Last updated: April 6, 2020
Small business are hit hard by the Covid-19 safety measures and mandatory closures. In this current situation, there are a number of resources available to small businesses to help them through, so that they can continue to provide employment and economic stability to their communities.
We’ve created a list of resources, as well as 4 steps you should take for your brand, so that we can support your brand during this difficult time.
- Resources from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Coronavirus Information from the American Small Business Development Center.
- Federal tax returns are now due on July 15, 2020. Payments for tax filings have also been extended to July 15th. You can check your state filing requirements here.
- Small Business Guidance, Loans, and Resources from Small Business Administration.
- Forbes offers a list of banks offering relief programs. They also offer a list of small business relief programs.
- State programs vary widely. You can find your stat programs on your governor’s website.
- The Small Business Majority is offering daily updates that are full of helpful information.
4 Steps for Your Small Business
This current crisis is uncharted territory for most businesses. Here are a few ways to keep the ball rolling as consumers stay home and wait out coronavirus.
1- Stay Informed
The situation changes quickly and you’ll want up-to-date, accurate information to make the best decisions for your business. To hear it straight from the source, we recommend these websites:
2- Stay in Touch
Your customers want to hear from you. As with all communications, it’s important to provide timely and entertaining updates about your brand.
An effective way to communicate updates about your brand is through an email. Always ask yourself: Would I want to receive this email?
Make sure that you aren’t just hopping on the coronavirus bandwagon, and that you are instead formulating a message that reflects your brand’s values, effectively communicates any changes to your brand during this time, and displays a clear value for the reader.
Social media can help you provide necessary information and plenty of entertainment value to your audience. With consumers now stuck at home, social media usage is up and people are interested in seeing new content on social media.
Your brand should scale up your communications through social media to meet this demand. In addition to providing entertaining content, you can also provide timely updates, like the dates and times of online sales/promotions, or your updated hours of operation. If your hours have changed because of remote/at home work, then you’ll want to update these on your brand’s Facebook page.
3- Start Online Events
You may have already started shifting to digital marketing events. For those who haven’t, there’s never been a better time to start. There are plenty of platforms to start using to replace the in-person events that are no longer possible. Formulation a digital game plan can help you keep in contact with your customers and provide real, genuine content.
Facebook & Instagram Live
Facebook Live can be a place for Q&A’s, giveaways & contests, or even heartfelt updates from your senior management team. Facebook Live allows customers to see behind the curtain of your brand and get to know you.
It can also be a place to showcase your influencer teams. Have your influencers do a “take over” of your Facebook Live and hold an event so that consumers can get to know their favorite influencers while they get to know your products.
Webinars through Zoom & Google Hangouts
Zoom and Google Hangouts provide a digital way for you to connect, just like you would in person. Webinars can be a great place to nurture your audience and provide answers that they’ll need to complete the buyer’s journey.
Webinars also provide a powerful tool for capturing new leads. If you have consumers RSVP before the event, you’ll be able to follow up with them via the email address that they used to register.
If you’re not quite ready for the live broadcasts, then YouTube videos are a way for you to record and present what you would normally do in person. Videos also provides a creative library that you can share on other platforms to encourage conversions.
4- Start Your Customer Service Plan
There are many shipping delays, supplier hiccups, and other debacles happening for many businesses right now. Your customers know this is happening, but still expect clear communications about their orders and your brand.
To help meet this communication need, consider automations that can save your customer service team hours of time. Set up instant replies on Facebook Messenger so that commonly asked questions are addressed while they wait for an official reply from your customer service team.
To save even more time, customer service templates should be drafted for common situations, like shipping and supply chain delays. This can help your team create a response in seconds.
You should also post information about the coronavirus and how it has affected your brand on the homepage of your website, so that customers know before purchasing to expect delays or modifications to their order’s fulfillment. Common questions during this time are: Can I cancel my order? Are there shipping delays? Do I need to sign for the package, or can I have a shipping method without social contact? Is it safe to open my package?
All these questions should be addressed at convenient times during the order process, such as in the order confirmation, or on the order confirmation page.