Experts are predicting that, come wintertime, the country will see a new spike in COVID-19 cases. This comes at an unfortunate time, as many businesses are only just reopening and are still very much impacted by the effects of the initial spike of the virus. As much as we’d like to avoid this potential “second wave”, the best thing to do is to prepare yourself and your business for the possibility of additional shortages and closures.
For Businesses with Storefronts
If you’re a business with a storefront, you know the drill of what comes with sudden closures. Luckily, you will be more prepared for the second wave than you were at the beginning of the pandemic in March. You’re likely already stocked up on face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and any other safety and hygiene equipment that your business requires during a pandemic. Be sure that your staff is fully trained and aware of your safety protocol, and develop an emergency shutdown plan.
With the impact to your day to day operations, you must not forget to stay in close contact with your marketing or listings management team to ensure your online listings get updated to reflect closures, altered hours, and/or overall changes about the state of your business (e.g. curbside pick-up). Above all, prioritize keeping your customer base informed on your business’s status; it will save you a great deal of unnecessary strife and be beneficial to the customers wanting to continue doing business with you. However, you will need to adapt to these unprecedented times.
Plan out Content Ahead of Time
If your business is able to stay open during a potential second wave, enter it prepared with relevant content. Consider what type of message you would like your company to put out in the event of a second wave, and make a solid plan. Don’t wait until the spike to decide how you will react – rushed content could lead to less than stellar results. Plan what you will do in terms of social media, press releases, blogs, and any other content you routinely put out to the world. If we manage to avoid a second wave, there will be opportunities to repurpose the content.
Defend your Reputation
Unfortunately, the pandemic has become somewhat of a political issue, which leaves your business at risk of negative reviews. Whether it be for your business’ mask wearing policy, or just for your business not being open, unhappy consumers are bound to flock to the internet to vent their displeasure through reviews. It is not yet known whether Google will temporarily disable reviews in the event of a second wave like they did earlier this year, so it’s important to remain vigilant in review monitoring not only on GMB, but across other platforms like Yelp and Facebook as well.
Report any reviews that you feel aren’t appropriate or violate the platform’s rules, and leave replies for those that do abide by the rules. For more tips on dealing with reviews, check out How to Deal With and Recover from Negative Reviews. The best way to prevent unneeded negative reviews is to keep your customers fully informed on your business via online outlets such as social media, GMB, and Yelp. Here, you can keep your hours updated as well as post announcements related to other safety precautions that your business is practicing.
Consider Your Budget and Industry
Since we’ve already been through several months of COVID-19, you probably have a good idea of what effects the pandemic has had on your budget. The pandemic has impacted industries in a variety of different ways, with some even finding success during this downturned time. This past year, we’ve seen patterns of high demand for certain industries like online retail, home services, supermarkets, and businesses that offer home delivery. Towards the beginning of the pandemic, we saw that paid search campaigns did not perform as well as they typically do. However, if you fall into one of the categories that has been largely successful, the second wave may be the perfect opportunity to ramp up your paid search strategy.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a thriving business during these difficult times, it is advisable that you pause any paid campaigns that may have been planned. You will benefit from allocating these marketing funds towards other channels that are more cost-effective, such as SEO and other organic marketing strategies. If you’re interested in implementing SEO strategies at a low cost, read our blog on Leveraging SEO when Faced with Budgetary Challenges.
Connections with Leads
With the looming possibility of more closures, you might end up being forced to leave some promising potential customers, or “leads” hanging. If you think you may need to close down, alert any leads that you have been in contact with of the possible change. Try to tie up loose ends now if you can, or if it isn’t possible, alert them of your temporary closure and offer alternate solutions for them to get ahold of you. Depending on your business-type, you may also consider providing different services during COVID-19, such as phone or video consultations rather than in-person meetings.
A second wave of COVID-19 is not preferable to anyone, but it is a possibility that we must all prepare for. We hope this information will help you to weather out the storm. For more marketing resources, visit our Insights Page and stay tuned for a new article every week.