If you are trying anything new, or if you are developing a new product – tell your audience. Keep raising awareness and keep telling people what you are doing.
There are other Facebook groups as well. There’s a really good one; it’s where I saw the comments last night actually. Business Support Carlisle it is, then there’s Cumbria Business Support and there’s Mums in Business.
You will also find loads of different community groups, but if you find one local to your area, jump on that, there is so much support for small businesses. If you’re stuck with something, find a group that’s all about what you need to know about, post in there, share ideas, give advice and gain information.
The Carlisle Business Support Group, even though I’m not in Carlisle, I’m still part of that group, is a really good one. People are posting on there “Help, I need a roofer”, and people are commenting and sharing business recommendations. People are putting business ideas on there, information and advice.
Look at different groups that you can be actively involved in whilst you’re not working or whilst you are working from home.
Another tip is to have a look at what other people are doing as well. It’s really always good to look at competitors, see what kind of posts they are posting and create your own plans. Don’t copy it but have a look at what other people are doing and use what you see as inspiration.
Be social – share other people’s posts, comment on what other people are writing. It’s all about having a social network of people, so build up a community and a network of people online.
Another thing that you can do on social media, is if you have a physical product that you can send to people, as well as having a website, you can also have a Facebook shop and an Instagram shop.
But rather than just shutting up shop and thinking “that’s me for a month” really utilise that time and think “Right, what can I do on social media?” Use that time to keep in the forefront of people’s minds. You’d be surprised if you look back at my video about creating content, there is always stuff you can write about, even if your business is closed. Have a look at that guide as well.
My next tip is for websites. If you don’t have a website, now could be a good time to invest in one. You can also, at the moment, if you are in Cumbria, apply for funding from the Cumbria Growth Hub.
If you need to know a good web designer, I do know a couple of people I would recommend. Drop me a line if you are wanting to find a good web designer, and I can put you in the right direction.
A website is a great way to help people find your business. I’m going to give you a little example.
I’m working with a physiotherapist at the moment, and when she put in the name of her company, she came up on Google. But if she put in ‘Physiotherapy’ and the place she is based, she didn’t appear.
Having a website and being clever with the words that we’ve put on the website and looking at something called SEO, which is search engine optimisation, and thinking about the types of phrases that people would type into a search engine to find your business.
If people didn’t know my business, they wouldn’t type in ‘Acorn Marketing’, but if they were looking for ‘Marketing help Cumbria’ or ‘Marketing Cumbria’, I’m more likely to appear.
Think about those phrases that other people would use to type into Google to find you. They are the kind of phrases that you need to use in your website.
So, back my physiotherapist lady. After tinkering with her website and doing a little bit of work, she’s now on the first page of Google, and that happened in two weeks; which is amazing. That’s just a little example of how websites can be effective.
If you were a plasterer, for example, even having just a one-page website with your contact details and making sure that you put the right words in that people might use to find you will help. This is a simple was to take your business online and to help people find your services. People naturally, if they are looking for something, will go to Google or Facebook.
So, it could be worth having a look at creating a website as well.
Something else you could do on your website, which I do as well, is offer a download to people. Like ‘My Top Ten Marketing Tips for 2020’. I’m thinking about creating a new download soon.
Let’s say, if you work in the wedding industry, you are a photographer, wedding planner or cakemaker, you could create a download that gives tips, advice, what you should be looking for like ‘These are the things you should be budgeting for for your wedding’, ‘How to find a good wedding photographer’, or ‘Here are some tips for baking a cake’.
Create a little PDF document that people can download from your website and capture their email address when they download it. Then in the future, you can communicate with these people as well because they are obviously interested in what you do. That’s another key thing that might be a good thing to do on your website.
Have a look at developing a new website. Maybe even just working on your old website if it’s been dormant for a while. Update it, refresh it, add a blog on there and keep the content new. Google will know if it’s an old website and hasn’t been touched for a while. Developing your website can be a really useful thing to do online as well at the moment.
Top tip number three.
If you have a physical product that you can sell, think about other platforms where you could potentially sell it online, rather than in your shop. If you’ve got a website, then brilliant. Think about a Facebook shop or an Instagram shop.
There are also other platforms where you can list things. What about Etsy, Not on the High Street, Amazon? Could you create an eBay shop and sell things on there?
Think about those kinds of places or other places where you can push your product to customers.
Another thing, say you offer a service like me, you could potentially use things like Zoom. We’ve all heard of Zoom, haven’t we? I mean, we’ve been using it for online quizzes and all sorts of different things.
If you are a consultant like me, maybe you could offer something like a Power Hour, which I’m going to start doing soon. You get an hour to speak to me, and I’ll give you tips and advice.
Utilise things like Zoom to do power hours or sell your time. I have a client who’s an aromatherapist. Obviously, there are lots of issues around mental health during lockdown and how this is affecting people. A brilliant thing for her to do is to offer her services. If you are a counsellor, jump on board a call with me and let’s talk, and let’s see how we can do things.
I have another client who is a hypnotherapist, and she’s done just that as well. She’s gone online, and she’ll do consultations with people. The physiotherapist, she’s gone online too.
I also wanted to just quickly tell you about the Growth Hub Funding, which I mentioned briefly before. For businesses in Cumbria, the Growth Hub have various different sources of funding at the moment. Do send me a message if you want the details of who to actually speak to. I spoke to a lovely chap the other day, and he was telling me all about a subsidy where you can get up to £2,000 to help you with something specific to do with your business growth. That could be marketing if you wanted to work with me potentially, to help you develop some social media plans or help you with your website, your blogs or writing a marketing strategy.
You can get funding from the Growth Hub to help you with that, so it won’t cost you anything.
If you want somebody to help you with your accounts, somebody to build you a website, somebody to give you business coaching, then the Growth Hub can fund these kinds of things as well. It’s well worth having a look into it, if you’ve not heard of that before.
Also my blog on my website has quite a few of those different ideas written up to help you as well. I hope this has inspired you to take your business online.
That reminds me, it’s Kind Cumbria Day on 13th November, check it out.